If you have already signed up for InsideCounsel's SuperConference (May 25-26 in Chicago), then you "get it." Thank you for reading my column, and please visit this space again next month. Now, for everyone else:
You have not signed up for one of three reasons. 1. Simple inertia. 2. You enjoy conferences, but you are busy and/or your company won't reimburse the expense. 3. You know you should go, but you would rather chew glass than network.
If you fall into the first category, I offer the following quote as great career advice: "Action may not always bring happiness, but there is no happiness without action." (Benjamin Disraeli, former British Prime Minister)
However, I think my chances of persuading you to attend are better if you fit into category two or three. You are the readers who are already motivated to advance your careers, whether or not the activity involved in doing so is fun for you.
Why come? Even if you skip networking opportunities entirely, this conference merits your time and money in exchange for real best practices discussion. (Read InsideCounsel's wrap up of last year's conference topics.) If you go back to your legal department with one usable tool that will improve your personal performance, then you will have made a worthwhile investment in your career. If you can champion one single idea that leads to cost savings and/or better outcomes for your department as a whole, then you are laying the foundation for a promotion. For details on topics and CLE, click here.
Add networking to the mix and the decision to attend is a no brainer. There are only a couple of truly national conferences for inside counsel each year, so take advantage of this opportunity to meet colleagues from multiple industries. Start the kind of relationships that lead to unforeseen career opportunities in the future. If you happen to be seeking a new position now, visit my series of columns from April, May and June last year on maximizing conference attendance within the context of a job search.
I do understand that some companies will decline to pay for conference attendance, and that you may not even want to spend the political capital to ask. You're a successful professional. Think bigger picture and ante up. I spoke with my accountant who assures me that the entire trip is deductible as an educational expense. Attendance in 2009 was excellent and exceeded 2008. I expect another positive jump this year. Join us.