2015 Futures Conference Wrap-up

by Andy Adkins

T here are conferences and then, there are conferences. This year’s COLPM 2015 Futures Conference is the latter. While many legal professionals typically attend a conference within their chosen discipline, the COLPM Futures Conference includes all professional disciplines: Management, Marketing, Finance, Technology, and Academics.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Rebooting Legal Services.” The keynote speakers, Daniel Martin Katz and Dan Pinnington, provided the 100+ attendees with insightful and futuristic comments regarding Alternative Business Structures and Artificial Intelligence, continuously posing the question, “what disruption drives change in law firms?”

Co-chairs Mark Tamminga and Dan Pinnington, along with yours truly, provided a well-planned and well-thought-out agenda, focusing on providing a venue for College Fellows and attendees to network in multiple venues. Thursday afternoon, following the keynote presentations, the attendees split into several breakout sessions for “extreme networking,” where everyone in small groups spent four minutes each, exchanging their ideas and experiences in an across-the-table, speed-networking exercise before moving to the next attendee.

We also broke from past traditions of waiting until the Fellows Banquet to induct incoming Fellows. Instead, we inducted the 2015 Fellows in five smaller groups throughout the conference:

Group 1: Co-Chair Dan Pinnington; President Maggie Callicrate; Inductees: Glenn Rawdon, Tea Hoffmann and Michele Gossmeyer
Group 2: Fellow Mark Beese; Inductees: Kevin McMurdo, Katy von Mehren, Nat Slavin, Aleisha Gravit and David Freeman; President Maggie Callicrate
Group 3: Inductees: Linda LaBrie, William Tanner, Aileen Leventon and Michael Downey
Group 4: Inductees: Chris Boyd, Oz Benamram, Patrick Johansen and David Ries; President Maggie Callicrate 
Group 5:
President Maggie Callicrate; Inductees: Colin Jasper, Norm Mullock, William Henderson, R. Bruce McLean and Connie Brenton

We also introduced the “Dine Around” concept Thursday night, whereby attendees and Fellows continued networking at a Dutch-treat dinner in several different fantastic Chicago restaurants.

Friday morning, our host, Chicago-Kent School of Law, provided an extremely informative presentation about the Future of Law School Education. This amazing panel discussion included Chicago-Kent School of Law faculty, alum, and students, all focused on the future of legal education.

Following Friday morning’s presentation, we again broke into small groups with a simple mission: “Invent Something.” The only restriction was to be a product or a service for the legal profession. Each of the nine groups huddled about two hours to design and prepare; presentations would be made in the afternoon. I can tell you from experience, just walking around and peering in on the various groups, it was awe-inspiring with white boards full of notes and drawings and a bustling of activity: networking and brainstorming at its finest.

During lunch, Glenn Rawdon, Program Counsel for Technology at the Legal Services Corporation and a new 2015 COLPM Fellow, provided an update on the College’s relationship with LSC and how many of the College Fellows have volunteered their valuable time assisting with LSC’s mission and on-site visits for legal services organizations around the country. This unique relationship connects COLPM Fellows with an LSC team to assist with a visit and assessment to those legal services organizations that need specific expertise.

After lunch… the “Invent Something” Presentations. We randomly called up representatives from each group for a fast five minute presentation, with an additional five minutes for Q&A. All presentations were phenomenal and well-received. The amount of thought put into each of these inventions was apparent. I don’t think anyone realized that Mark, Dan, & I “arranged” the seemingly randomized and “cross-pollination” groups, but our primary purpose was to select attendees from different disciplines into these groups so that they would not only have different viewpoints, but also bring their individual strengths and experiences together for a more dynamic setting. We were not disappointed.

Voting was done at the end of the presentations and the group with the most votes, by far, was the Bond$Aid project: funds to help pay bonds for low income people.

As an additional networking exercise throughout the conference, Dan Pinnington also designed a new “Bingo Card,” allowing attendees to seek out others for their signature and introduction, with the winner “Carol Greenwald” receiving a nice gift from Dan at the closing ceremony Friday afternoon.

No COLPM Conference would be complete without the Fellow Induction Dinner, held this year at the JW Marriott. This black-tie event was again a magnificent and well-dressed affair, providing the final conference venue for networking, good food, good drink, and an opportunity for the College to once again say “Thank you” to the Fellows, both present and not, as well as the 2015 Inductees.

Next year, the COLPM Futures Conference will be held at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, September 15-16, 2016. We hope to see you there!



The Futures Conference would not be possible without the generous support of our 2015 Sponsors:

Platinum Sponsors

  • Attorney at Work
  • RightHat

2015 Limited Edition Gold Sponsor

  • Mattern & Associates, Ltd.

2015 Gold Sponsors

  • Association of Legal Administrators
  • International Legal Technology Association
  • Legal Marketing Association
  • Practical Law

2015 Silver Sponsors

  • Altman Weil, Inc.
  • Bloomberg Law
  • Elevate
  • Novus Law, LLC