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While there are some among us who associate March breezes with the crack of the bat, the good leather smell of a new mitt, and the Friendly Confines of their favorite ballpark. A whole other kind of spring training is about to get underway. It’s conference season! And, for this week’s five, we’re spotlighting some of the best of the big shows. Nothing minor league here, that’s for sure!
1. “More legal marketing experts than you can shake a stick at.” The Legal Marketing Association’s Annual Conference rolls into Grapevine, Texas, next week—March 14-16, and legal marketing stars of all stripes will be there to brush up on the latest tactics. The focus is on “leadership and change,” and organizers are promising practical real-world stuff with every session, including case studies from actual firms. The exhibit hall will be stuffed with more than 60 exhibitors, showing products and services related to online advertising, software, websites, legal directories and more. Plus, there’s the Your Honor Awards, spotlighting the best in law firm marketing campaigns. You can see the just-announced winners in most categories online, but you have to giddy-up to Texas to view all the winners’ work and hear about the Best in Show winner. If you’res stuck at home but want to Twitter along with the festivities, lock in on #LMA12.
2. Bringing lawyers and technology together. Held March 29-31 in Chicago, ABA TECHSHOW 2012 (#abatechshow) caters to lawyers of all experience levels—not just the technorati—with 13 tracks tailored to skill level and firm focus. At the expo hall you can check out the latest in legal technology. Plus you’ll find plenty of opportunities to hang out with speakers and other attendees. In a word, this show is fun. A big emphasis this year is on topics like cloud computing, virtual practice and, of course, tablets and smartphone tips and tricks. Speakers at the ABA LPM Section event are a who’s who of legal technology (including more than a few Attorney at Work contributors), and Ben Stein is the much-anticipated keynoter. An annual tradition, “60 Sites in 60 Minutes” wraps the show with a rapid-fire delivery of useful, entertaining and, yes, quirky places on the web. If you haven’t registered, get on that: Advance registration ends March 19! Also, be sure to check in on LexThink.1, which takes place on the eve of ABA TECHSHOW, Wednesday, March 28. Twelve speakers—chosen by online public vote—each get no more than six minutes and 20 slides to share their vision of “Serving the 21st Century Client.” Attendance at LexThink1 is free, but tickets are required.
3. Not just for lawyers. Speaking of serving clients, it’s no secret that keeping them happy requires a team effort. And keeping the team in shape requires, well, training. For law firm managers, CEOs and administrators, the Association of Legal Administrators’ Annual Conference takes place April 22-24 in Honolulu. For recruitment and development professionals, NALP’s Annual Education Conference, April 18-21, in Austin, provides training plus the time to network with law school placement officers. This summer, for paralegals and legal assistants, the NALA Annual Meeting happens July 25-28 in Omaha (the International Association of Paralegals Annual Conference will be in Vancouver, October 10-12). For firm librarians and information specialists, the AALL Annual Meeting takes place July 21-24 in Boston. And, for technology directors, the International Legal Technology Association Annual Meeting, ILTA 2012-ac2dc, takes place in Washington, DC, August 26-30.
4. Take a day to think smaller. Before spring days slip past, take a minute or two to check with your state bar’s CLE calendar. Many offer “solo and small firm days” dedicated to helping you catch up on CLE credits and polish up your practice management and technology skills. One of the first and largest conferences is the Missouri State Bar Solo & Small Firm Conference, which takes place June 7-9 at the Hilton Convention Center in Branson, MO. Attracting lawyers from surrounding states, the conference offers nearly 90 educational programs on substantive law, technology, ethics, practice management and quality of life subjects. Solo and small firm conferences are also scheduled this summer for Washington, Minnesota and South Carolina. Of course, the ABA GP Solo & Small Firm Division and LPM Section will offer several programs for solos and small firms at the ABA Annual Meeting, August 2-7, in Chicago.
5. What’s in your future? Right this minute, you should block out October 26-27 for the Futures Conference 2012, presented by the College of Law Practice Management at the Georgetown Law Center in Washington, DC. In addition to an always-inspiring day and a half of mind expanding sessions and one-on-one hallway conversations with some of the profession’s law practice pioneers, the winners of the 2012 InnovAction Awards will be unveiled. (BTW, if you’re doing something really different and praiseworthy in your firm, this award is right up your alley. And it’s not too late to enter, so get to it: Download the entry form here. The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2012.)
Finally, you can keep up with the latest law technology and practice management conferences with Inside Legal’s handy master calendar of events.
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