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  • InsideTrack
  • April 07, 2021

    Top 10 Takeaways from the 2021 ABA TECHSHOW

    State Bar Practice Management Advisor Christopher Shattuck shares insights from the 2021 annual ABA TECHSHOW, with practical tips on law firm technology.

    Christopher Cody Shattuck

    digital law

    April 7, 2021 – The first-ever virtual ABA TECHSHOW showcased helpful apps, insightful practice management sessions, and emerging innovations.

    Industry experts continue to recommend using automation software, and embracing new technology to increase billable hours and improve work-life balance. If your firm is looking for a change, consider implementing new practices or technologies into your environment.

    Helpful Apps – You would expect this product to be featured as one of the sponsors of the event, but this software was actually used during the TECHSHOW to provide live transcriptions of the CLE presentations. Lawyers could use this software to help transcribe meetings, interviews, or voice dictations. An alternative option that you might already be paying for as part of your subscription services is Transcribe in Word.

    Christopher C. ShattuckChristopher 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.

    InfoTrack – Although not yet available in Wisconsin, this software integrates court filing systems with case management systems, allowing users to file court documents directly from their case management systems. This method is far more efficient than working on a document from a case management system, saving the document to a desktop, uploading the document into the court filing system, and then saving and expensing the document into the case management system. – Mentioned during a couple of different sessions, this AI-powered app removes all of the background noise in your environment, leaving the listener to only hear your voice. Background noise from barking dogs, vocal children, and home repairs will no longer stop you from having a meeting. Unfortunately, the app does not help you maintain your concentration during the distractions.

    Afterpattern – If you do not have a practice management system that offers document automation features, consider testing document automation with Afterpattern’s free trial. With this software, you can build a database of information, connect commonly used forms to automate documents, and launch a portal for clients to use in completing forms. Using document automation saves the time of manually entering information into client engagement letters, standard motions, and court orders.

    Practice Management Tips

    60 Tips in 60 Minutes – A highlight of every TECHSHOW, this session features the best tips and advice from the conference. The full list of tips include some of my favorites, including:

    • PhoneSoap – Uses UV-C light to kill bacteria on your phone while it charges.

    • Clubhouse – The new app for connecting with your colleagues (but make sure you get an invite from an existing member, because that is the only way to join).

    • Cozi – An app that organizes your family calendar.

    Microsoft Teams versus Slack – If you are looking for a way to organize the internal communications of your team members, exchange documents, and track the status of matters, your top two choices are Teams or Slack. Both are great and useful tools, but if you have to choose one, a speaker recommended choosing Teams if you are already using Microsoft products (especially, since you are most likely already paying for the service).

    CannaRegs – After listening in on a session regarding cannabis law, I learned that lawyers need to be aware of federal, state, and local regulations in order to properly advise clients. If you have a nationwide practice, keeping up on all of the ever-changing regulations can be a daunting task. Fortunately, CannaRegs aggregates and organizes the various regulations from across the country into one location, allowing lawyers to easily search for applicable laws. If you are looking for additional information on this topic, checkout's Marketplace.

    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 Practice411TM 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 Zola, Clio, and MyCase web-based practice management tools. Learn more.

    Emerging Innovations

    Keynote: Mitigating Misinformation – Keynote speaker Renée DiResta delivered a powerful session outlining the challenge of managing disinformation without infringing on free speech rights. The challenge also pours into other areas of technology, such as facial recognition and doorbell security that, if used inappropriately, may cause privacy rights to be invaded. The overall theme of the program was to educate folks on the different technologies, the potential for those technologies to be exploited, and how to work with policymakers to maintain rights that are important to you.

    The Future of AI, Mindmapping, and Online Dispute Resolution – Most interesting out of this lineup of topics is Online Dispute Resolution (ODR). Many jurisdictions from around the country are turning to ODR to help resolve the access to justice gap and reduce the number of disputed matters in court pipelines. How many more people would take part in the small claims process if there were a platform both parties could use to resolve their differences, instead of expending resources to litigate matters with low dollar amounts?

    Startup Alley competition – Another staple of the conference, Startup Alley opens every TECHSHOW with a showcase of popular new startups that attendees get to rate and choose one to win. This year’s winner was Freelance for Law, a company that connects law firms with freelance legal workers (be sure to understand the ethical requirements prior to outsourcing legal work).

    Conclusion: Many Options to Boost Your Success

    There are many different paths to increase the efficiencies in your practice by utilizing helpful apps, practice management tips, and emerging innovations in the field of law practice technology. If you need help or would like to learn more, contact the Practice411 program for a complimentary and confidential consultation.

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