Q&A: LMA Regional President on making the most of the #LMA18 Annual Conference
March 29, 2018 • 4 minute read
This is the first of two Q&A columns Infinite Global is publishing in the lead-up to the Legal Marketing Association’s 2018 Annual Conference, to be held April 9-11 in New Orleans.
We connected with Jennifer Mir, President of the Legal Marketing Association’s West Region board of directors and Practice Development Director at Munger, Tolles & Olson, for her thoughts on this year’s program, the Big Easy and how to best put to use what you learn at the conference.
How can attendees make the most of their LMA national conference experience?
There are many ways attendees can benefit from attending the conference — from gaining skills for being more effective in their jobs on a daily basis, to growing their professional networks, to learning about burgeoning aspects of our industry, to spending time on the trade show floor test-driving new tools and products.
I typically use the conference as a vehicle to support and energize my department’s initiatives. When I meet someone, I ask if they have experience with, for example, running a business development coaching program. If they do, I ask for a follow-up call to explore further. I select sessions to gain more insights and tools for implementing my initiatives. I visit service providers to check out their offerings to see if they might be a fit for my objectives. Viewing the conference through the lens of strategic initiatives and critical objectives helps me to focus and remain clear on what I need to get out of the conference.
What do you anticipate will be the most prevalent themes at this year’s conference?
The great — albeit sometimes challenging — thing about our profession is it’s changing rapidly. This means our education needs are constantly evolving. I’m really excited about the “2018 Next Big Thing: Law Firm Strategy Reboot.” There will be a number of sessions unpacking these issues and I’m excited to dive into this topic, with our cohort playing a bigger role in our firms’ strategic directions.
We are also, as a community, digging deeper on business development best practices and identifying ways to move the needle — not just for our rainmakers but for our entire attorney population. Marketing technology continues to play a formidable role with new levels of sophistication and precision that we haven’t previously seen in our space.
The LMA conference has something for everyone.
Which conference event are you most excited about attending?
I get tremendous value from the educational programming but consistently find that connecting with colleagues and meeting new people is the most rewarding part of the conference. LMA does a great job of creating opportunities for the Shared Interest Groups (SIGs) to gather in person — I always love attending the CMO SIG reception to see my colleagues from many other firms across the country. We have a very active online chat board so it’s fun to visit in-person with peers I email with year-round.
The new regional structure has created a way for us to get to know our colleagues from a wider area than just our local markets. So, I’m most of all looking forward to seeing attendees from the West Region when we gather at the networking lunch on Tuesday.
How can attendees best put to use what they learn at the conference?
On the plane ride home from the conference — if you aren’t too tired — write a summary of your key takeaways and learnings from the experience. Also, write a list of contacts you made and how you will follow up with them. This is the same advice we give to our lawyers all the time so it’s good for us to practice what we preach — and realize the fruits of that labor!
Within a week of getting back to the office, I circulate a memo of key themes and lessons learned to my department, the management team and a handful of partners. I send those as separate emails to each group and call out what I think is of greatest interest to each. This helps me to crystallize my takeaways and demonstrates appreciation to the firm for supporting my professional development.
What do you most look forward to about visiting New Orleans?
The unique culture that special city affords everyone who visits — the jazz, the incredible Creole food, those beignets (and walking them off around an historic city). Most of all, I’m looking forward to being re-energized and inspired by our phenomenal community of legal marketers.
In our next Q&A, Katherine McCoy Rivera, New Orleans–based Communications & Public Relations Manager at McGlinchey Stafford, will offer on-the-ground tips for how LMA attendees can make the most of their trip to New Orleans.