ABA Techshow in a Green & Windy City
By Monica Bay
GREAT energy in the Windy City, as the tech troops gathered at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers for the annual American Bar Association Law Practice Management section's ABA Techshow.
First, thanks to Diane Ellis, the State Bar of Arizona's Law Office Management Assistance Program's director. We shared the podium for a session on Information Overload: Getting the Quality of Life Back in Your Life. The discussion covered everything from how to manage client expections to a debate on whether or not lawyers should give out their cell phone numbers. It was great fun, and we had a nice turnout, despite competing with the annual St. Patrick's Day parade (complete with a lime green dyed Chicago River and President George Bush.)
The river's dyed green for the St. Patrick's Day parade
Of course, it isn't a visit to Chicago without dinner at my favorite local restaurant, Shula's, (at the Sheraton) and once more it did not disappoint. I had the enjoyable company of Wesley Perkins, of Great Barrier Reef, who between telling us about the joys of Joplin, Mo., brought us up to speed on his new COOLTOAST document management software, which targets small firms. (See page 3.)
Jim Green, Lois Koenig (center) and Kathryn Romley, of Viack Corp.
One piece of advice about Shula's: split an entree. I felt guilty leaving 80 percent of my fabulous prime rib on the plate, but there's only so much meat any one person can eat! Or enjoy Shula's on the day you leave so you can take home a doggie bag. If you are a carnivore, there's nothing better!
Blue Chicago features paintings by John Carroll Doyle Above: Mojo Mama ©1993
But the night was still young, and after an enjoyable sojourn in the Sheraton lobby bar with Gretchen DeSutter, of West Group, and consultant Loren Jones, et al., I was whisked off to Blue Chicago for several hours of trademark Windy City blues. The joint was, as they say, jumping. Blue Chicago has two venues, both on N. Clark Street (one at Ohio, the other at Superior). A pack of us ended up at the latter, and enjoyed Willie Kent and the Gents, with Patricia Scott.
LPM chair-elect John Tredennick (center) with Doug Caddell (left) and Michael Jimmerson
Among the carousers were the delightful Jose Fernandez and Winslow Chapman of Atlanta's Client Profiles, and Bill Feid, C.E.O. of law.com, and an energetic contingent of AmLaw folks.
ABA Techshow chair Reba Nance, center, with Tom O'Connor (left) and David Bilinsky
Another delightful venue: Cyrano's Bistro and Wine Bar, where on Friday night, a small group gathered for a wonderful French repast.
Attendees included section chair Bill Gibson and his wife, Mary Gibson; Techshow chair Reba Nance, board member Tom O'Connor and former co-chair Jeff Flax; Matthew Diamond of Toronto; section director Rosemary Shiels and several members of her capable staff, among others. It was a lovely evening with fabulous food and good company.
Trolling the Floor
It's always a pleasure to meet new folks, and reconnect with the usual suspects, on the busy trade show floor. Among the newcomers, Bob Syverson of CompleteLAW, which offers practice management software that helps firms manage time, cases, clients, calendaring and billing. Viack Corp., from Redmond, Wash., had a team showing its collaborative software and services, including Jim Green, Kathryn Romley and Lois Koenig.
Lane and Kathryn Loman
Lane Loman had a special helper at the DocuLex Inc. booth Saturday: daughter Kathryn helped dad tell attendees about the company's document management services.
And the gang at LexisNexis gets the award for the very best handout of the show: They wrapped their logo around Power Bars. (Which were all gone by Friday!)
(From left) Lexis' Joe Swimmer, Dolphin Search's Bryan Stubbs with Power Bar, Jim Highland, Brad Brown (front)