Fall is conference season for the legal industry, and this year it has been no exception. Conferences that have always had their events on the exact dates and places were back. Some new conferences emerged, like the Trial Lawyer University, which took place at the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas at the end of October. Other well-established ones like Great Legal Marketing’s Heros and Icons were back as an in-person event.
In this week’s conversation, Grace and Liel share their experiences attending two different legal conferences that took place at the same time, one in Las Vegas and one in Arlington, VA. From what they expected to what surprised them and everything in between.
The conversation ends with a preview of the next big and much-anticipated conference Criss Game Changers Summit 3.
Whether you attended any of these conferences, or are curious to know what went on at these events, this conversation is for you.
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Liel: [00:00:00] Fall, it’s conference season for the legal industry. And this year it had a strong comeback. I’m Liel Levy, co-founder of Nanato Media and author of Beyond Se Habla Español How Lawyers Win the Hispanic Market and This Is In-camera podcast where we have been living out of our suitcase for the past two months. Welcome to in-camera podcast. Private Legal Marketing Conversation, Grace, how are you? Welcome back.
Grace: [00:00:54] Good. How are you?
Liel: [00:00:56] Great, Grace. Thank you so much for asking. So we both wear at conferences last week. Right? You were in Vegas at Trial Lawyer University. Correct. That’s the name. Yep. And I was a great legal marketing in Arlington, Virginia. And so we should have a conversation about. What we experienced last week. How did this compare these conferences end up turning out and Grace, I am dying to hear about Trial Lawyer University because that was the first for you.
Grace: [00:01:33] It was. It was very different in the sense that it was the first time they’d ever done this particular show. So it was Dan Ambrose who put this together. And so he is from my understanding, he’s a lawyer and a vendor. I usually see him at mass torts made perfect and pretty much all the shows that we always go to. He’s been there as a vendor and or attorney. And for the most part, he I guess he saw some things lacking right for lack of a better word in all the different shows that were being put together. And so he actually got together with a couple of other people to mainly him, but he got with a couple of other people to see about creating an event. And he really did this very quickly, which usually most of us know it takes about at least a year to really premarket and get something of this scale put together because there were about close to 700 people. Yeah. Which, you know,
Liel: [00:02:40] That was 700 people, that’s that was the head count of people attended.
Grace: [00:02:44] That’s correct. So OK, between 700 and 800, there were actually a lot of walk ons,
Liel: [00:02:49] But that’s not huge. I thought I thought it was going to be the size of mass torts made perfect.
Grace: [00:02:54] No, it was a half the size. As a matter of fact, almost exactly half of what mass torts made perfect was, and the room reflected that. And a good way, actually, because the way that the event was set up was very different compared to what we’re used to, where the vendors are kind of in corners. And, you know, the flow doesn’t necessarily always go through the exhibit hall. So it was a big deal. Honestly, the the way he set everything up was very nice. So I’ll kind of set the scene when you walk into the ballroom area. It was at the Mandalay Bay in the Seven Seas Ballroom, which is like the north part of their convention center. And he while he took up the whole floor he only had and I say only because of the way it was set up, it was still a lot. But he had the whole kind of back half of that top floor taken up by the exhibit hall and then surrounding the entire exhibit hall. There were vendors and so you had to flow through the exhibit hall to go from the session to even go outside of the exhibit hall. So everything was flowing directly into the exhibit. Hall breaks were all in the exhibit. Hall lunches were, you know, actually they didn’t have lunch. That was the only thing that was a little interesting because it was difficult to walk far away. But that was probably the only negative I’d say of the entire show was that they didn’t have lunch there. But that’s OK. They they every networking session, everything they did was all flowing into the exhibit hall. And honestly, I asked him, I said, Hey, how come you set it up that way? I just wanted to know what his specific response would be, and he had the best answer.
