One of the first things we do at the start of a new year is open up our calendar and plug in the dates for conferences most likely to deliver the big ideas. We’ve poured over the sessions and speaker bios and asked for recommendations for 2015’s most-promising events for lawyers. So why not share? Here are links to old favorites and a few newcomers that promise to keep you up to date and on the edge of your seat. Now all you have to do is get up and go!
1. Explore New Technology
Of the really big shows, there’s LegalTech New York, coming up quickly, on February 3-5; ABA TECHSHOW in Chicago, April 16-18; and ILTACON 2015, August 30-September 3 in Las Vegas. At LegalTech this year, a new future-focused track called “Legal Empowerment through Information Technology” includes a “legal disruption lightning round” showcasing emerging legal tech companies. Big shows offer a little something for everyone, but you might consider user-focused conferences like Clio’s Cloud Conference, local legal technology meetups and MILOFest (for the Mac-lovin’ lawyer), where you’ll find user-evangelists eager to share ideas and practical hacks. If there’s a user group or meetup for your practice management software, sign up!
2. Open Your Mind to Marketing Ideas
The big event for legal marketing professionals, the 2015 LMA Annual Conference, takes place April 13-15 in San Diego, featuring keynoter Dan Pink and a jam-packed agenda. For lawyers looking for cutting-edge marketing and business ideas, Avvo’s Lawyernomics three-day conference returns to Las Vegas May 13-15, with a full day devoted to the future of legal marketing and technology. Save the day for more big ideas at the Massachusetts Bar’s Super Marketing Conference, coming June 4. Now in its fifth year, the intense, one-day conference always delivers and it is easy on the wallet, too. Attend in person or watch the live webcast.
3. Just for Solos and Small Firms
While sessions for smaller firms may share the edge of the spotlight at bigger events, small firm issues take the main stage at state bar “solo days.” Here, all sessions speak to individual lawyers’ practical needs, and business, technology and substantive CLE share one convenient venue. The granddaddy of them all is the Missouri Bar’s Solo & Small Firm Conference, coming June 11-13 to Branson. The biggest national conference is the ABA GPSolo National Solo Small Firm Conference, September 24-26 in Boston. Other notable solo days include:
- Illinois State Bar’s new Solo & Small Firm Practice Institute series, February 26 in Naperville and April 16 in East Peoria.
- Louisiana State Bar’s Solo & Small Firm Conference, March 19-20 in New Orleans.
- Vermont Bar Association Solo and Small Firm Conference, May 14-15 in Vergennes.
- Indiana State Bar Solo & Small Firm Conference, June 4-6 at French Lick Resort.
- Oklahoma Bar Solo and Small Firm Conference, June 18-19 at the Hard Rock Casino Resort in Tulsa.
- Law Society of Upper Canada’s Solo and Small Firm conference, June 25 in Toronto.
Watch for fall conference dates from the state bars in Michigan, South Carolina and Wisconsin as well.
4. Polish Your Management Skills
Even if your firm doesn’t have a pricing professional (er … that’s you, right?), the LMA’s P3 Practice Innovation Conference, June 9-10 in Chicago, is worth a look. New to the management side of practice, or need to brush up on what’s coming? Check out the Association of Legal Administrators Annual Meeting and Expo May 17-20 in Nashville, with 75 education sessions in key legal management areas and a focus on innovation.
5. Get Out There (Way Out There) and Innovate
Predicting the future of the legal industry has spawned some innovative events — in 2014 we saw hack-a-thons, disrupt-a-thons, even a “Shark Tank” style competition. What’s up on that front for 2015? Here’s a taste:
- February 17-20, the Chicago Bar Association hosts Future of the Law Week, live and via webcast, with daily sessions on pricing, expert systems, process and knowledge management, client development and more — all culminating in a Future of Law Expo.
- On April 30, the Stanford Center for Legal Informatics will host the third annual CodeX FutureLaw Conference, focused on how technology is changing the landscape of the profession. In May, Stanford also hosts the new ABA Commission on the Future of Legal Services’ National Summit on Innovation in Legal Services.
- The 15th International Conference on Artificial Intelligence and Law takes place June 8-12 in San Diego.
- CALI’s 2015 Conference for Law School Computing, June 18-20 in Denver, explores how technology can change legal education.
- The original legal innovation event, the College of Law Practice Management’s Annual Futures Conference, returns to Chicago-Kent College of Law October 8-9.
Thanks to all those who helped contribute information for this post.
Do you have a favorite conference or new details on a coming event? Send us a note or comment below.
Joan Feldman is Partner/Editorial at Attorney at Work and a Fellow of the College of Law Practice Management. Follow her on Twitter @joanhfeldman.