I remember my first introduction to a “virtual” world when I visited Second Life a number of years ago. Within minutes, I had created an avatar of myself and was flying around to distant parts of this new world, meeting and interacting with people, just like in the real world—well, almost. Although the idea of a virtual world was ultimately not for me, I was impressed by how people had come together to create communities of every interest, all without meeting in person. It’s a powerful reminder—to me, anyway—of what can be accomplished when the right people are working together with the right tools.
Fast-forward to 2011, and we find more and more lawyers across the country operating virtual law offices—these are not mere “Starbucks lawyers,” but lawyers who are taking advantage of new technologies to work online with their clients in ways that fit the ways they want to practice law. It’s not so different from Second Life, really—just one more example of an innovative use of technology that enables people to collaborate in mutually beneficial ways. Plus, with the rise of cloud computing, lawyers in all practice settings are now able to have access to every facet of their law practice no matter where they happen to be and, in turn, provide better service to their clients in the process.
As I begin my year as ABA Law Practice Management Section Chair, I am excited when I think about all the ways our Section members can work together to help lawyers learn more about the fundamentals of practice management: marketing, management, technology and finance. The coming year offers many opportunities for collaboration, beginning with our Fall and Spring Meetings. Section members will gather October 12-15 in Cape Cod and May 2-5 in Napa Valley to network, share practice management ideas and produce fantastic educational content—and there’s CLE programming, on top of all that.
Of course, the collaboration doesn’t stop there. We’ll also be meeting in November 8-9 for the 2011 ABA Law Firm Marketing Strategies Conference. Titled “R3: Reputation. Referrals. Rankings,” the conference provides a venue for lawyers to work together to discuss strategies for improving their business development practices. And ABA TECHSHOW will once again feature the very finest in legal technology education March 29-31, 2012, in Chicago.
In addition, during my term as Chair, I plan to use this column to challenge you, the LPM member, to make use of the content we provide in Law Practice. In this issue, I give you two challenges. First, take the opportunity to explore a cloud-based tool or technology and see whether it might help you in your practice; you’ll find plenty of examples in the articles that follow. Second, find a way to collaborate with the Section over the coming year. Join us at one of our meetings, or make it a point to attend one of the great conferences that are scheduled. Great things can happen when we all work together, and I look forward to working with all of you over the coming year.