We’re lucky enough to be in the Miami area twice this winter for two important legal conferences: once for the Trial Lawyers Summit and again for the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Winter Convention. But we’re going south for more than just fun in the sun.
In an earlier post, we suggested ways that lawyers can maximize their time at the Trial Lawyers Summit. Those tips also apply for those attending the AAJ Winter Convention, but to get you started on building the perfect agenda, we’re going to highlight a few of our favorite events that are off the beaten path from the usual continuing legal education (CLE) offerings.
1. Work on becoming more mindful
The AAJ offers a year’s worth of CLE credit in just four days. With so many sessions, your brain might start to feel as if it’s on overload.
One session to keep in “mind” to combat that overload is less about the practice of law and more about living mindfully. The first session on Tuesday morning addresses ways to improve your life and legal practice through mindfulness and intentional living. The legal industry is increasingly focused on this trend, given the stress of legal practice and the its effects on productivity, health, and overall wellbeing.
2. Take advantage of ready-made networking opportunities
Many of us view networking as artificial or contrived. The key to successful networking is to participate in activities where you can feel comfortable talking with new people. Fortunately, there’s no place like a legal conference to make connections with other lawyers!
The AAJ builds in a number of opportunities to chat with your fellow attorneys. If you’re new to the AAJ or the Winter Convention, we recommend trying the mixer for first-time attendees and new members. You already have something in common — your newness — so why not plunge into the conference circuit together?
For the introverts in the crowd, review the list of AAJ presenters and see whether there is anyone you’d like to meet. Look those people up on LinkedIn and send an introductory message, saying that you’ll be attending their session and are looking forward to their remarks and to chatting with them. Attendees often fear that no one will be interested in or attend their session; this introduction will help allay their fears while giving you an easy way to approach them at the meeting.
3. Give back to the community
More and more, conferences are recognizing their potential to provide service to the communities where their events are held. This year, the AAJ is supporting His House Children’s Home, a nonprofit that provides residential care for at-risk children who have been removed from their homes due to abuse, abandonment, or neglect.
In addition to helping others, this service mission will provide a terrific informal opportunity to network with other AAJ members. To learn more about volunteering, visit the AAJ’s community service page.
We’re looking forward to seeing you in Miami Beach!