ALA has shifted from holding regional events with varying programs to a “traveling conference” which offers the same programming in various cities. This year's conferences are being held in Portland, Chicago, Fort Worth and Philadelphia.
In this post, we discuss ALA’s new conference format with an expert's point of view on the subject, Janine Book, Pepper Hamilton's Office Manager.
What can an attendee expect to get out of the Business of Law Conferences?
Great education – The ALA Business of Law Conference offers a cutting-edge curriculum that leaders are looking for as well as an opportunity to network with ALA members all over the country.
Why should ALA members attend a Business of Law Conference?
The legal industry is changing very quickly. In order to stay up-to-date on the latest trends, I take every opportunity to obtain the tools I need to develop strategies and learn best practices that will allow me to lead my office into the future. The Business of Law Conferences provide a unique opportunity through top-notch educational offerings, which advance my abilities so that I can do my job effectively. The program is condensed, yet powerful. Also, the new format allows me to select which conference to attend, based on my availability.
Do you have any advice for legal administrators to become more active and involved with ALA initiatives?
My involvement has provided me with a high level of networking opportunities with members throughout the country and abroad. These connections have given me knowledge that I have been able to apply directly to my work at the firm. My experience in ALA has allowed me to practice my public speaking skills, learn how to run effective meetings and make meaningful presentations.
Can you share a few tips for other attendees that would help them to get a rewarding experience out of the Business of Law Conference events?
Every presenter has his or her own style. Some present along side a full slide deck, while others conduct lectures or participate in panel discussions. Regardless of the format, I find it important to gather at least one key takeaway from each session that I attend. After each presentation, I ask myself, “what did I learn?” Perhaps, there was a specific tip that I could apply at work or a piece of advice that really resonated with me. I’m a big note taker at conferences, but there is always one key take-away from each presentation that is worth additional consideration when I get back to the office
Also, I find that the greatest benefits of conference attendance are circumstantial. I often find that my best experiences happen in a collaborative setting – an idea exchange, a conversation with a business partner exhibiting in the Exhibit Hall, or a colleague in the coffee or meal break line. As such, I don’t feel pressured by the structure. I make every effort to enjoy the full agenda and programs that the conference committee has planned. However, I always try to make sure the conference meets my needs as best as it can. ALA has always provided a “my” conference experience for me.
Is there anything in particular that firms are looking for from vendors in the exhibit hall this year?
Mobile technology continues to be of great interest to any business, law included. Mobile technologies have already had a profound effect on the practice of law. Clients expect a response at any hour because they know lawyers carry smart phones and e-mail devices. Any technology that can help make the legal practice and the way we do business more mobile friendly always draws a huge crowd.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the legal community about the ALA Business of Law Conferences?
GO! You won’t be disappointed.
Thank you, Janine for sharing your insights and advice on attending the ALA Business of Law Conference. Do you plan to attend a conference near you? If so, be sure to stop by and say hi to the Bellefield team in the exhibit hall.