2013 CALI Conference – Prime in More Ways Than One

The 23rd Conference for Law School Computing just concluded and it was a barn-burner.  I am the Executive Director of CALI, so I might be expected to say that, but as I am the only person to have attended all 23 of these conferences, I am the most likely to be jaded by them as well and let me say … WE’RE BACK BABY!

Seriously.  From the inspiring and challenging keynote speakers to the serene and stunning reception at the top of Chicago’s Willis Tower to the vast array of voices and experiences shared to the exciting and fast-moving Symposium on Lawyering in the Digital Age, this was event was wall-to-wall awesome.

You can partake of the content at CALI’s Youtube channel where every session was streamed live in real-time and recorded for posterity.  At most times, there were up to five, simultaneous streams and we did it with the amazing work of the Chicago-Kent IT staff and Elmer Masters’ deft planning.  This was five fire-hoses of information that are now available, for free, to every law school in the country.  This is what your dues pay for; over 50 sessions – a PhD in the current state of technology in legal education just a few clicks away.

As important and valuable were the connections I made with the community of law faculty, law librarians, IT staff, ed-tech’ers, old-timey Teknoids, sponsors and friends.  I value this the most as I recall everyone’s faces, but struggle to remember everyone’s names.  I suck at names sometimes.  I feel truly blessed to call many of these folks my friends and feel that it enhances my life and the effectiveness of my job.  In 2013, I celebrated my 25th year working in legal education.   In 1987, the squirrels didn’t quite eat their way through the job listings in Chicago Tribune (true story) and I found myself hired as the Director of the Computer Labs at Chicago-Kent College of Law.  In 1991, I was lonely and, along with Tom Bruce, created the Conference for Law School Computing Professionals.  A few years later we wisely dropped the “Professionals” because we couldn’t sustain the ruse and the rest is history – which is televised on YouTube.

Times are tough and law schools are in crisis, but still over 300 people turned out.  I hope that this continues to happen.  The CALI Conference is heading towards a quarter century – at which time I expect someone to give me a Lucite plaque and trundle me off to the wings for someone else to wear the costumes.  The point being, if you are deploying tech in legal education as staff, librarian or faculty, you should be at the CALI Conference next year.  You will get more value per minute and per dollar than just about any other event and the friends and colleagues you make will last a lifetime.

John Mayer

Executive Director


June 16, 2013

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