This was the last time LegalTech West Coast will be held in Los Angeles, California as the conference moves north to San Francisco next year. In its farewell performance at the Westin Bonaventure Hotel, LegalTech offered high-powered speakers, The Track: (Exploring the New Legal Ecosystem), and innovative new exhibitors.
Editor-in-Chief Monica Bay (ALM’s Law Technology News) took great care not only to find amazing speakers, she also moderated many of the speaking events herself. As a result, the events stayed on-point and audience questions got answered. Her energy and presence brings great connectivity to this conference and attendees walk away feeling very welcome and informed.
Legal Talk Network Producer Laurence Colletti had the privilege of interviewing many of the speakers during the course of the event and the main take away was just how high the bar had been set. With speakers from some of the largest companies (Microsoft, Motorola, & Kia Motors) and most influential law firms (McKenna, Long & Aldridge LLP, Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP, & Baker & Hostetler LLP), this conference offered deep expertise and instruction. The same standard carried forward with other notable mentions such as Jay Mandel (Rocket Lawyer), Alex Ponce de Leon (Intel Corporation) and Amy Jane Longo (US Securities & Exchange Commission). No matter which speaking event, attendees were surely in for a treat.
J. Craig Williams, host of Lawyer 2 Lawyer, presented “Can Tech
Save Fuel Small Firms?” at the LegalTech West Coast Conference in Los Angeles, CA. During his introductions, Mr. Williams left the podium for a litigator-style discussion with the attendees on the floor. Absolutely open to questions, he spoke about the importance of backing up data, going paperless, and his migration from some researching platforms in favor of others.
The overarching theme was about how small firms can compete with larger firms by being nimble. Although he recommended many modern tools and software solutions, Mr. Williams also touched on a managerial approach that empowers employees to customize their working environments to achieve greater quality and efficiency. In addition, he recommended that attorneys should gain a basic understanding of how computers operate in order to get the most out of their software tools.
The final part of the speaking event was dedicated to marketing and reaching out. In addition to reviewing the various options for social media, Mr. Williams brought home a driving point about the nature of people when he said “nothing replaces a handshake at an in-person meeting”. The message being, whatever medium you use to reach out… connect personally.
For small firms and solo practitioners looking for honest and practical advice on marketing themselves and their firm, this was the ideal event. Not only did attendees have direct access to industry leaders, they also had the happy assistance of Mass LOMAP’s law practice advisors (Jared Correia and Heidi Alexander). This intimate event took place at Suffolk University Law School’s beautiful building located down the street from Boston Commons and across the street from the Granary Burying Ground, the final resting place for founding fathers such as Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Paul Revere.
Starting with the keynote “Delivering a Cloud Experience” and first panel discussion, it was readily apparent that this conference was wholly geared towards solo practitioners and small firms. High-profile speakers such as Jack Newton (CEO & Founder of Clio), Jim Schonrock (Vice President-Performance at Findlaw), and Leigh McMillan (Vice President of Marketing at Avvo, Inc.) eagerly took live questions from the audience at Suffolk and the online participants. Best of all, the answers were straight forward and simple. It was the kind of knowledge that should have been taught in law school but somehow never was.
Also unique to this event was the emphasis on relationship building rather than a general message on the benefits of social media. In addition to the “whats” of marketing, the “whys” and “hows” were discussed in great detail. This was a true “rubber hits the road” event. Speakers and panelists (including our own CEO Adam Camras) were extremely thoughtful in the delivery of their message. The impression given was that everyone truly cared about the success of the attendees.
Despite the jam-packed schedule of this conference, Heidi Alexander and Jared Correia (hosts of Legal Toolkit) were able to sneak away to Legal Talk Network’s exhibition table to record an episode. In a series of interviews with Jack Newton, Heather Jackson, Jim Schonrock, Joyce Brafford (NCBA), Kelli Proia, Nicole Bradick, Damian Turco, and Susan Cartier Liebel, they recapped on the elements that make this conference special. Tune in to hear how attorneys should be managing their client relationships to grow their practices. Below are some of the marketing and relationship building take-aways from speakers and exhibitors:
- Jack Newton (CEO and Founder of Clio): “Today, it’s more about how you sell than what you sell”
- Jim Schonrock (Vice President-Performance at Findlaw): “With social media, start small and do it well”
- Leigh McMillan (Vice President of Marketing at Avvo, Inc.): When it comes to social media, “it’s better to not do it, than to do it badly”
- Gyi Tsakalakis (Director of Search at AttorneySync): “Use your real name on social media… no one wants to be friends with law firms”
- Heather Jackson (Regional Development Director at Constant Contact): For your newsletters, “Good Content Matters”
- Conrad Saam (Mockingbird Marketing): “Phone #s must be in the header of the website… on every page and clickable”
- David Morris (Assistant General Counsel from TripAdvisor): “Curate your social profiles”
- Marguerite Fletcher (Founder of Fletcher Legal Consulting): “Start networking now… not just when you need it”
- Kelli Proia (Founder of Lawducate): “Don’t use gavels, scales of justice, court houses, legal books, etc. on your website”
- Adam Camras (CEO of Legal Talk Network): “Take advantage of events like today… have business cards, engage, network… everyone is a prospective client”
It was a battle against the elements to get to this year’s LegalTech New York show. We heard some horror stories of massive flight delays, cancellations, and getting rerouted, but those who were able to make it to New York conquered the slushy streets and combination of rain and snow for some great speakers, networking, and products. Here are a few of our highlights.
