Category Archives: Podcast

it’s about time (and billing)

Its About Time (and Billing)

It's About Time (and Billing)

Chrometa - Automated Timekeeping

Chrometa - Automated Timekeeping

Join me for this complimentary webinar about time and billing

Thursday, June 18, 2009
2:00 PM Eastern/1:00 PM Central/12:00 PM Pacific
sponsored by Chrometa

Lawyers underestimate their time by 25% due to bad recording habits, disorganization, and bad management. Enroll in this complimentary webinar and learn how to:

– Capture activities that you’ve been missing
– Create a back-up for time-keeping purposes
– Find out what you do most (and least); and
– Maximize billiable time by minimizing waste

Have your questions answered live by our panel.
Mazy Hedayat – Legal technology writer and practicing attorney
Kristi Royse – Speaker and legal time management and billing expert
Brett Owens – Software entrepreneur, CEO and co-founder, Chrometa

Sign up here.

ABA TechShow: The Video

Live from TechShow 2009 ...

Live from TechShow 2009 ...

 

Thought I’d share some choice video from TechShow 2009 featuring all 4 of the Best of Show winners that I wrote up in TechnoLawyer, plus interviews with some of my heroes such as Bob Ambrogi, Jay Funeberg, and Kevin O’Keefe, as well as sightings of legal blogging all-stars like Dennis Kennedy and Tom Mighelle. I’m still excited.  

 

See related videos here and find me on YouTube as practicehacker

ABA TechShow 2009 – Short and SaaSy

Were the ABA Damnit!

We're the ABA Damnit! We own you!

This was my 10th year at ABA Technology Show in Chicago. This year was particularly cool.  Here’s why:

Meeting The Heavies: To me, seeing people like Dennis Kennedy, Tom Mighelle, Bob Ambrogi, Jim Calloway, Kevin O’Keefe, Brett Burney, Andy Atkins, Jay Foonberg (!) and the rest of my pretend blog friends … I mean pretend LinkedIn friends … is like reconnecting with long lost relatives. Exciting and a little intimidating. But all of them were really great and down to earth. Except that Kennedy. Such a prima donna. I kid, I kid.

Meeting Canadians: Who can forget meeting the Great Librarian of Upper Canada! Beat that. Then there was Phil of the Future (my name for him), Steve Matthews (nice guy), Brett Burney (I think he’s Canadian), Dominic Jaar (vive la Quebec libre!), the boys from Clio (or as I called them, the Booth Babes), and a host of other talent from the Great White North. It was great to meet you all: now go back where the ice doesn’t melt until July.

Technology Becoming Accepted: This year for the first time in memory I noticed a preponderance of grey hairs and the careful gait of partners scoping out potential buys for their offices.  This was not the brash, flash-in-the-pan TechShow of the late-90’s in which the Internet was decried as a fad.

SaaS, Saas, and more Saas: Software as a service was all over the place, and by next year it will be pervasive. This year I was knocked out by the number and variety of kick-ass SaaS providers at the show including Clio, RocketMatter, and VLO Tech. Clio was my hands-down favorite for a number of reasons – I intend to use it in my own practice. Whatever your cup of tea, the idea of throwing away the IT department in favor of the Cloud is gaining traction fast.

Less is … Less: One lamentable fact about this  year’s show – there was less of it than I’ve seen in a long time. Another casualty of the economy I’d say, but we shouldn’t overlook the fact that many legal technology vendors have been slaves to profit instead of boosters for innovation and the slow economy is making it painfully apparent what a royal screw job they’ve been giving lawyers all these years. Many players couldn’t make it ? Good riddance to bad company.

Other than that however, it was a great experience as always and one that I heartily recommend to one and all. If you haven’t been to TechShow, go there. If you have, come back. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

For more coverage see my SmallLaw Column in TechnoLawyer.

Check out Twitter coverage of TechShow.

As always, I’d love your thoughts. E-mail me at mhedayat[at]mha-law.com or tweet me @practichacker.

ttyl 🙂

The ABA gets it … right?

legallyminded

I’m not easy on lawyers when it comes to our use of, appreciation  for, or attitude towards technology. We are not open-minded or fair when it comes to new ideas: most of us either have too much to hide or are flat-out scared.

And even money says that 100% of lawyers over 40 (including judges, legislators, and influential practitioners) see the Internet as a cross between the Yellow Pages and a virtual red-light district.

So I can’t imagine what possessed the American Bar Association to field legallyminded – a do-it-all combo site consisting of wikis, blogs, articles, social-networking, and … who knows what’s next? So much about this site is uncharacteristic of the legal profession and it’s flagship professional organization that I hardly know where to start. But I’ll tell you this – I’m impressed.

That’s right: this isn’t sarcasm. I’m serious: this site is a great attempt to pull our profession into the  next iteration of the Internet and the universe of new communication world of new media and rapid communication. How it fairs remains to be seen, but even trying earns the ABA my respect. Check out legallyminded here.

