Although it is possible to continue to practice law without relearning legal technology on a regular basis I never thought that was a good idea. The end result is that at least once annually I travel to a lawyers’ technology conference, CLIO CON specifically, to update my knowledge and see what new practices and strategies can make our work more effective and possibly more interesting.
This year was no exception and, as a result, I am sending this column from the CLIO Cloud Conference 2023 site in Nashville, Tennessee. This is our second hybrid conference since COVID interrupted our annual meeting of attorneys from throughout the country and, in some cases, throughout the globe. There were over 5,000 participants this year worldwide including both in person and virtual and I think it is safe to say there is probably nothing like it. It does mean about three days out of the office (four if you count commuting time) but is worth it if it allows our clients to have a more effective experience in the long run. The entire conference is geared to improving client service through technology and assisting others through legal services. If that sounds dry, it is anything but when you add the enthusiasm that inspires this group beginning with its founder, Jack Newton, the author of the book, “The Client Centered Law Firm.” I do try to keep in touch back home during this time and one of the factors that enables me to do that is the technology I am discussing.
CLIO is a program that pulls together client information, scheduling, billing and payments, communication, cloud based systems, and interrelationships with multiple other software programs to form a unified experience so we can identify the cases we are working on, the next steps we need to take, and the information we need to communicate. The number of new programs and strategies introduced each year is amazing. It makes it possible for smaller offices to do much bigger things. Recognition and awards, known as the Reisman awards are given for firms that find ways to provide access to needed legal services for consumers who otherwise could not and for firms that develop creative solutions to problems.
Direct contact with attorneys from around the country at the conference is a plus. If an attorney in Texas or Michigan or California in your field is experiencing the same problems you are experiencing in Pennsylvania you may come away with a feel for developing common solutions. AI has been a big topic here as elsewhere also in society.
Admittedly I did attend another legal conference in the past few months. This is the last through the end of the year though and we did skip our summer vacation to make it. The other conference was the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF) program in Chicago to view how other elder law attorneys are handling changing times throughout the country. I admit I have a passion for continuing legal education. I do believe our clients deserve nothing less.
Finally, time away in Nashville did also allow me in the past few days to catch up on reading another local newspaper, The Tennessean, which fortuitously included an article on one of my favorite topics – seniors. The headline stated “Ageism should have no place in society or politics…” The Tennessean, Sunday, October 8, 2023. Disregarding for a moment a reference to politics I note a sympathetic ear to the problems of ageism, a bias which has unfortunately been described as the last acceptable form of discrimination in the U.S. The article I thought carried a useful message that there are three steps to changing the narrative on ageism in America recognizing that older Americans vary widely and bring a great deal to our society.
“First, we need to recognize the value that people of all ages, including older adults, bring to our communities through employment, volunteerism and civic engagement.
Second, we need to break down our age-segregated silos and build relationships, programs and communities that bridge generations and life experiences. Third, we need policies that reflect the changing needs of people across the lifespan and promote opportunities for those who are able and choose to remain actively engaged…” “The Tennessean, October 8, 2023. Not all older Americans are retired today and, of those who are, many are also out there contributing a great deal.
Esquire, Colliton Law Associates, P.C. Janet Colliton has practiced law for over 38 years, 37 of them in Chester County, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia. Her practice, Colliton Law Associates, PC, is limited to elder law, Medicaid, including advice, applications and appeals, and other benefits planning including Veterans benefits, life care and special needs planning, guardianships, retirement, and estate planning and administration.