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December 1, 2013
January Solo and Small Firm Conference focuses on technology

By Megan E. Davis
Associate Editor

The General Practice Solo and Small Firm Section is encouraging lawyers to save the date as its annual conference, titled “Conquering the Technology Curve” and set for January 24-25 in Orlando, approaches.

The conference coincides with the Bar’s Winter Meeting at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista.

Sean Desmond A primary focus of the conference is technology, which is rapidly revolutionizing the profession, Sean Desmond, conference chair, said.

“Technology itself has just absolutely exploded and the impact on the profession is amazing,” he said. “With e-filing, e-discovery, e-service, it’s just becoming more and more important that attorneys know what’s going on in this area. Practice management software and all of these changes in technology are so critical because they can really aid your practice.”

Small firms and solo practitioners are especially impacted by changes in technology, Desmond said.

“Lots of bigger firms have large IT departments or dedicated servers, where a lot of smaller firms are now moving toward cloud-based servers and storing information in the cloud,” he said. “We have companies and vendors out there targeting small firms, and there’s a large amount of information in terms of services you can get to help compete with larger firms.”

The first day, with the theme Conquering the Cloud, includes speakers on a variety of technology-related topics, including Mobile Devices & Remote Computing: “Can I Really Practice Law From Anywhere?”; Generating Documents in a Paperless Office: “Getting Things on Paper and Then Getting Rid of the Paper”; and The Ethics of Cloud Computing: “Is This Really Allowed? Is This Safe?”

The second day, titled Conquering the Practice, offers courses on topics like hiring, effective billing, and the Affordable Care Act.
The conference also seeks to provide attorneys with networking opportunities, Desmond said.

“Networking and referrals are just critical to being able to maintain and grow your practice,” he said. “This conference gives you the ability to interact with other solo and small firm attorneys in a really engaging, fun environment. We encourage people to come, mingle, and get to know folks.”

The schedule includes several 15-minute “networking breaks,” as well as an awards luncheon and a reception Friday with entertainment by Tampa Bay’s La Lucha, named Best of the Bay 2013 for “Best Jazz Ensemble.”

For more information or to register, visit the section’s website at www.gpssf.org.

Discounts are available for GPSSF Section members, full-time law college faculty, paralegals, and full-time law students.

The Bar’s Young Lawyer’s Division also plans to award 10 scholarships to cover registration costs for attendees who are members of both the YLD and GPSSF.

A large percentage of small firm lawyers and solo practitioners are young lawyers, said Melanie Griffin, YLD president.

“Since we know we can’t provide a mentor for every young lawyer, we’ve been looking for tangible ways we can help them get the training that they need,” Griffin said. “This is one more way to do that.”

The division is donating a total of $10,000 to the conference, for both the scholarships and additional unspecified support.

[Revised: 11-04-2014]