Breaking up is hard to do: conferences are hard to end. This is particularly the case for a big one Ike the ABA TechShow which has around 2000 delegates and extends into a third day on a Saturday morning. It is difficult to stop people drifting off and a sense of the event winding down. To counter this potentially depresssing effect, we got a plenary discussion and a couple of quick fire very practical sessions – one, in the session I atttended, on 60 apps worth having and the other – in a closing plenary – on 60 practical tips.
The two quickfire sessions kept the interest even of those who appeared to have an enjoyable St Patrick’s night celebration the evening before. They explored in a very practical way one of the issues raised in the plenary – there is much that can be done with existing technology and resources: as someone said, ‘the future is now’. Many of the tech tools that can revolutionise practice are generally available, widely used already and do not relate specifically to law – still less are they arcane variants of high tech artificial intelligence.
The slides from the two sessions are available at #abatechshow and retweeted @lawtech_a2j. The include coverage of specialist practice management software like Clio, rocketmatter and mycase; passive time recording resources such as Aderant and Chrometa; various online intake programmes.
However, most of the other programmes are generic. They include task tracking applications like todolist; online collaboration facilities through G Suite or Microsoft Office; online signature tools; capacities to scan documents from your phone; automated work flow facilitators like Microsoft Flow; virtual administrative support as extolled on day one; automated editing: and cloud-based note provision like Evernote.
Throw these into a package with robust video conferencing facility like Skype for business and the majority of small practices on both sides of the Atlantic would be transformed. Their combined effect would allow a small startup practice to look as professsionally inviting as a long and conventionally established firm. A firm of any size would have the tools to outwit geography and establish a jurisdiction wide catchment area. Back office costs could be drastically reduced.
A final lesson from the conference may be that such ultimately transformative technology can be introduced as a Big Bang or in a way that is incremental, unthreatening and in pace with the way that practitioners will be adjusting to its use in their private lives. The ABA did a great job in bringing this message home. Time for own Law Society to show what it can do,