MILOfest 2011 is behind us now but I wanted to share a few thoughts and highlights from the conference.
The conference was an absolute delight – meeting new Mac-heads, catching up with friends, listening to awesome presentations, and generally soaking up as much legal-related Mac-ness as possible.
The most substantial takeaway for me was simply the creativity and unique-ness of the presentations at the conference. I attend scores of legal technology conferences and CLE seminars around the country, and nothing comes close to the originality of the presentations I see at MILOfest.
I was so impressed with the presentations that I now declare MILOfest the “TED talks” of the the legal technology world. I was blown away by everyone’s use of Keynote (no PowerPoint bullet points were to be found). The slides didn’t drive the content – the speakers did, and the slides were simply the brilliant framework for each presentation.
Plus the topics that Victor Medina incorporates into the conference are just innovative and refreshing. One hour we’re digging into the guts of PDF files, and the next hour we’re hearing about marketing and podcasting.
First Day – Thursday, November 10th
The most engaging presentation of the day (and dare I say the entire conference) was Randy Juip’s passionate and zealous defense of the “cloud” for use by lawyers. Randy is a practicing attorney, and it was as if he was single-handedly defending the right of every attorney to use the cloud in their practice.
All we ever hear about the cloud is how un-secure and dangerous it is for lawyers to use. But Randy’s retorts included phrases like “it just works!” and “lawyers NEED the cloud.”
But Randy didn’t simply throw out these phrases just to be contrary, it was obvious that he had considered the risks of using the cloud. It’s just that instead of stopping there, he provided us with a reasonable approach for deciding whether the cloud is right for our practices. Randy stated the necessity of reading through the terms of service, talking with the cloud provider, and generally taking precautions when necessary (i.e. encryption, strong passwords).
Randy’s presentation was well-reasoned and entertaining. Plus, he had zombies eating my brain.
Second Day – Friday, November 11th
Friday morning started off early with breakfast and I had the honor of giving the first presentation of the day. I got to share some of my favorite best tips & tricks on using Microsoft Word 2011 for Mac. I decided to start off my hour with a brief history of the “Ribbon” in Microsoft Word which helped to set the stage for the later tips. (I plan to record several of the tips and provide them on the site in the next few days.)
After lunch was Finis Price again giving a great walk thru on iPad apps. Finis has become a master of Prezi, and his presentation just looked incredible as we flew in and out of the icons on the iPad.
The last presentation of the day was an excellent and thoughtful ditty called “How to Work Like a Computer” from Larry Port of Rocket Matter. Larry always provides thoughtful, creative insight, and this was just a wonderful presentation on how the human brain can be analogous to a computer.
Third Day – Saturday, November 12th
The last day started off with a couple of delightful romps around “PDF Magic” (Mark Metzger) and “Podcasting 101” (Victor Medina).
My second presentation of the conference was entitled “Mail.app Ninja Tips” where I had a little fun digging deep into some of the best tips & tricks involved in using the Mail.app in Lion. I had a blast and again plan to provide some of the tips here on the site in the next few days.
The next session was John Callis from Clarity Legal Software. I saw John give a presentation back in February 2008 down in Texas when Kern Lewis hosted the “Macs in Trial” session there. I’ve always appreciated John’s incredible programming skillz on DepoSmart, TrialSmart and now DocSmart, and I was thrilled to hear John discuss the improvements and features that he’s introduced into his products recently.
And lastly, the conference was capped off with an entertaining presentation by Mark Merenda entitled “Marketing Lessons from the Movies.” Mark would show a clip from a popular movie (Patton, Groundhog Day, etc.) and then discuss how it’s relevant to marketing. It was engaging and memorable.
I can’t give Victor Medina enough credit for pulling off what is becoming one of the premiere legal technology events of the year. Victor’s vision and creative influence is the bedrock for this conference, and it’s just an incredible experience.
And while Victor is amazing, I must also recognize the sponsors that help make MILOfest a reality:
First and foremost are Marketcircle (Daylite), Clio and Rocket Matter, who were the original sponsors of the first MILOfest three years ago and continue to be fixtures at MILOfest. I must also add Mark Merenda’s company Smart Marketing as Mark has been involved from the beginning too.
But this year, three new exhibitors recognized the need to be at the conference and it was just fantastic to have them there.
First was TrialPad, which has been taking the trial presentation world by storm. Ian O’Flaherty and Aubrey Swanson tirelessly demonstrated the TrialPad app to every attendee, even showing how the iPad could be used wirelessly via the Apple TV. Aubrey has a good wrap-up of MILOfest on TrialPad’s blog.
Next was Deskspace Attorney which is a relative newcomer to the world of practice management software and is strongly targeted to the Mac. Nick Lightbody and others were on hand to demonstrate the software and collect feedback from attendees.
Lastly, DocMoto was eager to discuss their document management platform with attendees and they were very well-received. I’ve always espoused the benefits of using a bona-fide, legal-specific document management system with features such as versioning, profiling, and check-in/check-out, and it looks to me that the DocMoto folks are on the proper path for providing these features in a Mac-native document management suite.