Clio Cloud Conference Highlights the Data-Driven Law Practice

Haben Girma delivers her keynote address at Clio Cloud Conference accompanied by her dog Maxine and keyboard translator

Thunder, feel the thunder.
Lightning and the thunder. …”
– Imagine Dragons, Thunder (Interscope Records 2017)

Clio rolled into New Orleans last week to bring its fifth Clio Cloud Conference to its subscribers and legal tech junkies alike. Going on ten years young, Clio, a legal practice management software company from Vancouver, closed its two-day conference with its staff joining CEO Jack Newton on the stage. Their final shout-out and, frankly, dance off set to Imagine Dragons’ “Thunder” pumping through the ballroom audio. Who knew legal technology could be so… hip!

Just as in years past, the Clio Cloud Conference offered a varied agenda. Tracks were filled with diverse speakers from around North America to talk about how advances in technology – software, hardware, processes, artificial intelligence, and on and on – continues to drive the legal profession. All the while the same goal remained in mind: service to the client.

Sure, much of the conference is geared to Clio’s software and the dozens of integrated, third-party apps that allow users to customize Clio for their practice and uses. But while training and discussions are taking place about the cloud-based software, other technology and legal industry experts are leading discussions on the role of technology at law firms, how consumers are seeking legal services (now and in the future), and why every law firm is really becoming a data and software firm. More specialized discussions delved into Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies (there are currently about 1,000 different kinds!) and using technology in the courtroom, such as VR (virtual reality), AR (augmented reality), MR (mixed reality), and 360-degree video.

6 Ways Consumers Decide On A Lawyer And Much, Much More

One of the highlights of the Clio Cloud Conference was the release and overview of the 2017 Legal Trends Report. As you’ll recall, Jack Newton discussed the figures of Clio’s 2016 Legal Trends Report at The Future Is Now: Legal Services 2.017 conference. Jack once again proved to the attendees that the “Age of the Data-Driven Lawyer” is upon us.

As opposed to using lawyers’ self-reported data as other analytical reports have relied upon, the Legal Trends Report from Clio uses aggregated and anonymized data from its own legal practice management platform, supplemented by large-scale research surveys.

One of many telling results dug into how consumers determine who they hire when selecting legal representation. The best dressed? The largest firm or most experienced? The cleverest billboard? Hardly.

According to the 2017 Legal Trends Report, respondents indicated that responding to phone/email right away (67%), free initial consultations (64%), fixed fees (47%), accepting credit cards (28%), and willingness to exchange text messages (27%) were common. While online presence was important for finding a lawyer, having a great-looking website was only important to 19% of respondents when choosing to hire a lawyer.

These legal consumer demands shape the requests of today’s clients. It’s no surprise that taking that “client journey” to explore the processes you use (and don’t use, but should) to serve them is vital. This is just the message communicated by one such breakout speaker, Josh Kubicki, at the Clio Cloud Conference. Josh similarly spoke to finding such ever-elusive value at our own The Future Is Now: Legal Services 2.017 conference.

Keynote Speakers

The Sky Is Not the Limit slide from Col. Chris Hadfield’s presentation. Photo includes Hadfield conducting a spacewalk at the ISS.

Finally, this year’s Clio Cloud Conference did not disappoint by bringing several notable keynote speakers to the stage. The first Canadian to walk in space, astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield begged the question, “How well [do you] visualize failures so you can get the job done?”

Former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, emphasized ethical legal practice before all else. “The most effective lawyers ever appearing against me, and beating us, worked with the utmost ethical values.” And how lawyers need to remember to sometime talk less and listen more, or as he put it, “Speak simply. Listen intently.”

And my personal favorite keynote came from Deafblind (she purposefully prefers for the word to be combined and capitalized) attorney Haben Girma. Her witty humor and extraordinary viewpoint put her message out to about 1,000 attendees in a beautiful and powerful way. When disabled people encounter obstacles, it is not because of abilities, but because others won’t accommodate them. “I couldn’t read the menu,” explained Haben. “Not because I’m blind. But because of the menu’s format.”

We left Clio Cloud Conference 2017 with some great future law ideas and dialogue coming from the meeting rooms and in the hallways, where you can really connect with some of the thought leaders in legal tech from around North America and beyond. We caught up with old friends and met some new ones along the way. And we realized once again: The future is now. The conversation continues.

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Mark C. Palmer

Mark C. Palmer

As Professionalism Counsel, Mark leads professionalism programming through the statewide mentoring program, collaborating with stakeholders from Galena to Cairo. Mark also supports the development and delivery of educational programming to lawyers and in law schools. When not in the office, you will likely find Mark and his wife busy raising their twin daughters, enjoying his passion of traveling and eating around the world, and training for his next half marathon.
Mark C. Palmer

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