Top Conferences to Boost Your Legal Career in 2017

By Robert Half Legal

In today’s rapidly evolving legal field, it’s imperative for legal professionals to stay up to date on tech innovations, law practice management strategies and industry trends. One of the most effective and rewarding ways to do that is by attending conferences where innovators and thought leaders gather. These events are also great for your legal career: Not only can you earn CLE credits and improve your skill set, but opportunities also abound for networking and meeting potential employers.  

Whether you’re between legal jobs or simply want to stay on top of your game, make it a New Year’s resolution to find and attend an industry conference. Here are four to get you started:

ABA Techshow Conference and Expo (March 15­-18, Chicago, Illinois)

If you’re interested in discovering the latest platforms and applications cutting-edge law firms will be using in 2017, the ABA Techshow is for you. This convention brings lawyers and technology together like no other. Some of the topics include cybersecurity, eDiscovery, performance data analysis, web-based legal services, time management technology, virtual law firms, law practice management software and ethical guidance around modern payment systems.

This conference is ideal for office managers, in-house counsel, law firm attorneys, legal support staff — regardless of an employer’s size. Harnessing the power of technology can make legal departments and law firms more efficient and competitive, and learning about innovative tech tools can boost your legal career to the next level.

Association of Legal Administrators (ALA) Annual Conference and Expo (April 2-5, Denver, Colorado)

The ALA Annual Conference is designed for legal managers of all experience levels. The event focuses on the business of law and advancing administrators’ leadership skills. Attendees can choose from six different tracks. The 2020 Education Track helps prepare legal managers for the future law office, while the Legal Project Management Track centers on tools and best practices to improve law firm efficiency. There are also tracks ranging from basic to advanced education. The CLM Application Track allows attendees to earn all 10 hours of the required general education component before taking the Certified Legal Manager (CLM) exam.

Attendees have an option of more than 80 sessions in five key management areas: organizational management, finances, human resources, operations/IT and business management. Some of the hot topics this year include managing a multigenerational workplace (including Gen Z) and payroll mistakes. This conference is a must for law office managers at any level of their legal career.

National Federation of Paralegals Association (NFPA) Annual Joint Conference (April 28-30, New York City)

The annual NFPA Joint Conference is a place for paralegals around the country to gather, deepen their knowledge, earn CLE credits, improve soft skills and advance their legal careers. NFPA members may attend all three parts of the conference (regulation, certification, leadership) for a nominal fee, and non-members may attend just the regulation portion. Social events each evening are ideal for sharing experiences, meeting paralegal leaders and networking over food and drinks.

Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Annual Meeting (October 15-18, Washington, D.C.)

The ACC Annual Meeting is created for those with in-house legal jobs to connect with each other and legal service providers. This education-focused event is one of the top conferences for corporate counsel to gain CLE credits. The 2017 program is still being developed. But using the 2016 conference as a guide, topics are likely to touch on issues such as mergers and acquisitions, restructuring, high-stakes litigation, regulatory compliance, trademark/IP and dealing with the board.

Attending a conference is an excellent legal career move regardless of your title or years of experience. With more knowledge and insights comes greater work satisfaction. And a wider circle of connections could bring with it exciting new legal jobs in the future.