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My first MSBA Annual Meeting

I am attending the 2011 MSBA Annual Meeting in Ocean City. This is my first Annual Meeting, and the first bar conference to which I have brought my husband and kids. This is also the kids’ first extended vacation and their first real trip to the beach. And this is my first “live” blog from the Annual Meeting (although I have been tweeting live from the CLEs that I have attended since this morning via @HeatherPruger on Twitter).

I take my hat off to the organizers of the MSBA Annual Meeting for making this a family-friendly event and one that can so easily be made part of a family vacation. The kids loved the vendors, from which they have received sunglasses, piggybanks, bags, coloring supplies, bags and lollipops, to name a few. They did quite well at The Daily Record/Young Lawyers Section End of Bar Year Celebration, where they feasted on chips and apparently developed a liking for calamari. And, they did surprisingly well last night’s crab feast — what’s not to like about a place where you are given a hammer to bang on things to your heart’s content, and the evening is topped off by complementary apple slices and gummy sea creatures? We are looking forward to visiting some of the other kid-friendly events later in the week.

Having promised my husband and colleagues that this would remain a genuine vacation, I am attending only a very few events by myself (e.g., CLEs and adults-only networking events). It took some time to narrow down which events to attend, as there are many fascinating topics and the CLEs are being presented by attorneys who truly are the leaders in those fields.

I ultimately settled on some networking events, the Young Lawyers Section Council meeting and dinner, and two CLEs: Social Media in Litigation, presented by the MSBA Litigation Section and Technology Subcommittee, which included both social media in litigation and the use of technology in trial (and for other speaking engagements), and Social Media in the Workplace, presented by the Labor and Employment Law Section. These two CLEs cover topics that I find personally fascinating (both having a background in technology-related work and being married to a technologically-inclined husband), relevant to my practice (labor and employment law, with a significant share of time devoted to litigation), and related to my other bar activities (I recently became a member of the ABA Labor & Employment Law Section Technology Committee and recently attended the Committee’s mid-winter meeting on social media and other technological and legal advances).

I have already attended the first of these CLEs, but will hold off on reporting substantively until I have also attended the second. I think a comparison of the two CLEs will be fascinating, as they will likely address the same content, but from two very different perspectives.

At this point, I have to say that, like practicing law, the MSBA Annual Meeting really does provide something for everyone. The keys to getting the most out of the Meeting are knowing yourself, knowing what you want out of the meeting, and being comfortable with customizing your approach to fit you. For me, this year, it’s mostly about hanging out with my kids and husband, with some business, networking, and learning on the side. And the great thing is that the MSBA fully supports that.