Some of the most fun learning experiences as a legal assistant happen at conferences.
A legal assistant or paralegal conference may be just what you need to revitalize your enthusiasm for your career.
Whether at the national or state level, conventions are a great opportunity to train and learn. Not only that, but they are wonderful opportunity for networking and having fun!
Find out what conferences are available, what to take with you, how to make the most out of the experience and what to do when you get back to work.
What Conferences are Available for Legal Assistants?
There are national and state legal assistant and paralegal conferences available.
National conferences and their 2014 dates are listed below.
|NALA 39th Annual Convention||Charleston, SC||July 23-25, 2014|
|NALS 63rd Annual Education Conference||Houston, TX||October 2-4, 2014|
|NFPA 40th Annual Convention||Dallas, TX||October 9-12, 2014|
|IPMA Annual Conference and Expo||Atlanta, GA||October 15-17, 2014|
|AAfPE 33rd Annual Conference||Las Vegas, NV||November 5-8, 2014|
What to Pack for a Paralegal Conference
Generally, conventions tend to be a more casual atmosphere than the office place. You still want to take pride in your appearance, but business casual shirts and even jeans are probably appropriate clothes to wear.
You might be lucky enough to be staying a hotel with a pool or hot tub, so pack your swimsuit if you want to take advantage of an early morning or evening swim. Even if swimming isn’t your thing, you might want a set of gym clothes and sneakers. Pack sunscreen and sunglasses for sunny summer locations as well. A camera can come in handy if you plan to do any site seeing.
Don’t forget to pack a jacket! Even in the heat of summer, air conditioned conference rooms can get pretty chilly. A bottle of water is nice to have with you to sip on.
How to Get the Most Out of a Legal Assistant Conference
The best way to retain the most information you are learning is to take notes. Whether you use an iPad, laptop, or classic pen and paper doesn’t matter. The act of jotting down what you hear increases both your comprehension and retention of the material.
At the end of each lecture, try to pick one especially important thing to remember. You will probably hear several different speakers on various topics throughout the conference. Writing down a synopsis of the talk at the bottom of your notes can make recalling the whole lesson easier down the line.
Step out of your comfort zone and meet new people. Even if you come to the convention with a group from work, you can use this opportunity to expand your circle. Sit next to new people both in the conference room and at meal times, and introduce yourself.
Exchange business cards with the new colleagues you meet. (Remember to bring some cards to trade!) Conferences are a great time for networking, so be sure and take advantage of the opportunity.
If you are a Certified Legal Assistant or Certified Paralegal, conferences provide you with needed continuing legal education credits. Check with your certifying or accrediting institution for details on the number of CLE credits needed, and how to submit verification.
What to Do at Work When You Get Back
- Turn in your receipts and forms for reimbursement of your food and travel expenses.
- Organize your materials- You may return with books, papers, and other materials to sort through and find a home for. Transcribe your notes.
- Make a list of changes you would like to implement based on what you learned.
- Network- send out quick emails to your new friends and colleagues so you are sure to maintain contact in the future.
- Presentation or memo- Your boss may want you to send out a memo or give a presentation to your coworkers sharing what you’ve learned (these activities look great on your resume).