What did we learn at the CLOC Conference?
QR Codes, Outside Counsel Startups Make Great Shirts and Standing Out in a Sea of CLM
Last Monday at 12:50am, I flew from Tel Aviv to Las Vegas. I spent 48 hours on the ground trying to soak up the CLOC Conference before making the 18 hour trip back home. I left to the airport following a funeral and, when I returned, I went to pay a shiva call for a member of our team who lost a parent. So, yeah, it’s all been kind of a blur. Plus, my conference game is rusty.
For years leading up to 2020, I flew internationally at least once a month and sometimes three out of four weeks. I went to anywhere between 10-15 conferences a year. But, since March of 2020, I have not flown once for business. I have not been at a conference. I’m not sure I have been at the many events with 2500+ people.
That is my long way of telling you that my recollection of CLOC feels limited and partially blurred. But, especially with all the happy hours, that might have been your experience too, even if your travel was less extreme.
Btw, I have a Webinar tomorrow at 12pm Eastern/9am Pacific going into deeper detail about CLOC with two other experts who attended the conference. You need to register if you want to attend and space is limited so do not delay!
Let’s start with the most important stuff: who had the best team gear?
Award goes to outside counsel management tools Persuit and JusticeBid. Persuit doubled down on their successful pilot of Kill Bill-Able Hours from CLOC 2019. It was great then, and it’s still great now. I am a Tarantino nut, so I told CEO Jim Delkousis (over a cup of their delicious popcorn) that I MUST have one of these tees.
Popcorn and Bright Yellow Pun-Filled Shirts. How you going to beat that JusticeBid? What are you going do? Are you going to show up dressed in classic baby Blue football jerseys reminiscent of the Luv Ya Blue Oilers, they of my Houston based childhood? What else are you going to do? Hire an actual NFL player to work with you during the offseason and have him wear his Superbowl ring at your booth?
How did the #legaltech press and/or Twitterati miss this? From JusticeBid’s March announcement:
“Sales Executive: Emmanuel Smith, an NFL Super Bowl Champion with the Kansas City Chiefs, is excited for the opportunity to help transition the legal industry from diversity-related commitments and pledges (which are very similar to the NFL’s Rooney Rule) to active engagement, with the hope of actively driving change and producing demonstrable results.”
So (fake humblebrag alert) I have some friends in the NFL Players Association who have been telling me for years about how NFL players were using football as a platform to launch business careers. I’ve always thought it was cool, but other than players with their own VC funds, I had not really seen this in action until CLOC. A legaltech asked me a few years ago, “Who cares about athletes when you’re evaluating software?”
I am someone who writes, tweets and webinars about legaltech (not to mention that my team briefs law firms and law departments) but I left the conference remembering JusticeBid, and not only because of their timely diversity analytics offering. So, I’m human, and having a Chief at your booth (even if he’s not C-level) totally worked on me. Well done to both Persuit and JusticeBid for standing out in exhibit hall dominated by contract tech. Btw, on the substance, I’ll bet you either of these companies create more impact/savings year one than most contract tech.
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Another company that stood out with their booth was LegalMation. Yes, I’m biased because I’m an investor and because their classic Zoltar machine straight out of Big was spitting out Zach Abramowitz-themed fortunes. I would love to tell you that I forced them to do it Michael Scott style. But I don’t have that kind of pull. What I will say is that, unlike contract tech (we’ll get to it), an AI litigation automation and insights software like LegalMation can’t be as public with all of their case studies, which I’m sure is frustrating. But the word seems to be getting out that some of the smartest law firms and law departments in the country are leveraging LegalMation as a litigation game changer. Could not be more pleased with that investment.
There was a Lot of Contract Tech. Like a lot, a lot.
The CLOC exhibit hall could, at times, feel like a maze of CLM booths, especially since I was on low sleep. Years ago, every CLOC vendor was an eBilling and Matter Management platform. I can’t remember seeing a single Matter Management company this year, although I’m sure they were there. Now, everyone calls their software a “CLM.” Gravity Stack’s Bryon Bratcher and I wrote an article on Legal Evolution outlining why this term “CLM” is confusing and meaningless, but it is the current infatuation of the legal ops and #legaltech community. I’m going to write a separate post about all the contract tech at CLOC, but “CLM being THE thing” was the most obvious takeaway for anyone who visited the Exhibit Floor. What I will tease you with is this: due to a variety of market factors, we are about to see #legaltech companies (and #contracttech in particular) spend a LOT of money to stand out from the crowd. It should be pretty cool.
Coinbase let the cat out of the bag with their Super Bowl ad. Everything at conferences is now QR codes. In Vegas, I signed up for webinars, added contacts to my phone and accidentally applied for a few jobs using QR Codes. I rarely say this but if you’re not using QR codes at a conference, then you’re seriously missing out and falling behind. (I reserve the right to take this back if later I look foolish for falling for a fad)
Speaking of not falling behind? Do you want to a deeper dive on insights from the CLOC conference? Join me tomorrow for a webinar with Toyota’s Director of Legal Operations and Litigation Support, Richard Robinson and ContractPodai’s GC, Jerry Levine. Space is limited, so RSVP using the link below.
What were your takeaways from CLOC? Let me know!