What Do You Look for Most When Choosing a Legal Conference to Attend?

Sep 15, 2017 10:32:00 AM

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Legal professionals share why subject matter, practicality, and relevance are top considerations

There are countless factors that go into deciding which legal conference to attend. Whether it’s travel, cost, or content, there are several considerations to keep in mind when making arrangements.

Maybe you’re new to your field, or you’re looking to diversify your CLE experience. Either way, a little expert guidance can go a long way in terms of finding the perfect legal conference. We recently talked to three top estate planning professionals to find out what makes a conference worthwhile. See why they identified factors like subject matter, practicality, and practice relevancy as must-haves among experts:

Client-centric information

Attorneys are meant to serve client interests, and experts say conferences should reflect that goal. When shopping around, be sure topics are applicable to your client base, and let this factor determine your attendance decision.

“I believe it is important for estate planning legal conferences to focus on and encourage discussion and development in topics that are important to our clients. In our case, that’s preserving family power,” Protective Law Corporation attorney David Duringer said.

Duringer said conferences often skew toward topics that are not applicable to his practice, and he is always on the lookout for events that better cater to his clients’ needs. Keeping this in mind will not only help weed out irrelevant options but might also lead you to more narrowly focused events, full of like-minded peers, which can improve collaboration and discussion.

Day-to-day practicality

According to estate planning professionals, legal conferences should lead to improved workplace efficiency. Advice on how to optimize daily operations and customer support are the crux of any worthwhile legal event. With this in mind, attorneys should be wary of overly technical lectures and look for professional development opportunities that have real life application.   

“I always look for what is practical in my day-to-day practice,” Peterson Law Group attorney Chris Peterson said. “If it looks like it will help my office work more efficiently, if it will help us give better customer service, or if it will help me ask better questions and give better answers to clients, then I am in. If it is merely a recitation of case law with no practical application, I will pass.”

Practice area relevancy

Relevancy should also always be top of mind, according to experts. Factors like travel and cost are important, but ultimately these considerations should take a back seat to the bigger question of practice pertinence. Attorneys should do a gut-check when deciding on attendance, and always consider, “how is this applicable to my practice?”

“I obviously look for conferences relevant to our practice areas,” Yanger Law Group attorney Bill Yanger said. “I want to hear and see new information from knowledgeable professionals or known information and processes approached in new and creative ways. With a busy practice, location and length are important; cost less so, if the information provided is valuable.”

Attorneys know thaprofessional development and continuing legal education are important to maintaining an edge, but with so many options available, it’s hard to know where to begin. Take the advice of other successful attorneys in your practice area and always be on the lookout for conferences that are client-centric, have real world application, and are tailored to law practice needs.

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