Grace: [00:04:39] I’ve been a vendor and I’ve been an attorney. I’ve seen both sides, he goes. I wanted to make sure that all of you got the most value out of the setup, and so I made sure everything flowed into the exhibit hall. And he certainly did. He really did. He had games everywhere. So the opening reception, the first night, there were really no lines to even get cocktails that he had set up there. There were so many games that nobody was waiting really for anyone else to play a game. And when I talk about games, I’m talking about little when I say little. They were actually full blown arcade size, really? Yes, full blown arcade sized games of basketball. I played some. You might see someone Instagram, foosball, ping pong and real arcade games like Pacman Pong. I mean, they had all cornhole games were there. I mean, they really went all out on the games and everybody was playing. Everybody was being able to kind of comment on other people. We were playing with each other. Oh, there was even Kinect for like massive Kinect for on tables across the board. So it was very, very cool. The whole setup was was, I got to say, probably the nicest I’ve been to in terms of as a vendor because it just it made it easy on us to be able to do what we wanted to do and the the receptions every night. He had karaoke, he had, you know, costume parties and he had bands every night. He had something going on, including the night that it ended.
Liel: [00:06:20] Where where were the where was this taking?
Grace: [00:06:22] We’re in the exhibit hall, really. In the exhibit hall, there was enough room and not so many vendors that the entire middle part of the exhibit hall was open, so people felt comfortable wanting to walk in and around. The ping pong tables were in the middle of the exhibit hall. The football tables were in the middle of the exhibit hall as well.
Liel: [00:06:45] That’s great, so, so long days for all of you guys, obviously, you know that that meant that you had to be there present even after the end of the conference.
Grace: [00:06:56] Yeah, it was a long day. It did turn out to be kind of like the empty happy hours, right where it starts at seven, thirty, not seven, but seven thirty. They have breakfast from 7:30 to 8:30 and, you know, some bagels, fruit and some basic stuff like that muffins every morning. But they had coffee throughout the day, which everyone that knows me. I’m a coffee drinker. So that was it. Yes, very much. Even until right before the reception, when the alcohol came out, they still had coffee up until that point. So you know me, I’m drinking all of the coffee that they had and it was good coffee.
Liel: [00:07:31] But that’s great. That’s great Grace. So now tell me a little bit about the attendees. So what kind of attorneys I’m assuming were attending this conference?
Grace: [00:07:44] So there were a lot of attorneys and they really listened in on the sessions and they were trial lawyers. And the the sessions that were set up by Dan were, I mean, very, very well-known attorneys in their field and what they do and as trial lawyers. And they had tons of them. So you could attend, you know, how to be a better trial lawyer. You could tend how, how to, you know, win over an audience, a jury you could attend, how to pick the right jury. They had all kinds of trial lawyers skills that seminars that they had during the entire show and they were full of value. I mean, pretty much every single person I talked to said, I’m going to go into that next session or I’m going to be here. Or, you know, if even if they had the doors closed, they were sitting every room even had a little TV, a decent sized TV, but a TV on the outside of the room so they could live stream it. And if you were late, you wouldn’t interrupt anybody and walk into the room. So there was actually a decent crowd kind of sitting outside in the exhibit hall watching the the seminar. Yeah, that’s going on. Yeah, so it was and they were taking notes. You know, every one of them I saw had notepads writing stuff down and they would come out jazzed up about the sessions and very, very happy about them. Ed was there, you know, Ed Lake Hour or Oh, really? And founder he was. He made it. He came there, actually. He ended up coming the first day, the first day there were sessions. So he attended all the different sessions and kind of went in and saw what there were about. And he even said that they looked very, very good and he was taking some notes and some information down as well, even though we’re not heavy into the trial side of things. It was a great, great show. It seemed like for the attorneys and the vendors.
Liel: [00:09:36] That’s great. Grace. That’s really, really good. Now how about for persist where there? Was it relevant, were there are people interested in the product in the service?
Grace: [00:09:47] As interesting as it sounds, it wasn’t. It was good for persist in the sense that it gave them exposure to persist as trial lawyers because it seems like they mostly do the trials. Mm hmm. So for them, they may or may not, depending on what their role is in their firm, if they were the primary partner or the family partner. And and they did trials and they did other things than persist made sense to them. But a lot of them kind of referred me to the intake supervisor or even the partner of the firm because they wouldn’t necessarily be making that decision.
Liel: [00:10:21] Yeah. They’re not in in the case acquisition operations, correct.
