#ABATECHSHOW Run-up – thoughts before the rush

28 02 2018

ABA Techshow is a week away so I just thought I’d take a few moments to opine on the journey to Techshow and try to make a few last minute suggestions:

1) Be AT the conference while you’re there – sure work interferes with best laid plans all the time but most people will be traveling to Chicago from out-of-state/out-of-country and you should squeeze every last bit of learning out of the few days you’re there. Delegate or postpone as much as you can before you head out.

2) The Canadians – I know I’ve mentioned the ubiquitous Canucks before but I say this again, seek them out and ask questions about what’s going on with Canadian regulators in Ontario, British Columbia and Nova Scotia. They’re friendly, often know how to drink, are up for almost any kind of food or beverage, and as a bonus will often buy you a drink. (Ask to see their BlackBerry)

3) Go outside – Techshow is hypnotic and a bit overpowering so if you’re like me you start way too early and finish way too late. It’s a good idea when you’ve had your 19th vendor expo break to just skip it and go for a long walk. Walk to the lake, walk to the river, find the Billy Goat Tavern and have a razor thin somewhat tasteless but really cheap cheezborger. What could go wrong?

4) Find the parties – There are parties. Ask around. Some you will need a ticket or will have to get on a list. Get on the list 😉

5) Find the Legal Talk Network guys. They will have their finger on the pulse of Techshow – who they want to interview, who you shouldn’t miss, and where the good spots are for hurried food and drink (they work a lot so don’t harass them too much or they won’t get to eat.)

6) AI will be big this year so listen in to the keynote, the sessions, look for a robot lawyer. Stop and talk to Andrew Arruda (he will have a fresh haircut, big smile, and a TShirt identifying him as some guy named ROSS.)

7) Come to Canada – Did you know you can fly to downtown Toronto from Chicago (Midway) for about $300 return on Porter Air? If you haven’t been to Toronto it’s a world class city with amazing food and communities.

8) Enjoy yourself – there are lots of vendors. Kick the tires on something good! Ever heard of TrialPad? Check them out if you want to litigate and organize/present your trial from an iPad. Heck you can even meet Ian O’Flaherty, the “Honorary Consul of Ireland in Miami.” (He’s also CEO of the aforementioned company.) Practice management software? Yeah there’s lots of that there too from new kids on the block to the big players who have been around for 10 years.

9) Learn something – Go to the new attendee orientation if you have only been once or twice (or have never been.) It’s 07:30AM on March 8th.

Learn about Macs, hotspots, security, incremental backups, NAS, what’s a JungleDisk, cyberinsurance, where is the dark web, what is whaling and spear fishing, and, will you need a bigger boat.

10) Be careful, have fun, enjoy everything and know your limits, be respectful and try not to talk about politics unless you’re among “friendlies.”

Hope to see everyone there!

Twitter: @psuba98

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#ABATechshow My Survival Guide 2018

11 02 2018

I have tried this during other years and I thought I would take another crack at it this year hoping I can add a few useful tips for any first time attendees. I am attending this year for the 9th time and each year I learn something new and it has evolved (at least for me,) over the years. I remember the shock a few years ago when the Blackberry “tips” session had two people in the room. . .that indicated all was not well in the RIM world. Now Blackberry doesn’t make actual phones anymore. . .times have changed.

As always you can SKIP ALL OF MY RAMBLING by going to the official First Time Experience Guide. I’d like to think mine is a little fun.

Speaking of change, the venue has changed for the first time in ages! This year its at the Hyatt Regency at 151 East Wacker (at least I hope I got that right.) If you register for ABA Techshow there is a discount offered for USD$189 but you have to book the conference first and then your hotel if you want the special rate. Don’t despair if you can’t book a room at the venue because there are lots of other options like the Chicago Hilton, Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Radisson Blue Aqua and too many more to mention. I would have suggested the Hard Rock but they are in the midst of a makeover and won’t re-open until August as the St. Jane so stay tuned. None of the options I suggested are inexpensive and the Radisson Blue is the closest but I just thought I would mention a few to get you started in your search.

