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Software as a Service has a big presence at MILOFest 2009

Last week Mac lawyers from all over the United States gathered in Orlando to talk about using their beloved Apple machines in the legal space.  It was a very cool gathering of people, and whether you knew a lot or a little about Macs there was something for everyone.

I found it interesting to talk to people who leveraged some of the basic Mac productivity tools, such as Exposé, Spaces, Automator, and those who had never ventured down those paths.  Everybody grows into their own habits and creature comforts with their Macs, and it was interesting to hear how different people used their machines.

Steve McDonough won our Snuggie, and David Satterfield won one of our t-shirts.  Congrats!

Steve McDonough won our Snuggie, and David Satterfield won one of our t-shirts. Congrats!

For a lot of the participants, it was a chance to finally match a face with a name.  Most of us knew of each other from the MILO listserv, but had never met in person.  I met customers and friends that I’ve known in a virtual sense for two years before finally meeting them in “meet space”.

The first presenter, Justin Kahn, dove deep into rich functionality available in Acrobat Professional.  Some of the tips I learned that I’d never known was how to embed indexes to make search on long documents faster, and a function that will download an entire website into a PDF.  Certainly, as we become more and more paperless, solid Acrobat skills will benefit any legal professional.

Software as a Service was one of the predominant themes at MILOFest, with three talks involving the subject, and two out of the four vendors representing SaaS companies.  There seemed to be a general feeling that SaaS is inevitable, a sentiment shared by many participants and even representatives of traditional, desktop installed software.  Jack Newton did a great job representing the legal SaaS industry, boiling down a lot of complex gobbledy-gook technospeak into easily digestible tidbits. Ben Stevens presented a session on using cloud-based tools, which unfortunately I had to miss.

I spoke on a subject near and dear to my heart, productivity.  The talk, “Running an Efficient and Error-Free Law Firm” was an expansion of the shorter talks I gave with the Avvo folks in Florida.  The goal is to delve into the world of project management, applying techniques long known in manufacturing and software industries such as Agile Software Development to the practice of law.  We’re looking for additional opportunities to speak on this topic, so if you haven’t heard the talk you’ll get plenty of chances.

(As an experiment, I uploaded the slideshow to Slideshare.net.  For the most part, they did a good job, but there are some amusing slides in there. Take a look and let me know what you think.)

BeeDocs Timeline presented a sneak preview of some new features.  If you haven’t seen this software, take a look.  It’s one of the most beautiful pieces of software I’ve ever seen.  The folks from Marketcircle and Omni Group were there as well.  Rocket Matter designs start with OmniGraffle, so it was cool to meet them as well.

As usual, we gave away a Snuggie and this time, in the spirit of MILO, we gave away a Magic Mouse.  But don’t worry if you missed out this time, because you can visit us at Virtual LegalTech and try to win some Rocket Matter schwag there as well.

A special thanks to Victor Medina, who did a great job organizing!