All my life, the quickest way to awaken my inner skeptic has been to tell me how absolutely wonderful something is. I’m quick to poke holes and speculate on who’s paying you for the endorsement. (And I work for lawyers. Hmmm.)
Enter LMA 2012 in Grapevine Texas – the Gaylord Texan to be precise, but never mind the [oh so] underwhelming venue. Over 1000 legal marketers gathered outside of Dallas for 2-3 days last week to deepen their knowledge of industry trends and techniques and trade ideas with other professionals.
A bit of an introvert, I am never the first one to sign up for a 1000 person conference, but, for the 4th year in a row, there I was. And as per usual, I enjoyed the heck out of it.
High points included:
- The crazy jam-packed Branding Session moderated by (full disclosure: my co-author) Adrian Dayton exploring the branding of individual attorneys versus the branding of the firm. These things are often ‘standing room only” but not this one. The seats filled up, then the aisles with people sitting on the floor, then every bit of wall space with standing spectators. Finally the concerned LMA staffers stopped people from peeking in. Atypically for these events, no one left, so the temperature in the room escalated while the presenters – Robert Aligeri from Great Jakes, Joe Calve from MoFo, Aden Dauchess from Womble Carlysle and Peter Winzig of Weltman, Weinberg & Reis – entertained the audience. There was so much educational content distributed in that session and a palpable sense of excitement from presenters and audience.
- I heard that the Wednesday CMO-only sessions were GREAT, but I obeyed the rules and stayed in the hallway. There were good reports on the SMORS session on how to earn a seat at the table put on by DC marketers Marguerite Downey and Tammy Mangan. I say that our CMOs have more than earned a seat at the table; it’s time the lawyers invited them to sit down already. More on this by Adrian Dayton in his weekly NLJ column.
- Is it valid to say that this was an opportunity for a rare, extended chat? Because it was so excellent to have the time to really talk with industry thought leaders like Adrian Lurssen at JD Supra, Kevin O’Keefe of LexBlog and Elonide Semmes of Right Hat.
- DC scores! Our own Felice Wagner (Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan) was inducted into the LMA Hall of Fame, and Sutherland won Best of Show in the Your Honor Awards. Go Sutherland! (full disclosure – a client)
- I met some absolutely awesome younger marketers who were clearly tomorrow’s innovators and CMOs. In my job, I just don’t get the opportunity to interact with younger legal marketers enough, and my impression of them is that they are incredibly savvy in both business development and social media. Several of these young women could step into my company right this minute and be an incredible business development coaches and social media strategists. Do their firms know what they’ve got? I hope so…
Did you attend LMA National this year? If so, what was your experience? If not – why not? Are you coming next year to Vegas? I’m betting on record attendance!