Tor, Bitcoin, the Silk Road and the Anonymous Web: Drugs, Bombs, and Murder-for-Hire
Jason Thomas, Chief Innovator for Thomson Reuters, presented the opening keynote. Noticeably nerdy for video games and technology, Thomas’s presentation was a delightful, and sometimes unnerving, analysis of how technology, particularly the Internet, is changing the future of crime. Perhaps underscoring the entire presentation was his statement that even criminals need to have a web presence.
TOR is essentially an anonymous Internet browser. The website describes Tor as “a network of virtual tunnels that allows people and groups to improve their privacy and security on the Internet” and originally designed with the U.S. Navy in mind. It is where crime sites like the notorious Silk Road are hosted. While Thomas walked attendees through the basics and showed some items for purchase online (a kilo of cocaine anyone?), just as you began to feel you were getting an exciting look at something secret he showed a directory of sites for hitmen, human trafficking, sex with children, and more. The ease of accessibility to these sites was chilling and only furthered when it was pointed out that the payment system for these sites was Bitcoin.
Photo credit: @philweldon
Bitcoin has garnered a lot of attention from the media this year, most recently with the $2.6 million hack the Silk Road has pledged to pay back to affected users. Forbes Senior Online Editor Kashmir Hill lived off of Bitcoin for a week, and Bob Ambrogi and J Craig Williams covered the topic in one of their January podcasts: The Legal Issues Behind Bitcoin’s Rise to Popularity. The Internet currency is anonymous and associated only with serial numbers. Thomas shared a photo from a Bitcoin conference he’d attended, where he’d watched an attendee deposit less than $2,000 cash into a Bitcoin ATM and withdraw $75,000 a few minutes later. Perhaps it was because we were fresh off the discussion of hiring hitmen using bitcoin, the big payday made me a little uneasy.
The presentation gave many a new look at the tech-savvy and sophisticated world of crime. By the end of the presentation, Thomas, along with many who live-tweeting the keynote, had coined the term CaaS: Crime as a service.
The LegalTech NY Bloggers’ Breakfast
LexisNexis FirmManager hosted the bloggers’ breakfast, which included a panel from four leading bloggers within the industry. In anticipation of the event, LexisNexis released a list of 25 Essential Legal Bloggers. It’s a great resource worth checking out.
Photo credit: @trentcarlyle
On the panel were . . .
- Chris Anderson, Product Manager for LexisNexis FirmManager (and host of the Unbillable Hour),
- Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog Network and his own blog, Real Lawyers Have Blogs,
- Bob Ambrogi, who has been writing the blog Law Sites since 2002 (and is a co-host of Lawyer2Lawyer), and
- Vivia Chen, chief blogger for The Careerist and a senior reporter at American Lawyer.
The panel brought some great ideas and differing philosophies about selecting topics, writing quick posts versus more in-depths one, and how as bloggers it’s still difficult to predict what is going to perform well until after it’s published. It was a great way to kick off day two of the conference. Thanks, LexisNexis for the invite and for including Legal Talk Network on your list of essential bloggers!
Spotted in the exhibitor halls:
The exhibition halls were massive and packed with great products and resources. As usual, there were plenty of cool things at the booths. Here are a few that caught our eye.
Tiki Barber at the Kiersted booth
Photo credit: @LegalTechShow
Huron Legal’s Oxygen Bar
Photo credit: @lisasolomon
Catalyst’s Rolling Papers
Photo credit: @bobambrogi
Bridgeway’s mini texas pecan pies
Photo credit: @atlblog
There were a number of other great eye-catchers in the exhibition hall. Overall it was a great show and we can’t wait to attend next year.
Limited slides and information from the conference can be downloaded here.
After months of preparation, we are excited to debut a new website for Legal Talk Network. The new site improves the experience for listeners, hosts, guests, and sponsors with many updates and improvements on existing features.
“With the new site, we were able to make improvements not only for the listener base and hosts, but also for the show sponsors who will see much more exposure on the new site,” Legal Talk Network CEO Adam Camras said. “We’re incredibly excited to be launched and to find more ways to improve Legal Talk Network for its following.”
Listeners will find that podcast players are now embeddable, which means episodes can be shared across many websites and blog platforms. In addition, social integration and the opening of comments empower listeners to share their feedback and creates more ways to interact with other listeners, hosts, and guests. A new newsletter format will also allow subscribers to tailor their subscription to their own interests and show preferences, something that was very important for us to provide moving forward.