The Shape of Things To Come

pyramid power

law firm growth rates

law firm growth rates

As anyone who’s worked at one will tell you, law firms are designed to push work downward and grow by doubling the number of staff for every associate, and adding an associate for every rainmaker. Firms can keep this up as long as those at the top generate business. As a result  the classic law firm pyramid doesn’t “grow” so much as it expands in all directions at the base.

That wide base makes for a stable structure; not only that, but minions are notoriously good at billing, overstaffed offices make clients feel secure, law schools fawn over big firms, and the obscene profit margins prove that doing things this way is an absolute good.

In fact even auxiliary players favor this approach: from Westlaw and Lexis to office supply stores, everyone makes out when clients foot the bill. ‘But,’ you ask, ‘what about lawyer satisfaction … staff retention … client service?’ Grow up. Firms are too timid to change, billable hours punish efficiency, rainmakers would rather find cheap employees than leverage information; and the type of client that can afford such services is either cost insensitive or doesn’t know they’re being taken. Then again no-one ever got fired for hiring IBM, right? It’s win-win baby!

Ironically, the ones motivated to change the system are so buried in it that they’re rarely seen or heard from. But that may be changing thanks to the big 2.0 – Web 2.0, Law 2.0, whatever 2.0. The point is that applications like Digg, Flickr, Blogger, and Twitter could become the nimble alternatives to the standard bloatware spewing from Microsoft and IBM. If so then the Gen-Y users of these apps could very well level the playing field at many firms or just jumpish ship altogether. The result is that more and more the hierarchy of the firm is giving way to the mesh of relationships we might call the un-law firm.

Of course there is a wide gulf between theory and action, but real change could take place soon; and for all we know may already be happening. The question is, given the opportunity would we support  these kinds of changes or resist them? To answer that question I refer back to my first year in business school when were were taught about the “Buggy Whip” industry at the outset of the 20th century.

circle of life

the un-law firm

It seems that when cars were introduced in the late 1800’s the companies that made carriages and whips laughed out loud. They had a track record going back to the golden age of Western civilization, while cars were loud, uncomfortable, complex, and quite frankly dangerous. Who would want one of those they reasoned? I guess we know how that one turned out.

Better still, e-mail me at mhedayat[at]mha-law.com with your thoughts.

Cheers.

ABA TechShow 2008 – I came, I saw, I blogged …

http://www.technolawyer.com

Author’s Note: This year I got to blog the ABA Technology Show once again as I did last year in this pair of posts here and here. In addition, this year I was given the opportunity to publish my work in the prestigious publication TechnoLawyer. And on a related (and equally important) note, this was the second year in a row that I was sponsored by the august DuPage County Bar Association, thanks to the hard work of directrix and champion of technology, Glenda Sharp. To Glenda and this year’s bar President, Fred Spitzzeri, a great big Thank You! Here’s to doing it again next year …

I Attended ABA TECHSHOW 2008 and All I Got Was This Lousy Blog Post

Eliminating the Paper Chase: From Boxes to Bytes (Paperless Office Track)

A Real World EDD Motion Hearing (Litigation Track)

The Mobile Office: Take Your Desktop in Your Pocket (Mobile Technology Track)

Outlook Tips and Tricks (Roundtables Track)

So You Want to Be an ABA Author? (Special Session)

Beating the Startup Blues: A Tech Survival Guide (Solo/Small Firm II Track)

Grand Finale: 60 Sites In 60 Minutes

Crazy Mazy’s Best of Show: SQ Global Solutions

Crazy Mazy’s Best of Show: Legal Bar by BEC Legal Systems

Crazy Mazy’s Best of Show: Electronic Discovery

Crazy Mazy’s Best of Show: Adobe Acrobat Professional

A Report from the Exhibit Hall and Suggestions for TechShow 2009

oh, it’s ON now … Silicon Prairie, that is

What: Silicon Prairie Social
When: Thursday, January 24, 2008 6:30 PM
Where: Mullens Bar & Grill 

3080 Warrenville RoadLisle, Illinois 60532 United States

Well, it’s almost that time of year again when members of the Web 2.0, Internet, High-Tech, Software, and Mobile industries in the southwest suburbs have a stiff drink and brave the final frontier: human contact. So don’t just sit there reading this post; sign up to be part of the action at the second official Silicon Prairie Social on Thursday, January 24 at Mullen’s Bar & Grill (directions via Google maps).

 

BONUS: If you kicked yourself for missing the slamming good time I blogged about in this post then this is your chance to relive those glory days. Plus, mention M. Hedayat + Associates, P.C. (we’re a sponsor this time) to get it free! Or don’t and get in free anyway. It’s really your call.

 

RSVP hereThe event is free and an RSVP is required, so sign up now – space is limited.