OK, so you are in the legal business so do some research of your own before you go. There are a million things to do in your downtime (if you can find any,) and a lot of it is related to food and drink. See the Bean, see the Art Institute of Chicago, see the Field Museum, Adler Planetarium and Shedd Aquarium. I still haven’t made it to the Museum of Science and Industry but hope to this year. They don’t have much of a write-up but they got me at “take a run in a human-sized hamster wheel.” If that doesn’t describe the practice of law I don’t know what does! All this to say, plan your trip and decide what you want to see. I think it’s too early for an official architectural boat tour but Chicago is great to walk around along the Magnificent Mile so don’t forget to look up. Remember it is March so dress in layers. It comes naturally for Canadians and Americans in East and Central locations but I feel sorry for the Texans and Floridians who wander into Chicago in March. It can be. . .cool.

People. You have to talk to everyone. Introduce yourself to strangers. Corner speakers and ask questions you didn’t think of during their session. Talk to speakers if you missed their session and there’s something you wanted to know. The speakers are very approachable and knowledgeable and I can’t say this enough, talk to them!

LTN

I can’t say enough about the folks at the Legal Talk Network! Talk to Laurence Colletti @LaurenceEsq and Adam Camras @AdamCamras because these guys will have their finger on the pulse of Techshow. You can watch them interview speakers, they can give you tips on things you don’t want to miss, and they have a grasp of what’s going on in the world of technology. Drop in an say hi to them!

Beer

There are lots of craft beer opportunities in Chicago so don’t be afraid to explore. There is a map here from Guys Drinking Beer as a starter but explore on your own. Monk’s Pub is reasonably close to the Hyatt and seems to have a pretty good selection. Might not be a bad place to start. There is usually a Beer for Bloggers event and I don’t have information yet but keep your eyes open for this. It is a great place to meet Tweeters, Bloggers, Media from the ABA, and if you’re lucky you will find Victor Li @victorli2000 the Asst Managing Editor of @abajournal – I should mention all tags I’m using are Twitter handles if you’re looking for someone in particular.

burgers

Au Cheval always seems packed and their burgers are worth the wait if you want to slow your heart down a little from all of the conference excitement. Feel free to add your own links of “must eat” places.

There are other must attend gatherings. @goclio and @mycaseinc usually have big parties at ABATechshow but you have to register with them at the show to attend. These are fun events run by vendors and although I don’t endorse any particular vendor it is a great way to relax and hang out with some of the decision makers of the practice management software you use.

I can’t stress this enough. Get out of the hotel once in awhile. ABATechshow is a vortex and there are usually too many interesting tracks that you want to attend simultaneously. Pick the ones you really want to go to and get out once in awhile. Don’t be afraid to leave a session if you decide it is too entry level for you. It happens. I have switched sessions two or three times in one time slot until I found the right fit. If you think that might happen sit near the back so your disturb anyone else when you leave.

If you’re going to tweet keep an eye on the #hashtags. If you aren’t fast enough there’s a good chance you will be the 4th person tweeting exactly the same quote as someone else. It is not a big deal and lots of people take notes for themselves on Twitter but someone may have made the point for you already. Its a great way to find out what’s going on in other sessions you can’t attend.

Find the Canadians! Look for Jack Newton @jack_newton & Rian Gauvreau @RianGauvreau from Clio! Look for Andrew Arruda @AndrewArruda from Ross Intelligence. Talk to Dan Pinnington @DanPinnington & Ian Hu @IanHuLawpro from LAWPRO/PracticePro. I’m not sure who else will be there but look out for Julia Cornish @archjules1, Dave Bilinsky @david_bilinsky , and Rick Ferguson because they have all attended many times, (and they’ll even say “sorry” for you if you like.)

OK pay attention. You also have to meet some of the Americans if you don’t know them already. I sprinkled a few throughout but find Bob Ambroji @bobambrogi , Ed Walters @EJWalters and Kevin O’Keefe @kevinokeefe for a chat.

As always Social Media should be hopping. Use the official hashtags if you want to be seen/heard, and not sure what will be in use this year. Twitter always, maybe Snap, I guess LinkedIn, and maybe Periscope will break out in the law crowd this year. I’m curious to see what will happen.

