You know that saying that 50 percent of life is just showing up? Well that rings particularly true at legal conferences.
Showing up to breakout panels, general sessions, and even cocktail hours is part of the conference game. Sure, you may be tempted to skip sessions that don't count for CLE credit, but you would actually be doing yourself a disservice. Here are three reasons to attend legal conferences.
- Rubbing Elbows with Experts. Conferences are a great way to meet the thought leaders in your particular practice area. Maybe these people wouldn’t respond to a cold call or email, but they will probably be happy to speak with you when you’re in the same room. Building that relationship at a conference will come in handy if you need advice later on. Just be sure to trade business cards, and send a follow-up email within one week of the conference.
- Scouting Speaking Opportunities. One of the first tips that anyone shares when you start a law practice is that you need to establish yourself as an expert in a particular field. That can be difficult. When you go to conferences, however, you have the chance to make smart comments in a room full of your peers. If you impress the organizers, you might get recruited to contribute at a future conference or webinar. If you prefer to make your own destiny, offer to moderate a breakout session or roundtable discussion.
- Tweeting Your Way to Success. Okay, so people have mixed opinions about the benefits of social media for building a law practice. We get it. But Twitter is a fantastic way to connect with practice area peers at conferences. Be sure to add the conference hashtag to your tweets, and give credit to specific speakers if you share their comments across social media platforms. (Many conferences will include speakers’ Twitter handles with their bios to make this easier.) If you find a speaker particularly engaging, you can
follow him on Twitter, and suggest that your followers do the same.
Yes, it might be annoying to hear marketing platitudes about the importance of building yourself or your firm as a brand, but those suggestions aren’t without merit. If you want to establish yourself as a star in your practice area, a legal conference is a great place to shine.
- A Guide to Social Media for Corporate Counsel (FindLaw’s In House)
- Fake It ‘Til You Make It: Networking for Introverts (FindLaw’s Strategist)
- How to Become a CLE Speaker Who Gets Invited Back (FindLaw’s Strategist)