2020 brought with it a global pandemic that resulted in most in-person events being canceled throughout the year. However, as often happens, where there is a will there is a way. In many cases, events were re-schedule to be online virtual events, or done in a hybrid manner. Businesses have grown to use Zoom and other online tools to facilitate meetings and events in order to continue relationships with other businesses and clients. Learn more about how virtual, hybrid, and in-person law conferences in 2021 may look and what you can expect.
What To Expect in 2021
Spoiler alert: the in-person legal events will probably not start until late into 2021. While there may be some outliers, those in-person will also be limited in nature and in geographic areas that may have less of a COVID-19 infection rate. Some areas in Asia or Europe may occur, but optimistically those may not start until September 2021. In-person events are sorely missed by everyone throughout the world, and we can only remain hopeful that the Coronavirus will reduce its impact on the world and allow physical meetups and gatherings to occur soon.
Hybrid and Virtual Law Conferences in 2021
Hybrid events became popular in 2021 as a way to juxtapose the dangers of in-person meetups with the need to connect with peers and clients. It is likely that 2021 will continue to see these types of hybrid events for those persons who are unwilling or unable to make it to the in-person legal event. Hybrid events do have their own challenges regarding pricing and the overall availability of resources or tools for attendees. However, most importantly, it is important for a hybrid event organizer to communicate effectively and thoroughly what will and will not be included for those attendees that decide to only sign on for the virtual or online portion of the event. In many cases, without the in-person portion of the event, much value is lost to the attendee as the connections made in person are much more substantial than those connections made online. Some of the hybrid law conerferences in 2021 include the following:
The International Trademark Association is known for its incredible in-person events. However, this year they may host a hybrid event that may prove worthwhile to those attending. Again, it is important to consider whether or not the event will prove to have value for networking purposes if you are one that likes to network and visit with others in person versus in front of a computer monitor. In many cases, attending a conference like INTAs event may be more like a webinar than an in-person networking event.
MARQUES is a European Trademark Conference that has also now indicated that they are going to do their Spring conference completely virtually.
ITECHLAW has also announced that it will be holding all of its upcoming conferences virtually as well. However, it appears that the fall conference may be done virtually or in a hybrid way.
Legal Marketing Association
Many law firm marketers attend the Legal Marketing Association conference that offers a great deal of value. Last year, in 2020, the Legal Marketing Association held their conference virtually and it appears that it may not have done so well as they have indicated that they want to do an in-person meeting instead in 2021, and are hoping to have that later in the year. Further details are forthcoming.
Recommendations For Law Conferences in 2021
If 2020 taught us anything, it is that you need to be flexible regarding your planning for your business. Instead of planning for the entire year, only consider the first half of the year or even just the next quarter regarding your attendance for virtual events. Virtual events will dominate the first half of 2021 (and perhaps even the second half of 2021), and while in-person events do help with networking, virtual events do allow you to meet people from around the world and people who would have never had the opportunity to go to an in-person event. Make sure to attend the virtual events that offer you a benefit in education or assistance in the direction your law firm is taking. Additionally, if there are certain events that you have a history of attending, or plan to attend in-person in the future, make the effort to attend those first over other virtual legal events.
How To Prioritize Your Time When Attending Virtual or Hybrid Events
While the events you are attending may be online, it is important to consider the following steps even if you will not be going to a legal event in person:
- Make sure you schedule time on your calendar prior to the virtual event to make an effort to connect with other people or speakers. Network with people prior to the event through the platform that the virtual event provides. While it is never as robust or rich as meeting people in person, taking the time to network and connect with people online for these events can prove to be valuable as well.
- Make sure to include the events and speakers for the event onto your calendar so that you remember to attend them when the event occurs.
- Take the time to follow up after a virtual event with the people you created connections with and networked with to ensure that you get the most value out of the event.
Benefits of Virtual Events
If you are interested in participating in a virtual event, you can consider hosting, speaking, or involving yourself in some way with the event in order to gain more visibility and showcase your expertise. Perhaps you can take part in a podcast that exists as part of a virtual event, or attempt to join in on a panel or other coveted opportunities that would not be available during in-person events.
Contact Firm Forward
Firm Forward has created an event planner and tracks all of these events for law firms with a detailed database that we publish for those who are interested. If you are curious about what virtual events are available for you in 2021, contact Firm Forward at firstname.lastname@example.org to request your free copy. We take pride in updating our event planner and tracker regularly, and this unique database can help you and your law firm plan for 2021 and beyond.