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The Future, The Past, Some Fundamentals and Technology Tips Galore

By Jim Calloway

The future and the past will be highlighted at the 2017 OBA Solo & Small Firm Conference. The conference, which will be held June 22-24 at the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant, devotes an entire track on Friday to Oklahoma’s Trial of the Century — the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing trial. This track will focus on the lessons lawyers can learn from the trial of Terry Nichols, focusing on the massive investigation undertaken by the FBI, the evidence as chronicled by Oklahoma’s own historian/lawyer/author Bob Burke, prosecution and defense strategies and comments from recently retired Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice Steven Taylor, who was the trial judge on the case.

For a look at the future, we will host a demonstration “Immersive Evidence: Virtual Reality in the Courtroom and Boardroom” by OU College of Law Professors Darin Fox and Kenton S. Brice. The day is coming, sooner than you think, when investigators at a crime scene will create virtual reality recordings that will allow jurors to don headsets and virtually “walk around the crime scene.”

We are shaking things up this year. Children’s activities with supervision are being planned. Our ever-popular “60 Tech Tips in 60 Minutes” will kick off Saturday morning instead of Friday morning. We are asking the presenters on our substantive law sessions to include more forms with their materials. We are going to have both musical and magical entertainment. The conference registration fee includes meals and evening events.

As always, the conference offers 12 hours of MCLE credit, including one hour of ethics credit. Our ethics program this year is “The Ethics of Attorney-Client Contracts and Engagement Letters” with OBA General Counsel Gina Hendryx joining me. We know, from conversations with our members, this will be a subject of great interest.
 
A special returning guest this year will be Catherine Reach, director of Law Practice Management & Technology of The Chicago Bar Association. She is going to enlighten us about Microsoft Office 365 and team with OBA Practice Management Advisor Darla Jackson for a program called “Extreme Makeover: Law Firm Website Edition.” Ms. Reach and I will kick off Friday morning with “Critical Technology Tools for the Solo and Small Firm Practice.”

Many solo and small firm lawyers are looking for areas in which to expand their practice. If you are not yet practicing in tribal courts, you may want to attend Shannon Prescott’s program, “Navigating Tribal Court Practice.” Many say this is a growing area of their practice.

Other substantive law programs include “Estate Planning for Mom and Pop,” “Relocation – When Harry Left Sally,” “Civil Discovery: Forms and Procedures,” “Basics of a DPS Revocation Hearing,” “Hot Areas of Oklahoma Oil and Gas Legal Work in 2017” and “How to Read an Abstract for Marketable Title.”

Would your clients hire you if they thought you didn’t intend to keep their confidences? The growing risk of online intrusions to law firm networks and client data is an important consideration for law firms of all sizes. We are pleased to welcome Heidi Shadid for her presentation, “Mitigating Cyber Risk for Law Firms.”

One program was so good at the OBA Annual Meeting last fall we had to bring it to this year’s Solo & Small Firm Conference. Attorney and CPA Ted Blodgett will discuss “Financial Literacy for Lawyers.” Most law students graduate law school without ever looking at a tax return other than their own. Mr. Blodgett will give us an overview of the items you need to examine in tax returns to get the true story whether it is the health of an ongoing business, someone trying to minimize income in a contested family law matter or whether someone is trying to be tricky in another way. This is an extremely informative presentation.

The OBA Solo & Small Firm Conference is held in conjunction with the Young Lawyers Division Midyear Meeting. There will be networking opportunities for young lawyers. Many of our educational sessions are designed with value to young lawyers in mind. We know that all of our young lawyers will appreciate the forms provided with many of the substantive law programs.

This conference has always been about more than just the CLE. It’s a chance to relax and get away. It’s an opportunity to meet with other lawyers from all across Oklahoma. There’s a lot of time for fun and a great resort setting at the Choctaw Casino Resort in Durant. You can register online. Why not go ahead and register now? We hope to see you at the 2017 OBA Solo & Small Firm Conference.

For more information, visit the OBA Solo & Small Firm Conference website.

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(at)OKbar.org.  It's a free member benefit!

Originally published in the Oklahoma Bar Journal -- March 11, 2017 -- Vol. 88, No. 8