Vendors. They are worth stopping in to chat with at Techshow. Its a different vibe than almost any other conference and there is a lot to see and hear. Find out what’s going on with them and what their plan is, how long have they been around and what are they offering besides swag. Some will be stalwarts that you’ve seen before but if ABAtechshow is like other years there will be some exciting new players and even the ones you’re familiar with often make big announcements during ABATechshow. This is your big chance to find out what’s really in the cloud!

TASTE OF TECHSHOW – This is really worth going to and its a chance to have dinner with some of the speakers to continue your discussion after the sessions. The spots are going fast so I would suggest you sign up today! I think half of the sessions are already full and Techshow is still 23 days out! I remember when I first started going to techshow there were binders with lists that you signed up for and they were all tabulated at the end. These dinners (you pay your own way,) will be full soon but if you have never done one please signup!

Music – there is a tonne (metric) of music in Chicago. I can’t stress this enough. There is something for everyone so explore and find your jam. Whether its something at Buddy Guys Legends, the House of Blues (which is very close to the venue,) or someplace grittier like Bub City at 435 N Clark Street, or Kingston Mines farther out.

The Lake or more accurately, the third largest Great Lake. Don’t forget there’s a lake close to the hotel. Sure you can go down to Navy Pier and be touristy but take a walk along the waterfront and freeze yourself to the core. It really is worth it. Hey, you can feel like a Canadian for a few minutes, (and yes, I know there are cold spots in America as well.)

Some random thoughts about food and booze. Not sure if you’re a foodie or a drinker but there are too many options to mention. Try Eataly, Shake Shack (there are a few locations,) Shaws Crab House for Seafood (its expensive,) The Purple Pig, and of course The Billy Goat Tavern. I mention that because you have to try it once, just once possibly, best if you’ve had something to drink…you’ll know what I mean if you go.

One place I’m curious about this year is Band of Bohemia…OK OK, I admit, its the sous-vide coffee that I find interesting but…well, I guess I’ll see if I get there. There are some distilleries in Chicago including CH Distillery, Koval Distillery, and others. One of my favourite stops is Warehouse Liquors. Sure you can buy alcohol almost anywhere in the USA but this place knows their stuff and if the person you talk to doesn’t know about mezcal they will go get the mezcal guy to come and talk to you! They’re at 634 S Wabash if you want to drop in.

The key to enjoying ABATechshow is plan your tracks in advance, talk to everyone you can (especially Canadians,) see every vendor you can possibly find, and get out of your comfort zone. This year should be spectacular and anyone who bumps into me say hello and I hope this small summary is helpful in some way.

My last years Guide is here, feel free to check that out too!

I forgot to mention the App. It might be worth a download this year, certainly worth checking out to see if it is useful. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone!

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Footsteps in the snow #politics #security #borders

12 02 2017

It’s the dead of winter 2017. I have to say I’m still wrestling with whether I will cross into the USA during the next four years. 

I’m not the most political person but I look at everything happening to the South and I wonder what happened to the Americans. They talk a great game about freedom of speech and the right to bear arms but I’ll take our protections anytime over theirs. We have tonnes of guns. It’s fairly easy to get rifle or shotgun in Canada but there is a rigorous background check and a mandatory safety course. It’s more rigorous if you want a handgun but not impossible. There are more courses, more background checks, and you don’t get to carry it around with you…but neither does anyone else. Governments shade the truth…so far the new Trump government has shredded the truth. What hope for a peaceful future?

Now Canada contemplates Bill C-23. The Preclearance Act 2016 will give powers to US border agents to search Canadians on Canadian soil. We have people fleeing into Manitoba to get out of “TrumpAmerika.” Some think it’s not a big deal, a matter of convenience for preclearance and speedy travel. I’m concerned when a Canadian border person doesn’t search me or my personal devices and a US authority wants to search me. 

I’m not sure what’s next. I don’t know who will upset the thin-skinned one. Will he yank off some world leaders arm with his crazy handshake? Will he use a nuclear option? Will there be any reason to visit our neighbours? We have food. We have oil. We could close our borders too. We don’t need to take American wood, electricity, chicken, beef, nor anything else really. Heck, we even have our own lobster. 

Stay tuned…I may get more annoyed. 

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