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The Friday Five

Conference-Palooza: They Didn’t Teach This Stuff in Law School

By Joan Feldman

It’s that time of year—conference season! So for this week’s Friday Five, we’re checking out the “coming events” that promise to put a polish on your practice management know-how. There are so many conferences we want to attend, our virtual highlighters have run dry. Open up your calendar, and start making plans now—no fence sitting! (Especially if you want to take advantage of early-bird discounts.)

Lessons Galore

1. Brush up on your business and leadership skills. “Effective Leadership Through Changing Times” is the theme of the Association of Legal Administrators’ Annual Conference and Exposition, April 14-17, in Washington, D.C. (Early-bird registration deadline is today!) Aimed at law firm leaders, managers, administrators and CEOs, over 75 sessions cover these core management areas: Communication and Organizational Management, Financial Management, Legal Industry/Business Management and Operations Management. ALA members know leading a firm requires collaboration—and several sessions have been developed together with the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA), the Legal Marketing Association (LMA) and the NALP Foundation for Law Career Research.

Changing times is also the focus of the College of Law Practice Management Annual Futures Conference. This year, it takes place October 4-5, at Chicago-Kent College of Law in Chicago. In addition to always-inspiring programs, and one-on-one hallway conversations with some of the profession’s law practice pioneers, the winners of the InnovAction Awards will be unveiled.

2. There’s a whole lot of tech going on. Held April 4-6 in Chicago, ABA TECHSHOW 2013 caters to lawyers of all experience levels—and it’s not just about firm IT. In fact, some of the best sessions focus on personal tech—smartphones, tablets and, of course, lots and lots of apps. Speakers are a who’s who of legal technology (including more than a few Attorney at Work contributors)—we’re excited to hear New York Times columnist David Pogue deliver the keynote. Follow #ABATECHSHOW on Twitter for the inside scoop on events and discounts, and if you haven’t registered, get on that: Early-bird discounts end March 11.

As for other big tech conferences, ALM’s first LegalTech Asia Technology Summit 2013 is next month, March 4-5, in Hong Kong, and LegalTech West is coming to Los Angeles May 21-22. For education aimed at legal technology professionals and CIOs, check out the International Legal Technology Association’s meetings website for a growing list of seminars, webinars, roadshows and regional events. Its big annual conference and exposition, “ILTA 2013: The Catalyst,” is August 18-22, in Las Vegas. (Registration opens March 1.)

3. Market like you mean it. The Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Conference arrives in Las Vegas April 8-10, and legal marketing and business development stars of all stripes will be there to brush up on the latest tactics. Keynote speaker David Wilkins, Vice-Dean at Harvard Law School, will speak on “The Future of Law Firms in the Global Age of More for Less,” and four education tracks will cover Business Development, Innovation, Marketing Communications/PR and Marketing Technology. Plus, a day of “pre-con” programs focus on topics like content marketing, competitive intelligence and “SMORs”—smart marketing on (limited) resources. Lock in on #LMA13 to follow the show on Twitter.

Lawyernomics 2013, April 26-27, in Las Vegas, is a two-day legal marketing conference from Avvo, designed to cover everything you need to know about managing your digital presence and generating more business online. Speakers include keynoter Porter Gale, former Virgin Airways Marketing VP (read her interview here), executives from Twitter and Yelp, the ABA’s Will Hornsby, Lawyerist blogger Sam Glover, and Stephanie Kimbro.

4. Practical learning for solo and small firm practices. Several state bars offer daylong conferences dedicated to solos and small firms. The Louisiana State Bar Solo & Small Firm Conference is taking place this week. The Law Society of Upper Canada’s solo conference is May 23-24 in Toronto, the Indiana State Bar Solo & Small Firm Conference is June 6-8 at French Lick Resort, Oklahoma’s conference is June 20-22, and one of the biggest, the Missouri State Bar Solo & Small Firm Conference, takes place June 13-15 in Branson. It offers nearly 80 educational programs on substantive law, technology, ethics and practice management and a start-up boot camp. Minnesota’s Strategic Solutions for Solo & Small Firms conference is August 5-6 in Duluth. In the fall, IllinoisMichigan, South Carolina, Wisconsin and North Carolina present their solo and small firm conferences. And the big one, the ABA GP Solo Fall Meeting and National Solo & Small Firm Conference, is October 3-5 in Lexington, KY.

 5. Brain spas. Sure, you can meet your CLE requirements through ABA CLE, your state bar and other national providers—at the West LegalEd Center alone you can find thousands of archived CLE and live events. But why not step away from the daily grind and immerse yourself in learning something from other types of businesses? Some of the best ideas—and connections—come when you venture outside your professional comfort zone. You just have to be willing to translate them to the practice of law. TED conferences—four-day events that boast the best speakers around—have been described as “four-day spas for your brain.” The live TED 2013 conference this month is sold out, but you can buy an online pass to a year’s worth of events. (And get an iPad mini to watch them all on!) And, luckily, hundreds of local TEDx events have sprung up throughout the world. South by Southwest (SXSW) is another conference that can help you think differently, focused on music, film and interactive technology. More than 60,000 are expected to attend next month in Austin (including our own Ruth Carter who is speaking on protecting your copyright in digital media)!

Looking for something a bit less intense? Attend—or sponsor—local events aimed at entrepreneurs. Check your local news organizations and chamber of commerce. Events like this Nashville Entrepreneurs Exchange can be a great source of inspiration and camaraderie. (Did someone say new clients?)

Tell us about your favorite big show in the comments section below.

Joan Feldman is Partner/Editorial at Attorney at Work.

Categories: Daily Dispatch, Learning, Professional Development
Originally published February 15, 2013
Last updated February 18, 2020
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Joan Hamby Feldman Joan Feldman

Joan Feldman is Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of Attorney at Work, publishing “one really good idea every day” since 2011. She has created and steered myriad leading practice management and trade publications, including the ABA’s Law Practice magazine where she served as managing editor for a dozen years. Joan is a Fellow and served as a Trustee of the College of Law Practice Management. Follow her on LinkedIn and @JoanHFeldman.

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