Continuing Legal Education

Solo & Small Firm Practice Institute Series: Tech Tips & Tools to Transition to the Solo & Small Firm Setting [CHICAGO]

October 16, 2014
8:15 a.m. – 5:15 p.m.
6.25 MCLE hours, including 6.25 Professional Responsibility MCLE credit hours (PMCLE credit subject to approval)

ISBA Regional office
20 S. Clark Street, Suite 900
(map and directions)

ISBA Solo & Small Firm Practice Institute Series
Tech Tips & Tools to Transition to the Solo & Small Firm Setting
For "New" Solo & Small Firm Practitioners
(And Those Thinking about Becoming One)
Presented by the Illinois State Bar Association
Sponsored by ISBA Mutual Insurance Company

Maximize the effective use of technology in your new solo and small firm practice by joining our legal technology expert, Barron Henley, as well as several established ISBA member experts at our upcoming Practice Institute. As an attorney and national speaker, Mr. Henley frequently teaches how to harness the power of technology in the practice of law. Mr. Henley provides answers, strategies and technologies to address your unanswered questions, such as:

  1. What do I do when I have a drafting assignment, but have no helpful templates or forms to start with?
  2. How do I organize my document and file management system?
  3. How do I keep track of all of the tasks being loaded on my plate?
  4. Where do I find the standard procedures I’m expected to follow when they aren't written down anywhere?
  5. Can I use Microsoft Word more effectively and control complex formatting more easily?
  6. What are the best ways to track and bill every minute of the day?
  7. Is my firm missing the technological tools it needs or does it follow old, inefficient protocols?

Later in the day, join our resident ISBA experts at table clinics where you will have a chance to ask questions and get best practices tips from your fellow practitioners on topics such as social media and technology in the courtroom.

Please Note:
All attendees will receive a FLASH DRIVE and electronic link to course materials; however, a print copy of course materials is available for an additional $50 if ordered by Thursday, October 9th

Program Moderator:
Timothy J. Storm, Storm Law Office, Barrington




Featured Speaker - Sponsored by GEICO:
Barron K. Henley, Esq.
Mr. Henley is one of the founding partners of Affinity Consulting Group, a national legal technology consulting firm which handles all aspects of law practice automation including document assembly, case management, document management, legal accounting software, trial presentation/litigation support, paper reduction/scanning, hardware, networks/servers and security. He is an attorney and has been helping other lawyers with technology since 1990. He received his B.S./B.A. (marketing and economics) and J.D. from The Ohio State University and is a member of the American, Ohio and Columbus Bar Associations, and the Worthington Estate Planning Council. He is a member of the ABA Law Practice Management Section and is the former Chair of the Ohio State Bar Association Law Office Automation & Technology Committee. Mr. Henley heads Affinity’s document assembly/automation and software training departments; he is a renowned expert on Microsoft Word, Adobe Acrobat and HotDocs document assembly software; and has authored legal-specific manuals on HotDocs, Adobe Acrobat, and Microsoft Word, Excel & Outlook. Barron teaches continuing legal education (CLE) classes throughout the U.S. and Canada covering a wide variety of topics related to law practice management, technology and ethics.


8:15 a.m.  Continental Breakfast

8:45 – 9:00 a.m.  Welcome and Introductions

9:00 – 10:30 a.m.  Session 1*

  • Assess, Study, Master: Using technology at its basic level oftentimes yields no additional gains in terms of skill. Microsoft Word is a shining example of this, since what users really need to know in order to control complex formatting is actually concealed from the average user’s level of knowledge about the software. Because of this, the biggest problem with legal technology is underutilization. Learn how to systematically improve your skills with any technology and share it with others, while discovering strategies for assessing and maximizing the existing technology in your firm.
  • Learn Faster: Gain a better understanding of how to accumulate substantive know-how and build your own knowledge-base using easy technology tools, such as Word, Excel, or wikis.
  • Document and Email Management: Learn how to find existing precedents, build a form/template library your whole firm will benefit from, create a “paperless” environment, build folder structures and file naming conventions, and manage email and electronic files.

10:30 – 10:45 a.m.  Break with Exhibitors
Sponsored by Smokeball

10:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.  Session 2*

  • Technologies and Services You Should Be Aware Of: Explore practice management technologies such as matter/case management systems, complex document assembly software, and document/email management software, which should be on every new solo and small firm lawyer's radar!
  • Juggling Act: Technology is as diverse and complex as the lawyers in Illinois – and no single system works for everyone. Discover several task management techniques, including David Allen’s “getting things done” approach and the Pomodoro technique, that can help reduce your stress and stay on top of near and long term deadlines and tasks.
  • Managing The Change You Create: New solo and small firm lawyers are often a catalyst for helping established firms identify and deploy new technology and practice management initiatives. Discover the best ways to build a case for change in your firm and build grass-roots support.

12:00 – 1:00 p.m.  Lunch Break (No MCLE Credit)
Sponsored by Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc.

  • Attorneys’ Title Guaranty Fund, Inc. – John O’Brien
  • Illinois Bar Foundation – David Anderson, Executive Director
  • ISBA Mutual Insurance – Kurt B. Bounds, Vice-President, Business Development & Service

1:00 – 2:30 p.m.  Session 3*

  • Process Mapping and Checklist Development: Neither as complicated or as boring as it sounds, this session that offers easy guidelines for mapping your firm's processes, as well as the documenting protocols that help you learn them, reduce the likelihood of a missed step, and benefit the entire firm.
  • Mastering Your Most Important Tool: As a new solo and small firm lawyer, you probably spend the majority of your time drafting documents in Microsoft Word. This quick primer shows you the features you must master in order to become efficient, including automatic paragraph numbering, auto-updating cross references, and many legal drafting tips and tricks.

2:30 – 2:45 p.m.  Break with Exhibitors
Sponsored by Court Call

2:45 – 3:30 p.m.  Session 4*

  • Where Did The Time Go? Discover the great tools that make tracking time easier, including Chrometa, Smart Time and iTimeKeep. Protocols to help you maximize your billing and profitability are also discussed
  • Knowing Your Blind Spots: You may be familiar with technology, however, complex technologies cannot be mastered merely by using them. This session gives you the tools you need to become the techno-master you may already believe yourself to be.
  • Starting Your Own Firm? Get the tips, advice, and insight you need to successfully start your own firm, including a master checklist of everything you'll need to run your office efficiently, a sample budget, tips for writing your own business plan, hardware/software recommendations, and a roadmap for launch!

3:30 – 4:00 p.m.  Break with Exhibitors
Don’t miss this final break with the exhibitors! Complimentary beer and wine will be served.

4:00 – 5:15 p.m.  Best Practices Rapid Fire Table Clinics*
Capture some of the best ideas to incorporate into your practice during our lightning round session. Speakers on a variety of topics will be assigned to tables where they will share their top practice tips and answer your specific questions on those topics. You can switch tables at regularly marked intervals throughout the session. Get ready for fast-paced fun and breakthrough ideas you can put to use in your practice. Topics include:

  • Social Media Savvy: How to Use LinkedIn and Avvo As a Lawyer
    Sarah E. Toney, The Toney Law Firm LLC, Chicago
  • Introduction to Fastcase
    Josh Auriemma, Fastcase, Washington, D.C.
  • Technology in the Courtroom

    Michael E. Holden, Romanucci & Blandin, LLC, Chicago

  • How to Design Your Own Firm Website
    Samuel M. Dotzler, Dotzler Law LLC, Chicago


*Professional Responsibility MCLE credit subject to approval