Category Archives: review

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] or tweet me @practichacker.

ttyl 🙂

Clio Client Connect – collaboration gets serious

Clio ClientConnect

This weekend at LegalTech the makers of practice management suite Clio launched ClientConnect, a secure portal that will enable attorneys to share documents, collaborate, bill, and take payments in a secure evnironment on the web. And oh yes – it’s free to every Clio subscriber.

ClientConnect very nearly solves the universal problems that plague asynchronous multi-party communication. In other words, with ClientConnect there are no more e-mail roadblocks, mixed signals, or convoluted conversation-threads in the way of attorney-client communication. As a result lawyers can now make files of any kind, as well as time-sheets, notes, and case details available in seconds just by  recording them in Clio or uploading them to Clio’s super-fast collaboration-servers.

The highlights of ClientConnect include

  • document exchange and collaboration
  • clients can audit case activity anytime
  • case notes are now instantly available
  • clients can pay bills in seconds by PayPal

All told both clients and lawyers will benefit from the ability to collaborate in an open, secure, round-the-clock system that requires no software and has a virtual 0 learning curve. For those lawyers still on the fence, the advent of ClientConnect makes it hard to justify not trying Clio’s 30-day free trial.

Law 1.0 Alive and Well!

Free Answers for Legal Questions 

While the online world whizzes by legal websites often appear stuck in first gear. Even after all this time many attorney aggregators and portals are little more than flat online brochures. Are such Law 1.0 features a good thing; a bad thing, or anything at all? The answer: yes, no, and definitely.

Beyond the Directory

Recently, sites like Avvo have come along to challenge the status quo established a decade ago by the relatively featureless alphabetical directories fielded by Lexis ( and Westlaw ( But with only 2 choices, many don’t see the Internet as a viable place to find a good lawyer.

Starting The Conversation

Years before we learned to participate on Flickr, Digg, and the rest of the Web 2.0 all-stars, and were catering to thousands of Internet users who wanted answers to real-life questions. Today of course everyone from Yahoo! Answers to LinkedIn has incorporated interactive Q+A features and lawyer aggregators have been no exception.

Lawguru is typical of early lawyer-aggregation sites: for all intents and purposes it’s just a forum for questions and answers, but its success encouraged real world publisher Nolo Press to get into the act and soon it became clear that giving people answers was a great way for lawyers to market economically online. There was just one more development needed to shift the focus of online attorney marketing entirely to prospects, and it was supplied by pay-to-play sites such as Legal Match. These sites hat made no bones about the fact that they watned to bring lawyers and clients together – a position that was controversial because, among other things, that role had traditionally been filled by local bar associations (and it was a money-making venture at that). 

Just when it seemed like interactive were slowing down and maturing, the idea of bringing lawyers and clients together got a shot in the arm from – a lawyer-run site that aggregates and connects lawyers and prospects for free. has also avoided the urge to promote hobnobbing a la FaceBook or My Space, It is a direct link straight to the legal community, and possibly the best way we’ve seen yet to put the Internet to work.

The site’s interface is intuitive and friendly: essentially, prospects submit questions and lawyers provide short answers. The value proposition for attorneys is obvious – Lawfiles is their virtual shingle. As long as they can receive e-mail lawyers can respond to anyone, anytime. And the site provides other advantages to lawyers; for instance

  • it creates a direct route to people with needs
  • it quickly augments your online body of work
  • it can build credentials faster than a website
  • it is much more interactive than a blog
  • it provides free listings – others charge to do this
  • it’s always free for lawyers and prospects to use

Overall Lawfiles offers a simple but sophisticated way for lawyers to use the Internet as a client-generation tool – like all interactive websites it puts lawyers in touch with prospects, but like a blog it also allows particpants to create a body of work that gets indexed by search engines – making their answers an invaluable part of their online marketing strategy. And did I mention it’s free?

To learn more about building your practice with Lawfiles, check out the How It Works page, join for free, then grab your listing on their searchable directory.

The Second Coming of the Jesus Phone


Google written all over it

Google written all over it

Feast your eyes on the first cell-phone to have goodies like Gmail, Search, Calendar, and more built in from the get-go via the innovative and, until now, secretive Android mobile OS. The so-called Google Phone has been a myth for as long as the iPhone (dubbed the “Jesus Phone” by Apple fans); even true believers had to wonder if the Google Phone would ever materials. But the Google faithful were duly rewarded last month with the release of Chrome  and this month, the Google Phone.

Far from being a myth, the very real T-Mobile G1 boasts a gaggle of Google applications baked right in, and is the first cell-phone to use a truly open operating system built by a consortium. The upshot is that in theory developers could be popping out applications for the device in no time. Looking further into the future, in a year users should be able to make their Android-powered phones do pretty much anything from turning on the lights at home remotely to automatically letting contacts know they will be late to a meeting based on their GPS-determined position. It’s a brave new world, campers!

Of course the faithful have heard that one before … but hope springs eternal. I mean, they did come out with a phone, and last month a browser right? How badly could they blow this golden opportunity? Do you really want to know the answer? I didn’t think so.

iPhone, iPhone, iPhone, iPhone …

ND IL ED – transcripts available online

As of June 2008 transcripts of court proceedings in the Northern District of Illinois will be available on the PACER system on the following schedule

IF 90-days or less has passed since the transcript was ordered

THEN only the party that ordered that transcript may view it

IF 90-days or more has passed since the transcript was ordered

THEN any PACER user may view the transcript

Attorneys bear the responsibility for identifying personal information that might need to be redacted from the transcript, and for providing the court reporter with notice of same. The court reporter is responsible to follow up on those instructions. The fee cap of $2.40 will not apply to transcripts viewed on the PACER system. For more information see Policy Regarding Availability of Court Proceedings or the Court’s website at