Without a doubt the two best known legal tech conferences for lawyers are:
- ABA TECHSHOW: is hosted by the American Bar Association every year in Chicago, it covers helpful topics like practice management software, cybersecurity, e-discovery, automation, artificial intelligence, etc.
- Clio Cloud Conference: is hosted by Clio, a leading provider of cloud-based legal practice management software. This conference covers similar topics as the ABA TechShow and also provides plenty of networking opportunities.
Speaking of networking, let’s focus more on this important aspect of legal tech conferences for lawyers.
Networking at legal conferences are highly valued because of these common benefits:
- Building Relationships: conferences allow attendees to meet and get to know others in a way that can lead to professional partnerships, collaborations, mentorships, and friendships.
- Learning and Sharing: conferences also enable attendees to share ideas and learn from others. It allows for the exchange of best practices, new trends, and innovative approaches.
- Visibility: attending conferences can help raise your professional profile, which is especially important for new lawyers.
- Expert Advice: because conferences often attract experts in the field, they provide opportunities to get advice and guidance from those with extensive experience and knowledge in areas like business operations, technology, and marketing.
- Inspiration and Motivation: conferences expose attendees to new ideas and perspectives. They can also offer motivation to pursue new projects or directions in their work.
- Building Trust: face-to-face interactions help establish trust, which is a fundamental part of building a strong professional network.
- Expanding Your Perspective: conferences can expose you to viewpoints from diverse individuals from different geographical locations and cultural backgrounds.
Virtual conferences have become more common due to circumstances like the COVID-19 pandemic, and they can also offer networking opportunities.
Virtual conferences usually make their sessions available as recordings, which is one unique benefit of the virtual format.
I produced a virtual Small Firm Bootcamp back in May of 2020 with over 30 nationally recognized speakers, and the recordings of those sessions are available here.
The sessions covered a host of practical topics related to firm management, marketing, automation, outsourcing and more (you can see the whole list of sessions here ).
The Future of Conferences
The best conferences going forward will blend the best aspects of both live and virtual events. But, in general, virtual events offer the greatest benefits.
Because virtual conferences are minimally burdensome (e.g. no travel expenses or work life disruption)
Virtual events can last longer than two or three days. Delivering valuable information over a longer time horizon will be appreciated by the many people who can’t easily absorb information in a short time window.
It’s true that networking is better at live conferences. There’s a lot of power in face-to-face meetings, and the serendipity of hallway encounters at live events.
But the ability to attend virtual sessions recorded in advance in high quality is generally better than a live event. Having the ability to rewatch a session if you want is very powerful.
And being able to see the presenter’s slides or screen share is better in a virtual setting. And this is true of any kind of online information sharing, such as one sees in certain online communities.
The Inner Circle
Essentially my 80/20 Inner Circle program is an example of this. Many of the members consume the videos and resources as though it were an ongoing, virtual conference.
And when people join an ongoing community like this, networking is much greater than what happens in two or three day virtual conferences.
If the idea of an ongoing virtual conference appeals to you, check out the 80/20 Inner Circle .