After five straight years hosting their annual Clio Cloud Conference  (“Clio Con”) in Chicago, Clio is headed south to New Orleans this year, on September 25 & 26.

What started out as a user conference for two or three hundred folks, Clio Con’s done nothing but grow. This year they expect to welcome one thousand attendees. Legal industry folks from Norway, Switzerland, Germany, New Zealand, Portugal, the Netherlands, and Spain have already registered.

Almost every conference claims to be the preeminent legal tech conference. I think we can safely exclude from the list the recent legal tech conference in San Francisco which couldn’t fill panels nor afford lanyards.

Legal tech conferences shouldn’t look to dummy down presentations to the lowest common denominator of tech aptitude. Good conferences stir our imagination causing us to think — what could our lives and organizations truly be by harnessing passion, innovation and technology.

Clio Con fits this bill. Especially with its traditional four keynote speaker (two announced) format — including Clio CEO, Jack Newton’s keynote sharing word of lawyer successes and product launches.

Knowing their early passion for building spaceships, it should be no surprise that Canadian Clio co-founders, Ryan Gauvreau and Jack, invited an astronaut to keynote. And of course a Canadian one at that, Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to both walk in space and commander a spaceship.

During his last mission, Hadfield gained popularity world-wide by chronicling life aboard the space station and taking pictures of the earth and posting them on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Tumblr.

Last year I leaned over and asked Jack where the heck he discovered Kimberly Motley, the first foreign lawyer to litigate in Afghanistan – she had just keynoted about taking time away from her commercial practice in the States to serve others. Service that meant having a grenade thrown through her office window.

I’m feeling a repeat with Eritrean American, Haben Girma, a disability rights advocate and the first deafblind graduate of Harvard Law School.

Growing up in the US school system, Girma benefited from civil rights laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act and accessible technology, such as a digital Braille device – something her elder brother, who is also deafblind, did not have access to in Eritrea.

Girma became a lawyer to help increase access to books and other digital information for persons with disabilities. She now works to change attitudes about disability around the world, including the development of accessible digital services.

Digital information is just ones and zeroes…It can be converted into any kind of format. And those people who develop these services — programmers, technology designers — they have an incredible power to increase access for people with disabilities. And I hope they use it.

Beyond keynotes, Clio Con brings legal tech innovators including Avvo CEO, Mark Britton, Steven Silberbach, Clio’s SVP of Global Sales and even, myself.

Something I’ve not experienced elsewhere, Clio Con welcomes you to sit down with the speakers in a conference room. I’ve been in discussions with some pretty interesting folks for an hour plus at Clio Con.

Don’t come for CLE credits, come for something more valuable. But if you must, you can earn credits by attending the conference’s educational track track sessions.

Clio’s known for “work-life balance,” especially with “Clio After Dark” parties, where they close entire venues down to welcome guests. Maybe that’s why they picked New Orleans.

The Republic Warehouse is first up this year, and it’s open to all spouses, in addition to attendees. Not to worry as a spouse attending, Clio Con parties are a far cry from tired old lawyer parties with boring conversation. Night two is the House of Blues.

Act fast if you want to come. I’m told registration is filling. Click here to get 20% off registration with a LexBlog discount.

Hope to see you there. You can buy me a beer with the money you saved on registration.

I’ll be attending the Clio Cloud Conference this Sunday through next Tuesday in Chicago.

Clio, a leading cloud based practice management solution, is probably right in billing “Clio Con” as the legal industry’s top conference. As a three year veteran, I can personally vouche for the tremendous experience of hanging out with business, legal and technology leaders for a few days.

Of course you’ll learn (and get CLE credits) in the educational sessions, but it’s the ideas you generate, the camaraderie and the fire you leave a conference with that makes an event special. Clio Con brings this in spades.

Though Clio’s users are primarily small and medium sized law firms,  the talks and keynotes on technology and innovation are thought provoking for lawyers and legal professionals from firms of all sizes. For those of you in Chicago, Clio Con is only a short walk or L ride to the Radisson Blu, just East of Michigan on the River.

Clio has invited over 40 industry leaders, entrepreneurs, and innovators to speak at Clio Con. Keynote speakers include:

  • Gary Vaynerchuk, best selling author, entrepreneur, investor, public speaker, and internet personality
  • Kimberley Motley, first foreign litigator in Afghanistan, TED Speaker, and Founder, Motley Legal
  • Melanie Heller, Vice President and General Manager, Bloomberg Law
  • David Leary, Small Business Ecosystem Evangelist at Intuit

I really liked it last year where anyone who wanted to could sit around a conference room and “shoot the sh..” with the keynoter’s for an hour or two. I hope they’ll do it again.

Like Avvo’s conferences, Clio Con gives you a window into what it’s like bringing new technology to life in an emerging growth company. You’ll hear from Clio team leaders as to what they’re working on, the challenges they face and what their team is launching now and plans to launch in the coming year. This dialogue is not only fun to sit in for those not in the tech industry, but also provides valuable feedback for the Clio team.

Last but not least are the parties, food and drink. Clio CEO, Jack Newton and his team are known for the social side of conferences – whether it’s their conference or someone else’s. I’m convinced it’s because they’re Canucks – work yes, but have fun and welcome folks with open arms.

LexBlog is again serving as a Media Partner for Clio Con. Look for our coverage, including session stories on LXBN and Facebook Live interviews with speakers and attendees.

Yet to register? Use the LexBlog Discount Code on the Registration Page.

P.S. I’ll be in Chicago through Friday meeting with LexBlog Network members, other law firms and speaking Thursday at a Legal Innovation and Tech Meetup at Microsoft with a LexBlog Beer for Bloggers afterwards. Let me know if you’d like to get together.