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Reimagine Your Law Practice at the OBA Solo & Small Firm Conference 2016

By Jim Calloway

On June 23-25, 2016, the OBA Solo & Small Firm Conference returns to the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant. If you haven’t been to this venue since our last conference there, you may not recognize the place. They have remodeled with greatly improved meeting facilities, expanded spa facilities, four movie theaters showing first-run movies with stadium seating, a new bowling alley, a new laser tag venue and more.

The educational offerings at this year’s conference will be world class, too. Plus, approved for 12 hours MCLE/1 Ethics, the programming will fulfill MCLE requirements for the entire year.

Our theme this year is Re-imagine Your Law Practice, and we have more nationally known expert speakers than ever before to help you do just that. Our conference is held in conjunction with the Young Lawyers Division Midyear Meeting. This year we are also doing more programming than ever before for new lawyers who want to learn “the basics.” For lawyers who have been OBA members for two years or less, we are offering a steeply discounted registration rate. We hope this year we will have more young lawyers and more brand new lawyers than ever before.

Reimagine your law practice by paying more attention to the most important tool in your firm’s toolbox — you! We welcome Hallie Love to this year’s conference. She has been doing mind-body training for lawyers in New Mexico and for ABA conferences. She has received great reviews. Her presentations will be “Positive Psychology for Lawyers — A Tool for Superior Professionalism” and “Work Smarter and the Power of Recharge.” She will also be leading some yoga sessions while at the conference. Her information about the connections between mind and body will be interesting and useful.

Reimagine your practice by learning more about automated document assembly. Use of automated document assembly allows solo and small firm lawyers to provide affordable services while being relieved from the drudgery of so much proofreading of manually prepared documents. We are excited to host R.W. “Bob” Christensen Jr., CEOof TheFormTool, to provide training with his session, “The Dirty Dozen: 12 Pervasive Document Errors Banished by Document Automation.”

Reimagine your practice by learning the features of the new Fastcase 7. Fastcase CEO and co-founder Edward J. Walters will demonstrate the new features of your OBA-provided legal research member benefit. He will also have a short program you don’t want to miss called “I Don’t Have a Crystal Ball, But Here’s My Hunch: Data Analysis in Law.” This is a hot emerging topic in the legal profession.

Reimagine your practice with improved professionalism as Oklahoma Supreme Court Chief Justice John F. Reif opens our Saturday session with his talk on “Professionalism Issues for Solo and Small Firm Lawyers.” Hearing ethics and professionalism presentations from Justice Reif has become a much anticipated tradition of our conference.

Legal technologists Ben Schorr and Tom Mighell will return to the OBA Solo & Small Firm Conference. Many of you have heard them speak at prior conferences, and their sessions are always packed. Ben’s session on Microsoft Word was so popular at the last conference that we are bringing him back for another session titled “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Word?” (Last year, someone stopped me right after Ben’s program and said, “I’ve been hearing about styles in Microsoft Word for years, and now I finally understand how they really work!”) As the free upgrade period for Windows 10 comes to an end this summer, Ben will also present two sessions of “Windows 10: To Upgrade or Not?” Ben is a Microsoft MVP, who is a great resource on all Microsoft products.

Tom Mighell will give us his take on “Mobile: Can iOS and Android Be Friends?” As the title suggests, this will be a great session no matter what your current position is on the great mobile phone divide. The experts tell us that video is taking over the Internet, so many will be interested in Tom’s other session “Creating Compelling Content: Podcasts and Videos.” This will be a repeat of his program a few months earlier at ABA TECHSHOW 2016. Tom and Ben will both join me for the conference’s traditional opening session, the fast-paced “60 Tips in 60 Minutes.”

Last year our practice management shootout was very popular, so we are offering more very short mini-presentations we are calling Solo Quick Takes. These range from vendors quickly discussing some aspect of their products to me trying to give you a thumbnail sketch of HIPAA requirements in just a few short minutes.

Our new Practice Management Advisor Darla Jackson will be showing off some of the many things she has learned working in law libraries over the years with her presentation “Free or Low-Cost Sites for Online Research.”

Our basic training track includes noted trial lawyer John W. Coyle III discussing the basics of your first jury trial, as well as Alissa Hutter with the basics of your first divorce case and YLD chairperson Bryon J. Will with the basics of probate and guardianship.

It is no secret that problems operating a lawyer’s trust account can get a lawyer into disciplinary hot water very quickly, so this year we will be including in our basics track “The Basics of Trust Accounting” with OBA Ethics Counsel Joe Balkenbush. OBA General Counsel Gina Hendryx will be giving a presentation titled “Be Proactive & Be Protective:  How to Avoid and How to Prepare for the Most Common Bar Complaints.”

We have a special “CLE Power Lunch” this year on Saturday about a lawyer’s civic responsibility. This is not only a significant and important topic, but squeezing in a little CLE near the end of lunch will allow us to get everybody on the road home a little earlier at the end of the conference.

Everything kicks off with an evening social event Thursday. Some plans are still being finalized so be sure and check the conference website at www.okbar.net/solo for more details. We have many great vendors sponsoring the conference this year with several first-time exhibitors.

The OBA Solo & Small Firm Conference combines fun, fellowship and cutting-edge information for the solo and small firm lawyer. Reserve your room and register now for this year’s conference and prepare yourself for a great and memorable summer event.

HOTEL RESERVATIONS

Call 800-788-2464 for hotel reservations. Refer to OBA-Oklahoma Bar Association when reserving a room and/or block code 1606OBAOKL. Deadline for special rate reservations is June 9, 2016.

Mr. Calloway is OBA Management Assistance Program Director.  Need a quick answer to a tech problem or help solving a management dilemma?  Contact him at 405-416-7008, 1-800-522-8065 or jimc@okbar.org.  It's a free member benefit!

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal -- March 12, 2016 -- Vol. 87, No. 8