Each year, the Law Practice Management Section of the American Bar Association (ABA) presents the ABA Techshow, billed as “the world’s premier legal technology conference and exposition.” This year, like each of the 23 prior years in which the ABA Techshow was held, I did not attend. However, this year, unlike years past, I actually learned a little bit about the conference (more than ever before actually) by following the tweets posted on Twitter by some of the speakers and attendees. Based on the tweets I read, which were actually interesting and informative, it sounded like the techshow was a worthwhile event. I thought that readers of this blog also might find the techshow tweets interesting, and maybe learn something about the ABA conference too. Here are a few of the tweets from the Twitter feed #techshow.

1.            Innovation.

  • Lawyers: embrace the new, be curious, integrate Internet-based technology in practice and accept change.
  • Innovation of legal marketing outpaces guidance and regulation. Speed of ethics is molasses in winter.
  • Educational initiatives: Are we ready for the boomer generation to retire?
  • The cloud computing and social media tracks at #techshow have been packed. Lots of interest in these topics.
  • It is evident that technological change / innovation is being led by small firm lawyers and solos.
  • People are blogging less because of the other social networking tools that are available.

2.             Productivity Tools.

  • Blogging / marketing tools: WordPress, Typepad, Intuit small biz websites, Blogger, Google AdWords.
  • Litigation support SaaS tools: Lexbe, Image Depot, NextPoint, iConnect, Fios.
  • Webinar tools: DimDim, FreeConferenceCall.com, Skype, Acrobat.com.
  • Research tools: Bloglines, Google Reader, Alerts, Westlaw, Lexis, Fastcase, Casemarer, Loislaw, Advologix, LegalFiles, HoudiniEsq.
  • Administrative tools for practice: RocketMatter, goClio.
  • Collaboration tools w/associates: Dialawg (encrypted messaging), PBWorks, Box.net, BaseCamp, MS Live WorkSpace, Sharepoint.
  • Some productivity tools: MS Office online, Google Apps, Zoho apps, eVoice, SpeakWrite.
  • Google’s Wonder Wheel a little used tool buried within Google – use it!
  • Love my Kindle – and it’s good for showing demonstrative evidence in court, too!

3.             Virtual Practice of Law.

  • Reshape the competitive market by offering online legal services with a virtual law practice. #techshow session on virtual law practice
  • Virtual law practice is not for every attorney. Must be self-motivating, entrepreneurial for this model.
  • Limited scope representation must be reasonable – can the service be unbundled properly and can you get informed consent online
  • Samples of virtual law offices and online platforms given at #techshowhttp://bit.ly/9nkZJ5 http://bit.ly/bejqGN http://bit.ly/cYCJvq

4.            Interplay Between Technology and Legal Ethics.

  • Go to state bar ethics rules, Cornell Legal Ethics Library online, blogs to find out how state bar feels on cloud computing.
  • Most ethics complaints are filed by clients, but when it’s advertising complaints it’s from competitors because you’re successful.
  • Blogs are NOT prohibited, neither are social networks. It’s the content and whether it is commercial speech.
  • Be careful to review your state bar’s rules before claiming your name on attorney ratings sites like Avvo, etc.
  • People will trust the Internet to find them a lawyer. It’s a ratings-driven economy.
  • Consumers are making decisions based on ranking on sites so it may be to your benefit to join in and monitor it.
  • What do you do when the attorney ratings sites are out of your hands and in the hands of the consumers?
  • If there is some degree of delay in communication, such as a blog, the rules are different than those applied to real-time communication.
  • The courts, rules do not address the fact that some attorneys blog for the love of their topic, for other reasons than to obtain clients.
  • Ethics opinions do not distinguish between websites and blog as far as the rules and regulations.

5.            Marketing.

  • Six tools for emarketing: email, podcasting, videos, blogs, webinars and ebooks. Ebooks are the most inexpensive and easy to create.
  • Webinars are one of the most effective methods of attracting and retaining clients.
  • In the ebook, you are giving prospective clients the reason why they may need your services.
  • Post ebooks on JD Supra, DocStoc and other archiving sites and your website.
  • Ideas for ebooks: aggregate blog posts in pdf file, compile client FAQs.
  • Ebooks are education-based marketing which helps to tailor the leads that come to you.
  • Your law firm is a service company that happens to sell legal services.

To check out all the tweets posted on Twitter about the recent ABA Techshow, see #techshow.

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