Everything is Awesome!
That was the theme of this year’s Clio Cloud Conference. In an attempt to outshine last year’s inaugural conference, Clio upped its game this year with a new (gorgeous) venue, more than 450 attendees and more vendors to boot. It started looking like a real technology conference this year, but better than most.
Jack Newton and his childhood friend, Rian Gauvreau, started Clio almost six years ago and as the product has matured and added features, their tech conference has done the same. With big names in legal technology including futurist Richard Susskind, the speaker line up was much more planned this year with a variety of excellent speakers.
In addition to the speakers, the new additions of a food truck breakfast, optional yoga and basketball in the morning as well as a Zen room (I’m not kidding), rounded out the more technical features of the conference including the Clio Lab and Smart Bar.
This year, attendees were able to choose from a variety of different tracks that are seen at similar technology conferences. The practical features were still available for folks looking to take Clio to the next level as well as excellent technology sessions, including what I consider to be the best session in Digital Marketing that I have seen at a technology conference by Jabez LeBret of GNGF.
As a second time attendee, I wanted to focus most on the keynote speakers. Jack Newton, CEO and Founder of Clio greeted the crowd the first day with the announcement of product features including a long-awaited Android app (the iPhone app was last year’s big announcement), FastCase integration (Excellent!) as well as some upcoming features including an integrated document management system and Zapier integration, a huge win for them.
The highlights of the conference for me were the main keynote speakers: Richard Susskind, Cindy Cohen and Carolyn Elefant. While Richard Susskind may be a household name in the legal technology community, Cindy Cohn may only be known in a small tech-savvy group. Well known solo attorney and author of the blog, MyShingle, Carolyn Elefant was a perfect match to bring the technology and efficiency message back to the solo and small firm attorney.
As usual, Professor Susskind is very engaging and delivers the message of the future of the legal profession. While his message hasn’t changed in the past few years, his audience may be listening a little more as he asks, “What value do you bring?” and how can attorneys do “more for less” in terms of using cloud-based applications like Clio.
Cindy Cohn, Legal Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, opened everyone’s eyes as she brought the NSA and US government’s data collection strategy to light. While she “taught a little tech to the lawyers”, she was quite eloquent in her message that the government’s data collection strategy was unconstitutional. This was a perfect venue for tech-savvy lawyers who need to know the implications of this data collection on attorney client privilege, and a call to action about how to do something about it.
Finally, Carolyn Elefant rounded out the third, non-Clio keynotes with practical advice for this solo and small firm audience including take-aways of things that firms can do to be sustainable. Her suggestions included making the intake process quick and looking at different ways of bringing money into the firm, including annual and/or subscription services for clients. She ended with the great suggestions of using the same technology non-lawyers are using, and building your firm to last by utilizing the flexibility and nimbleness of the cloud.
Overall, the Clio Cloud Conference was better than last year, but not as intimate an affair. While the Clio’s staff rocked every detail, I think some of the personality was missing from last year. More people, more things to do, made for less networking time between attendees and I missed that. Having said that, I am headed back next year to see what Clio has in store.