After a two-year hiatus from a comprehensive annual conference,
this year the Massachusetts Bar Association is bringing back its
spring conference on March 11 and 12 at the Westin Copley Place in
Boston's Back Bay. MBA Annual Conference 2010 will feature two full
days of educational programming tied to the conference's theme of
"Achieving a Competitive Advantage in Changing Times."
In addition to the March 11 Gala Dinner and the March 12 Access
to Justice Awards Luncheon, the conference will feature several
plenary sessions, including one focused on compliance with the
new Data Privacy Act. Two CLE tracks - law practice management and
recent developments in the law - will include breakout sessions
throughout the two days.
Lawyers Journal caught up with key conference
faculty to get an idea of what to expect in their respective
CLE programs at AC10.
Compliance with the New Massachusetts Data Privacy
New data privacy regulations will be enacted on March 1, 2010.
This program will thoroughly analyze the regulations, including
coverage of the data privacy statute (Mass. G.L. ch. 93H), the data
privacy code provisions (Code of Massachusetts Regulations ch. 201,
§17, as revised), released guidance from the Office of Consumer
Affairs and Business Regulation, and the tools necessary to comply
with the new rules.
The panelists are drawn from government agencies, the courts,
private industry, technology and nonprofit sectors, and will
provide an array of opinions and tips for the institution of best
Massachusetts has set its course for the strictest data privacy
regulation in the country. Starting on March 1, protection of
clients' data will become an attorney's affirmative duty. Lawyers
shouldn't risk a breach later, and should be preparing to prevent
breaches now by attending this seminar and learning the nutshell
view of the Massachusetts Data Privacy Act: how the law will be
enforced, tools for technical compliance with prevailing laws and
regulations, and a panel discussion of key questions.
60 Sites in 60 Minutes
This action-packed presentation features 60 of the most
practical, pertinent and sometimes just plain entertaining sites
for the typical law practitioner, according to presenter Alan
Klevan. Attorneys Ross Kodner, Bob Ambrogi, Rodney Dowell and
Klevan have scanned the Internet for the hottest and most useful
sites for attorneys and their staff, including technology, practice
management tools, document management systems and time management
tools. Two of the speakers, Kodner and Ambrogi, were at the
forefront of developing the "60 Sites" format.
The Web is rife with useful sites for lawyers, and bookmarking
these sites now will save both time and money later, Klevan said.
The sites will be shown live, so attendees will actually see the
pages being navigated during the presentation. Even if the attendee
uses only a handful of the sites presented when they return to
their practices, "he or she will earn back their conference
registration fee immediately due to the advantage of having these
pages handy," Klevan said.
Social Media for Lawyers: How to Boost Your Practices and
Social media are fueling the most significant changes in legal
marketing since the advent of the Internet. Blogs, Facebook,
LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube and other tools empower lawyers to reach
ever-broader audiences of potential clients, more effectively than
ever before and at little or no cost. At the same time, these tools
are radically changing how consumers shop for and buy legal
services, according to Massachusetts attorney Robert Ambrogi.
The social media seminar will provide an overview of the
social-media landscape for lawyers, and show them how they can use
social-media tools to build their practices and enhance their
reputations. The panelists will also review professional and
ethical pitfalls to avoid in social media.
Serving on the panel will be James Bolan, Esq., author of the
book "Ethical Lawyering in Massachusetts" and a nationally
recognized authority on legal ethics and the Internet; David
Harlow, Esq., author of the award-winning HealthBlawg and a
frequent speaker and writer on blogging and social media; and
Vanessa DiMauro, CEO of Leader Networks, a social-media research
and consulting firm. Ambrogi, a lawyer and media consultant, is the
chairman of the panel.
From Paper to Pixels: The Paper LESS Office Works; Paperless
For more than 20 years, Ross Kodner has helped law firms and
attorneys through the process of building a library of complete -
and completely electronic - case files. That means every document,
every receipt, every e-mail message and even every voicemail
message related to the case is stored in a searchable database of
PDF files. It sounds complicated, and daunting, but Kodner promises
"It's really a simpler, more common-sense concept" to have all
the information stored electronically in a single database, "and
it's a much greener approach than continuing to produce paper," he
Not that the paper goes away entirely. Kodner said he thinks the
"mythical paperless office is the single greatest lie of the
technology age," but that an office with less paper waste and
consumption is easier to attain. And one it is attained, employees
of the firm are "happier and richer people," he said.
Building a complete electric case file database is "a realistic
way to turn wasted hours into billable hours," Kodner said. "It
seems to be a universal truth that the more urgently you need a
file, the less likely you are to find it. I've had firms tell me
they spent half a day looking for a file, and that's insane." Those
lost hours are the "industry shrinkage that affect every law
practice," and that can be converted into profitable hours.
Kodner's seminar will explore, in a very specific and focused
way, how to build, complete and maintain an electronic case file
database at little or no cost to the firm.
Avoiding Lawyer Meltdown
It can be overwhelming to organize both a solo practice and a
personal life, practicing attorney and consultant Allison Shields
said, but there are tools and strategies to help even the most
frazzled lawyer avoid a meltdown.
Shields will address the basics of organizing your activities
(not your time, because that is, unfortunately, a finite resource);
the minutiae of delegating and outsourcing; prioritizing time spent
with clients; and identifying the best use of your time. For
example, she said, it's not enough to tell someone to do something
- you have to show them how to do it. Investing the time to train a
person brings better products that are more quickly produced.
By learning how to delegate, how to organize and how to
prioritize, your practice will run more smoothly, allowing you more
time to invest in your personal life, or back into the
Building Business in the Post-Crash Economy
This three-part seminar explores the dramatic change currently
underway in the culture, economics and practice of law, attorney
Dustin Cole said. "We can either prosper from this change, or we
can fall under the bus."
The seminars will explore the changing ways of doing business,
including the encroachment by other professions and by technology.
Cole will also address the way customers have changed in response
to the economic crash. Though the economy is looking up, he said,
consumers have changed the way they approach law services. "It's
subtle, but it's there," he said.
The other element of change is the influx of lawyers available
to perform the services of law. Last year, 48,000 new attorneys
graduated from law school, at the same time that mid-level
attorneys have been unceremoniously booted from their firms, and
older lawyers are finding that they don't have enough savings to
retire. As a result, the pendulum has swung from a demand economy
to a supply economy for lawyers - and though that presents
challenges, it is also an opportunity to grow as a law
practitioner, Cole said.
The seminars will help Massachusetts attorneys develop new
skills in this new world, and reposition them away from providing
commodity-level services by helping them move up the value level
scale. They will help address "what's different now, how to grow
new skills to cope with the changes, and how to be successful
because of them," Cole said.