Listeners and site visitors will notice improved speed on the new website, something the technical team focused on in tandem with finding a reliable hosting platform. A shift was also made to incorporate more advanced organization within the site and its archives.
Some of the improvements include:
- Organized show archives
- Host and guest profiles
- Embeddable podcast players
- Social integration
- Listener comments and interaction
- Newsletters tailored to individual interests
The site was also built to provide more advanced analytics and a greater understanding of the listener base. With the new website launched, we now turn our focus to making additional improvements to the network.
“Mobile apps will be coming soon,” Legal Talk Network CTO Trent Carlyle said. “We’re placing a major focus on usability and making these podcasts easy for every listener to digest in whichever format they prefer.” Legal Talk Network podcasts are available for streaming through iHeartRadio.
Robert Ambrogi, co-host of Lawyer 2 Lawyer and former editor-in-chief of National Law Journal, recently became a recurring columnist for the ABA Journal. Ambrogi’s new column is titled “Ambrogi on Tech”, and his debut installment is a review of Thomson Reuters’ Firm Central cloud platform.
Excerpt: “In just the past year, the percentage of lawyers who use the cloud rose from 21 to 31 percent, according to the ABA’s latest legal technology survey. The most common activity there, after document storage, is practice management. . . For Firm Central, its standout feature is tight, single sign-on integration with related Thomson Reuters products, most notably WestlawNext. Log on to your Firm Central dashboard and—besides the components you would expect, such as your matters, clients and contacts, appointments and tasks, and documents—you can jump directly into WestlawNext to perform legal research, into Westlaw Form Builder to assemble legal documents, and into Drafting Assistant for help in drafting and formatting legal documents.”
Full article: Thomson Reuters’ cloud platform Firm Central emphasizes integration—at a cost.
Ambrogi broke the news on his personal blog, LawSites.
Legal Talk Network is pleased to announce that you can now stream your favorite shows on iHeartRadio. To listen to your favorite show, visit iHeartRadio or download the app and use the search bar to locate your show by name.
Following the recent acquisition by legal-focused online marketing company Lawgical, Legal Talk Network has now moved production to a studio based in Denver, Colorado. The new studio features equipment and software built specifically to accommodate the needs and high-quality expectations of Legal Talk Network’s listeners, hosts, and sponsors.
“We’re excited to have Denver as the new home of Legal Talk Network’s production,” CTO Trent Carlyle said. “With Denver being named a top 10 city for tech startups by USA Today, it’s great to see the well-established Legal Talk Network join that local tech community and help it grow.” Although production is based in Denver, it’s important to note that show hosts and guests are scattered throughout various cities across the country.
In moving production to Denver, the audio engineers and producers were able to re-evaluate the show’s equipment, production process, and general needs while looking at ways to improve process and quality. During the network’s acquisition period, nearly every component of the recording and editing process was audited. Processing gear was pulled, re-evaluated, and ultimately upgraded where it would improve the clarity of the content. From outboard hardware and internal software to production processes and show distribution, the engineers and production team have fully re-envisioned the capabilities of Legal Talk Network.
“Moving production to Denver and taking a fanatical look at the equipment,” CEO Adam Camras said. “This process has really given us the opportunity to take a look at how we can further Legal Talk Network’s existing standards of top quality and ultimately expand our listener base to grow the network.”
Two podcasts, Taking Control of Your Mobile Apps and Digital Cameras in Law: Are Smartphones Good Enough? mark the network’s first productions from the Denver studio. Both podcasts were for the network’s Kennedy-Mighell report, hosted by attorneys Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighell.
We are excited to announce that Lawgical, a leader in online marketing and innovative web-based solutions for legal professionals, has acquired Legal Talk Network. The award-winning online media network joins Lawgical’s portfolio of legal support networks and will continue provide high quality podcasts that showcase timely legal news and issues.
Lu Ann Reeb, the Emmy award winning broadcast journalist who founded Legal Talk Network, said, “We’re thrilled that Lawgical is taking over Legal Talk Network. The great team at Lawgical is positioned well to provide the vision, direction, staff, and resources to grow Legal Talk Network as a first of its kind network and to become even more robust than it is today.” Reeb said the potential to grow Legal Talk Network through its acquisition through Lawgical is very gratifying for her.
Legal Talk Network joins Lawgical’s growing portfolio, which includes ServeNow, PInow, AboutBail, and nearly 20 other legal-related brands. While the company offers marketing and software solutions, Lawgical has a long-standing history of producing and distributing content for legal professionals in a variety of formats. Lawgical is also the company behind TweetLaw, a leader in sharing information to the fast-paced legal community on Twitter.
“Our acquisition of Legal Talk Network brings Lawgical’s industry knowledge and experience together with the incredible hosts and highly educational legal content of Legal Talk Network, creating an industry leading resource of legal professionals,” Lawgical and now Legal Talk Network CEO Adam Camras said.