The last few weeks saw the announcement of a handful of conferences and events (including Fringe Legal). More are likely to be announced in the coming weeks.
Are they worth your time, and which one should you attend? Whether you are a conference veteran or a newbie, here are some tips on making the most of them and some of our favorite events.
Why are you attending?
It starts with why - figuring out what you want to get out of the event will allow you to figure out how to make the most of the time.
Meet others (network): conferences are a great place to meet others that are interested in similar topics as you. However, while this may seem like a wonderful idea to many, it could be the thing of nightmares for those of you that might be getting sweaty palms just reading this paragraph.
Learn about a topic/subject: if you are attending a professional event, then the business certainly wants this to be the goal. It could be so you are kept up to date on the latest changes (e.g. the privacy landscape) or learn about interesting new methods which could be applied to your practice.
Disconnect: this is not one that may immediately jump out but is a benefit. Events allow us to disconnect from our day-to-day. They provide time to expand our thinking and change our mindset, and if done right, come back more excited and energized.
Making the most of your time
I ask LinkedIn about how to make the most out of the conference, and Peter Duffy shared some gold:
I would add a few more tips that I’ve picked up over the years:
- Get enough sleep (more for in-person conferences). Sleep is often the first thing that goes out the window. Get enough rest (whatever that means to you) to be alert & energized throughout the day. Not to mention that it’s easier to retain what you learn in a rested state.
- Take notes. Especially when you meet people. After meeting 100+ people, everyone’s interesting stories start to blend together. Make notes when you speak to people or as soon as possible afterward.
- Ask for help. If it’s your first conference, then introduce yourself to the organizers or try and find someone that has been before. See if they can introduce you to others. (If you’ve been to the conference before, then pay it forward and help out new(er) folks).
- Look for other things happening around the conference. For example, if you’re heading to ILTA 2022, Ari Kaplan is hosting a Rise and Run to start your day off strong 💪🏽.
- Show your work. Present what you’ve learned. It’s a great way to help retention, share knowledge, and put ideas into practice.
In-person vs. virtual
I don’t think one is better than the other. Part of it depends on your personality and goals.
Some things to consider:
- Engagement: for many folks, meeting in person is more natural and something they people have been missing. However, after several years of Zoom/Teams meetings, I would like to think we’ve become better at virtual engagement (are the customary "you're on mute"). Ultimately, this one is going to be a personal preference and how the event is set up.
- Accessibility: depending on where the in-person event might be, it may not be feasible for you to attend. One of the best things about virtual summits is that they are boundaryless by design (although time zone management may still be a challenge).
- Cost: generally speaking (though there are exceptions, including some of the events listed below), in-person events are more expensive. This is because there is a higher cost to hosting a live event (venue, staff, catering, etc.). There are fewer costs to a virtual event, so either the costs are lower or margins are higher 😃.
Impact is the biggest differentiator between the two. Outside of meeting people, the impact of a physical event is much shorter. How many people go to an event, take notes and then review them a week or month later?
A well-designed virtual event can have a greater impact for longer. The virtual setting can be leveraged to provide content for months following the event, which facilitates the expansion of the core ideas and creates deeper mental connections. This is the secret sauce of virtual events.
I mentioned outside of meeting people - that is the secret sauce of in-person events. Meeting one key contact in person could provide sufficient ROI for the event.
Anyway, enough talk. If you just want a list of some of our favorites, here they are (sorted in order of date).
When: Aug 21-25, 2022
Format: In-person (DC)
For whom: IT, KM, Innovation, Legal Technologist
What: ILTACON is a 4.5-day conference with comprehensive peer-driven programs, educational content, and face-to-face networking. Industry experts and the legal community collaborate to discover and evolve successful legal operation strategies for today’s transforming legal industry.
When: Sep 28-29, 2022
Format: In-person (London) (other locations have passed)
For whom: IT, KM, Innovation, Legal Technologists, Startups
What: The Legal Geek Conference is the leading legal innovation conference. Join 2000 attendees from across the world for two days packed with insightful new speakers, the latest startups, and non-stop networking.
When: Oct 21, 2022
Format: In-person (New York City)
For whom: KM, Innovation, Lawyers, Leaders
What: High-quality, in-depth discussions among senior KM professionals. Case studies from firms, how to create a successful law firm subsidiary, new developments in data APIs, use cases for neural network search. In-depth market overview providing data and trends on the state of innovation and legal technology.
When: Nov 11, 2022
For whom: Innovation, KM, Legal Technologists, Lawyers, Leaders
What: The Fringe Legal summit is a virtual event that brings legal innovators together with impactful speakers, allowing the attendees to explore new perspectives from business leaders, and learn ideas that will be the standard in the future, today. The session tracks will include KM & Innovation, Data & Privacy, and ESG.
When: Dec 7 -9, 2022
Format: In-person (Miami)
For whom: Investors, Legal Ops, Innovation, Legal Technologists, Startups
What: A highly-curated summit for the entrepreneurs, investors, companies, and practitioners that are creating, powering, and partnering with technology companies transforming the world of law.
This is obviously not a complete list, but those events that stood out or are a staple of the legal community (at least the small segment that we focus on).
Which one(s) are you attending?