The ACC Annual Meeting 2019 in Phoenix, AZ, was full of Legal Operations leaders, technology vendors, thought provoking discussions around reducing bias and increasing diversity & inclusion. And of course, we can’t forget the puppies 

It was a great conference and we can’t wait to see everyone in Philly next year. Here are a few of my key takeaways from attending this year. 

A stellar opening with a powerful message… 

Trevor Faure opened the conference on Monday morning by speaking about how to transform busy lawyers into business leaders. Trevor’s address set the stage for the conference by giving tangible advice on how to transition beyond our self-imposed limits. How can we truly do more with less?

“When was the last time you did something for the first time?” he said. “Learn something. Do something different. That humility to learn will serve you spectacularly well in transforming yourself from a busy lawyer to a business leader.”

Fortune 500 Legal Ops Webinar

Trevor was an inspirational speaker who had credibility in all that he shared. I love the message about being brave, stepping outside our comfort zones, never being too “old” or too “senior” to learn new skills. It was an excellent kickoff to the week and a powerful reminder for all of us.  

Trevor Faure

2020 will be all about data privacy… 

We have all heard about GDPR and CCPA, but there seemed to be a growing sense of panic at ACC Annual Meeting this year about being truly ‘ready’ for CCPA by 2020 and what will come after. Every session around data privacy and compliance was full – and questions around being compliant-ready seemed to bring about anxiety for legal operations professionals. But there’s no need to panic.

I had some great conversations with Kai Westerwelle, a Privacy & Data Protection Specialist from Bird & Bird, about how privacy laws have evolved over the past 20 years. He was one of the first lawyers in the game in Germany when the age of digital privacy really emerged. As a marketer, I have had to stay aware of several components of the laws for consumer data usage.

Kai and I reminisced about the time when there were no protections for US residents. And while that makes a marketer’s job easier, it was definitely worse for the consumer. I welcome CCPA and the other state’s regulations that will follow.

Because of the similarities between the CCPA and the GDPR, businesses that have prepared for the GDPR will have a head start. But the two acts aren’t identical, so there are still steps to take. Not to mention, of course, that a number of states are following in California’s footsteps. Thirteen states have enacted or are considering privacy bills modeled after the CCPA, and six states have proposed some degree of privacy regulation. Read more in our eBook on Data Privacy here.

Everyone wants to learn how to do more with less 

Many legal operations leaders at the ACC Annual Meeting asked us how they can automate their manual tasks – whether it’s NDA routing, matter intake, contract approvals, or any other task that takes up too much time. Some might think better email management is the answer, but Brian McGovern, General Manager of Workflow Solutions at Mitratech, says that email is the most widely used workflow automation tool but also the single worst automation tool. So map out your processes, then automate outside of email by using a dedicated workflow automation solutiion. Result? Instant time and cost savings! See more about that here.

Brian gave a presentation on Tuesday morning about “Lessons Learned from the Fortune 500”. In his first 18 months with Mitratech, Brian had the distinct opportunity to meet with over 130 large, corporate legal departments that were in the midst of large-scale change. Every one of those conversations had common elements around not having enough time, resources, or money. So what do we do with that?

Brian’s findings gave clarity to the topic. “Everyone is tasked with doing more with less. Over 81% of corporate legal departments have seen an increase in their demand. And nobody has enough time, nobody has enough people, and nobody has enough money. The key is automating low complexity, high volume work to drive value to the business.”

Brian McGovern of Mitratech @ ACC Annual

The exhibit hall was all about the puppies (and a little bit of baseball) 

If you could work your way around the hot air balloon virtual reality simulator and the whack-a-mole station with superheroes calling you in, you may have found your way to the most crowded spot on the floor.

Shook, Hardy & Bacon made a clever decision to partner with the Arizona Humane Society to bring in puppies that were eligible for adoption.

The wiggly little doggos were so happy for the attention. We lined up down the aisle for a chance at a petting, or even a snuggle. Well played, Shook, Hardy & Bacon! That worked much better than my choice to air the World Series games in our booth. But I did have a blast talking baseball with various fans from across the world. Maybe next year, Astros!