I recently had the opportunity to attend the National LGBT Bar Association’s Lavender Law Conference in New York. Lavender Law brings together lawyers from all over the country with programs and workshops focusing on practical, substantive law issues, along with LGBT-centric issues. There were several CLEs focused in trusts and estates and elder law, so I learned so much and met so many amazing people. My firm generously supported my attendance and I wanted to write about my experience overall.
Lavender Law, like many national conferences, can be a bit overwhelming. There are networking events, happy hours, CLE events, plenary speakers, exercise classes and almost too much to do. Plus, most of us still need to check in with our offices, keeping up with email and any client issues that may come along over the conference dates. Lavender Law was from Wednesday through Friday, which made it difficult to fully check out of work mode and try to immerse into the conference completely.
One of the biggest strategies I used was to prepare. I plotted out my conference schedule ahead of time and placed these events on my work calendar. I made room for breaks to check-in with work and also took some projects with me that I could handle. This helped keep me on track with what I wanted to get from the conference while also handling my work responsibilities.
Attending a national conference is also a great opportunity to make some connections in other jurisdictions. I had attended Lavender Law back in 2016, when I was a law student. So I reached out to all of the people I had followed-up with back in 2016 and I made plans to connect, grab a drink, attend their speaking engagement and so on. This was largely successful, as many of them were attending this year and wanted to get together again. I also met some great trusts and estates lawyers from other states, which is a great tool for me and my clients.
I think the biggest tip I would give is to not overwhelm yourself. There is no way you can attend every panel or event at a national conference that you want to. Further, don’t feel guilty that your employer would expect you to. After all, networking is about quality over quantity. I made some great high-quality connections and also further deepened the relationships I began in 2016. I hope to continue to do so next year when I attend!
Richard Adams is an associate with Rosenberg Martin Greenberg LLP in Baltimore.