As I mentioned earlier, I came to South Padre Island (the southernmost tip of Texas) to speak at a CLE program sponsored by the Texas State Bar Association. I met some great people, including one of my former students from the days when I taught Moot Court at Loyola Law School. High on the list of rewarding encounters was getting to know Craig Ball better.
I first met Craig at a TechShow (the Legal Technology conference held every year in Chicago) and I got to see him present three times. Each time he was very informative, and –most importantly– highly engaging. One of his specialties is teaching lawyers how to use PowerPoint more effectively. Craig’s use of PowerPoint is so captivating that it can’t be described. But when you see him present you can’t help but sense that you are watching a master craftsman. Craig used to be a plaintiff’s lawyer, where his sharp mind and compassionate demeanor made him very successful. So now he doesn’t practice law; he just teaches lawyers stuff: PowerPoint, Electronic Evidence, Computer Forensics etc. If you are looking for a sure-fire, dynamic speaker to enliven your audience of legal professionals then I would urge you to consider contacting Craig Ball.
I had a chance to have dinner with Craig the first night I arrived in South Padre and I learned a lot about him, not as a clever lawyer but as a person. Craig has one passion in life: helping people to understand things that he believes are important. At the CLE seminar he was asked to speak about Computer forensics, which at its most elemental level requires an understanding of how data is stored on a computer hard drive. At the beginning of his talk he announced that he was going to make a bet that he’d take the most computer unsavvy audience member and make them feel like they actually understood how a computer hard drive stored data.
He then proceeded to give a highly entertaining presentation, cleverly animated of course, that showed how magnetic forces are used to create binary conditions on the physical platter that we call the computer hard drive. I would have bet hundreds of dollars against Craig’s challenge. And I would have lost. Not only did an entire audience of lawyers (me included) grasp the intricate physical method by which data is stored, but we were completely entertained by the explanation. And Craig made it look easy (which of course it was not).
Craig left town shortly after his presentation and I stayed to spend time at the beach. While I was at the bar getting a drink I overheard one of the conference organizers (a federal trial judge) talking about Craig’s presentation. He said that Craig was one of the smartest and most interesting lawyers he’d ever seen. I agree, and I’d add that he’s also one of the nicest lawyers I’ve met. It’s too bad he doesn’t practice law anymore because I’d love to watch him try a case.
But not if I was his opponent.