Inside Track: Top 8 Practice Takeaways from the 2019 ABA Techshow:

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  • Top 8 Practice Takeaways from the 2019 ABA Techshow

    State Bar Practice Management Advisor Christopher Shattuck shares insights from the 2019 annual ABA Techshow, with practical tips on technology that can help lawyers with client relationship management and avoiding phishing attacks.

    Christopher Cody Shattuck

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    April 3, 2019 – The 2019 American Bar Association Techshow, an annual event, did not disappoint. Vendors announced and showcased updates to their platforms and attorneys repeatedly heard how utilize automation can increase practice efficiencies.

    As a second year attendee, I’m continually impressed by the technology showcase, networking opportunities, and common goal to provide better services and technologies for lawyers. In this article, I will provide some of this year’s top highlights.

    1. 60-in-60

    Always one of the more popular events, this year’s 60-in-60 event included the best tips and websites covered over the show. The entire slideshow presentation can be accessed here. Several tips are worth checking out, including:

    • Meeting Owl (360° lens, video-conference camera that allows viewers to see an entire view of the conference room where the Meeting Owl is situated),

    • Sophos Anti-Phishing Toolkit (provides tips, examples, PowerPoint presentation for education, and much more), and

    • Password Checkup (Google Chrome extension that alerts you if your username and password is subject to a known data breach).

    2. Mobile Device Management

    Do you know all the mobile devices that have access to your law firm’s data? In their presentation, MDM (Mobile Device Management): Not Just another TLA, the speakers discussed the importance of mobile device management for law firms, including how Cisco Meraki can help law firms successfully manage and control mobile devices connected to their networks. Also shared during the presentation was a website that tells you how long it would take to hack your password.

    3. Most Helpful Presentation

    Natalie Robinson Kelly and Micah J. Ascano presented Using Practice Management Systems to Streamline Processes. As the law practice assistance manager for the State Bar of Wisconsin, I field numerous calls from attorneys throughout the year, either requesting information on converting to a formal case management software or how to maximize the efficiencies within their current formal case management software.

    Christopher C. Shattuckorg cshattuck wisbar Christopher C. Shattuck, Univ. of La Verne College of Law 2009, M.B.A. U.W.-Oshkosh 2015, is manager of Practice411, the State Bar’s law practice assistance program. If you have questions about the business aspects of your practice, call (800) 957-4670.

    Most formal case management software companies offer training videos, at least monthly email tips, and have technical support staff that are available to answer questions. When it comes to understanding practice management technology, do not be afraid, embrace the challenge.

    4. Most Interesting New Product Features

    MyCase, Zola Suite, and Clio all showcased their customer/client relationship management (CRM) features. MyCase’s Lead Status Board is included in the cost of a MyCase subscription. Zola Suite offers their Zola CRM as part of their Enterprise and Enterprise Plus subscriptions. Clio offers their CRM under the name Clio Grow, which can be purchases as a separate subscription from Clio Manage (practice management software), or bundled under Clio Suite.

    Attorneys aiming to capture the maximum return on their investments should consider tracking client referrals, marketing and advertising expenditures, and case value to make informed decisions on where to place resources.

    Your State Bar Member Benefits: Explore the Possibilities

    Your State Bar membership offers you exclusive access to a wide variety of helpful resources and opportunities. You can contact the Practice411 or Ethics programs for confidential consultations on technology and ethics topics for converting or upgrading your systems.

    Discounts on Practice Management Software

    State Bar members are eligible to receive discounts on Clio, MyCase, and Zola Suite web-based practice management tools. Learn more.

    5. Worth a Read

    The Lean Law Firm: Run Your Firm Like the World's Most Efficient and Profitable Businesses, modeled after the book The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement, provides a narration of an attorney that uses lean techniques and the advice from a mentor to save his law firm. The lean concept seeks to reduce inefficiencies while increasing productivity. The Lean Law Firm books provide great resources and examples for lawyers seeking to introduce lean concepts into the culture of their law firms.

    6. GDPR

    You may have recalled receiving several emails from companies updating you on changes to their policies and procedures to reflect the regulation outlined in the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

    There were at least two presentations, Bringing Tech Into the Law Office: Becoming Your Firm’s Data Privacy Officer & Trending: GDPR and Data Privacy Laws?, at this year’s Techshow on the subject and the questions from the audience demonstrated a greater need for understanding. OneTrust was one of the companies offering software in this area and is worth researching, if your firm needs to determine compliance with GDPR.

    7. Startup Alley

    For the third year, ABA Techshow hosted a Startup Alley. This year, fifteen technology startup companies were selected, after voting, to take part in the competition.

    The winner of the competition was JurisBytes, an app that allows lawyers to text clients and keep track of their time while doing so. The event continues to be a draw for both startups and lawyers looking to capitalize on emerging technologies.

    8. Phishing

    According to a recent Wisconsin Lawyer article, “A phishing attack occurs ‘when a hacker sends an email and someone within the firm clicks on it, and the hacker either redirects the click to a website, convinces the victim to upload something, or infects the victim’s computer (attempting to take over the machine, make it a soldier for attacks on other machines, or get access to the machine’s network).’” Last year’s and this year’s 60-in-60 presentations showcased companies that provide anti-phishing services. The Practice411 elist also recently discussed a free Google Phishing Quiz.

    The takeaway here is that phishing attacks continue to be a top threat for law firms of all sizes. Not only can your systems be infected, but you may also face a loss of reputation. Take the time to train and continually test your staff.


    I look forward to next year’s Techshow with the hope that companies will start offering more bundled services to lawyers. Software integrations through API (application programming interface) or additional CRM software have helped lawyers integrate the different technologies or services they use.

    However, being offered a bundled price for different services, like VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol), practice management software, and back-office management, may continue to encourage lawyers to use different services to obtain the maximum efficiency for the operations of their law offices.

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