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Ask The MAM — Law Marketing Conferences

Dear MAM: The partners at my firm allow me to attend one major marketing conference per year. Which one should I choose? Sincerely, J.C., Washington, DC

Dear J: If you are like most law firm marketers, you will choose the best location and lie about attending the sessions. Hmmm…Florida, Arizona, California, London? If you really care about learning something, you will probably forego the vacation and look for a good educational experience. You are unlikely to learn anything great at the LMA Conferences. I attend, but only to schmooze. It is the same re-packaged elementary techniques year after year. They try, but LMA is losing steam and ground-both in local chapters and nationally. The new PM Forum North America has lots of programs and offers an alternative to LMA. I used to recommend the Marketing Partner Forum, back in the day when Julie Savarino ran one of the nation’s premier events. However, it slipped when it became a Glasser Legal Works event and Glasser is now owned by Findlaw, so it has slipped even further (product pitches!). There have been some decent events put on by North Star Conferences and by Mealeys of late. I saw an excellent program coming up in Australia, but that might be pushing your budget. Of course, I always push my non-profit programs on behalf of the ABA Law Practice Management. At the ABA Annual Meeting in Atlanta, I’m doing a marketing ethics program. Our section is also doing an outstanding PR Crisis Management program. These are designed for CLE and all the time and money is donated. Many of the best overall events are not geared toward law firms, but general marketing programs put on by the likes of the American Marketing Association. As a matter of fact, the best programs I’ve attended this year were webinars that cost absolutely nothing! So, here is my advice. Attend a few free webinars and look for some cost-effective programs in your backyard (lots of good ones in DC) to learn. Stay away from those designed to sucker law firms and learn from real marketers. Then take the boondoggle “marketing conference” of your choice in a nice location and relax. After all, those partners are tough. You’ve earned the break. Sincerely yours, THE MARKETING ATTORNEY