Two Months Later, Still Thinking of the Clio Cloud Conference

Reflections on the Clio Cloud Conference remain in the forefront of my practice, even two months later.

I attended so many great sessions at Clio Con. It was difficult to decide which sessions would take priority, but here are some of my takeaways from the sessions I did attend.  What is so cool to me is that even two months later, I am still thinking about all of the things I learned and how I can keep using what I learned to grow.

Day 1

Jack Newton, Keynote

Hearing Jack Newton speak was kind of a big deal for me. I’ve missed his keynotes a few times, including the one in Boston for the Super Marketing Conference a few months ago, and so I feel like I’ve been trying to catch him for a while. It was definitely very inspiring to start the conference with him. His passion and enthusiasm is contagious, and you can’t help but get into the spirit of legal technology and innovation geeking! Jack Newton introduced the Android app as well as some other upcoming features including integrated document management systems.

George Psiharis, Entrepreneurship in Law: KPI, Metrics and the Modern Law Practice

After hearing George speak, I tweeted that he was “amazeballs.” I will admit to my readers (but if you repeat this I will deny it) that I did not know what ‘KPI’ stood for until I attended this session. For my friends who won’t admit they don’t know either, it stands for Key Performance Indicator. #mindblown.

One of the first things that resonated with me was George’s discussion about how most solos and small firms neglect to consider themselves as entrepreneurs. That makes me laugh because being an entrepreneur is the FIRST thing I think of when I think of myself, and it is actually one thing I am super proud of. George also discussed alternative practice models including legal freelancers and virtual practices, which gave me some good ideas going forward!

Mark Britton, Customer Service and Your Firm

Customer Service is another thing that is near and dear to my heart. Mark Britton, Founder and CEO of Avvo, spoke about the importance of building trust with clients.

As Avvo is a platform on which attorneys and clients can engage via Q&A, Mark knows a thing or two about what it takes to build a trusting relationship with your market. He lists Knowledge, Understanding, Passion, and Caring as fundamental components to building Trust.

Understanding and listening might sound like an obvious trait for lawyers, but Mark emphasized the importance of how you listen as a lawyer. He describes a cycle of Action, Reaction, and Modification to continually improve the service lawyers give to their clients. Mark also emphasizes the importance of finding what makes you different and using that to grow your client relationships.

Day 2

Chelsey Lambert, Building Culture in the Workplace

Full disclosure here: Chelsey is a great friend of mine. I always knew that she was a speaker and an educator and I figured she must be pretty good. Clio Con was the first time I heard her speak in person, and I was blown away by how passionate this girl is (it’s no wonder we get along so well!).

Chelsey’s emphasis was on cultivating the emotional connections that create happiness for yourself, your employees, and your clients. Most people don’t realize that a brand can be representative of your “culture.” What’s that, you ask? Your brand’s culture is the way you and/or your brand are perceived by outsiders. So every connection you make is a direct reflection of your culture. Chelsey shows us that by really diving deep into defining your mission and focusing on what inspires your passion for your job, you can reflect that in your brand and attract like minded people (such as clients, attorneys, business partners) who fit into your culture.

Alison Monohan, YOLO: A New Generation of Lawyers

In this session, Alison talked about how the new generation of lawyers work differently than previous generations. I definitely fit into the new generation, so I am familiar with the battle between traditional and new, fandangled (sometimes referred to as disruptive) laywering.

Alison emphasizes that even though there are different ways of thinking between the traditionalists and newcomers, it is indeed possible to find a middle ground of good communication. In order for this to happen, people must actually talk about the generational differences and focus on why (not the what) in order to recognize common needs. Then you can more easily discuss how to accommodate different approaches and maximize the strengths of each.

Carolyn Elefant, Keynote

Carolyn emphasized sustainability for solo and small firms, and how to think outside the box to remain relevant and survive as times change and larger companies evolve. She suggests carving out a niche practice to stand out from the rest (I do this personally in my same-sex adoption practice, for example). Putting emphasis on legal planning as a service that involves communication over time versus purchasing a one time document will help general practitioners stand out from companies like LegalZoom that provide cheaper but impersonal services.

Doing things like accepting credit cards and signing people up online are other suggestions she has for enhancing a solo practice. Carolyn says lawyers should not assume they will be around for the long haul and should welcome the opportunity to innovate to deliver better services. I could not agree more!

Nicole Bradick, Get Lean: Agile Lawering and Staffing

Nicole talked about something that I have been doing for a while, which is freelance lawyering. Being a solo startup, I have learned to look for smaller, short term contract jobs whenever and wherever I can.

This might not be something that would occur to every attorney to do, but for me it’s in the nature of being an entrepreneur—it is an alternative and comfortable way of doing business, and it provides work as I build my main practice.  It is also flexible, offers lots of options, and fills a need both for the job seeker as well as the person who needs temporary help.

Featured image courtesy of Gwynne Monahan.

About Julie M. Tolek

Julie M. Tolek
A solo family law attorney in Boston, Julie Tolek is equal parts geek, lawyer, entrepreneur, and marketing maven. Julie launched her firm Think Pink Law with the goal of providing her clients with convenient access to the law by harnessing technology and keeping things real with a human touch, making the law less intimidating and more accessible. With a previous career in leadership and technology training, Julie is naturally hardwired to solve problems. When not running outdoors or stuffing her face in Boston’s dining culture, you can catch her online at www.legallyblondbos.com (@legallyblondbos) and www.thinkpinklaw.com(@ThinkPinkLaw).

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