Grace: [00:10:25] So but they were still very interested in the way that the follow up works and they did take down our information and we were offering to any tlu attendee free six months if they signed a one year contract. So we were giving pretty hefty volumes. Yeah, and we were also offering a $50 Amazon or Apple gift card if you booked and attended a demo. So that’s out there. And there’s actually a couple of people that had already booked a demo for next week.
Liel: [00:11:01] Oh, that’s great. Grace. Very, very, very good deal. Needless to say, that’s very generous. Yeah. You offer your four lawyers a solution on how to get more out of their marketing dollars invested. And then on top of that, you give them a gift card at the end of it.
Grace: [00:11:18] Yes, we want them to attend and we want them to attend because they want to attend and that they’re going to get something free at the end, right? We took up your time. Here’s at least 50 bucks.
Liel: [00:11:27] Yeah. Well, I mean, 50 got 50 bucks on a gift card is just kind of like the cherry on top of the cake because at the end of the day, you know, the real value is in being able to streamline operations and stop losing leads, right? Because that’s what it’s all about being efficient. Right. So Grace, let me let me tell you a little bit, if I may, about what I was up to last week. So I went back to D.C. and then crossed the river to Arlington, Virginia, to attend the Heroes and Icons Summit from Great Legal Marketing, right? And so great legal marketing for those who do not know, although we have mentioned it here in the past, in this podcast is kind of like a mastermind summit that it’s headed by Ben Glass, who is a personal injury lawyer and I believe disability lawyer as well, from Virginia, from northern Virginia. And so Grace, I don’t know if you’ve ever met him, but he’s such an inspirational person and he’s so nice and he’s so smart and he’s very, very entrepreneurial. And so he created this mastermind, which has become very popular. There is two different levels in this mastermind. There’s the heroes, and then there’s the icon members, right? You can be either one, depending, I guess, on the size of your law firm where you are in your trajectory, in growing your firm. And so they got her up, I think, several times a year. But this is the main event that they do that is followed by conference, right? So the first few days of the week, they were attending their meetings more so kind of like the mastermind meetings.
Liel: [00:13:23] And then the last two days, which is Friday and Saturday, they were dedicated and opened to also non mastermind members to attend this conference, right, which is all about business growth. It’s all about best practices for law firms with a focus on marketing. But yes, also in the business of law and Grace. It was it was great. Let me tell you what stood out to me, what stood out to me that it was a very well attended event. I think I would dare to say maybe between two hundred and fifty ish people were there, which is about what they were expecting to have. I remember when they when we had the conversations about being part and sponsors of the event, that’s that’s what they projected and that’s what they had. But it was 100 percent appropriate for the venue because it was it felt vibrant. It feel well attended. And the best part of it all is that everybody that was there seemed to be extremely happy to be there. And you know, I guess one of the reasons for that is also because they they know each other. A lot of the members of these masterminds, they’ve been part of this group for four years. And I believe this is the first time that many of them saw each other after, you know, basically. And so it had that great feeling of being being a recovering after after it all.
Liel: [00:14:53] So that was great. Now I spent some time going to some because, you know, I it’s great to be an exhibit or but what I really love is really going inside the presentations and hear what is being talked about. And one thing that it became very clear to me, Grace, is that what I enjoy the most out of all of these conferences that we go with the panels or the conferences or the presentations that I enjoy the most are those that are led by attorneys. My favorite, I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that they’re actually sharing things about their experience and their journey. And because most of them, they also do not have anything to sell, they do not have any interest in between. They’re not offering services as a result of the presentation that they are giving. Ends up being very genuine and very, very valuable, and and it’s great, I think, you know, I saw some really, really, really great stuff. I think that, you know, as a business owner, from a business owner standpoint, I find it useful. Overall, it was a very well-balanced conference with really interesting conversations. One thing great is that that I, you know, one of the keynote speakers when I saw it first in the program, it really didn’t mean much to me. But when I actually attended their talk, I was really blown away. So let me ask you something. Have you ever heard about sled dog race called the Iditarod?
Grace: [00:16:37] Yes, I have Iditarod.
Liel: [00:16:38] Yeah. What do you know about the Iditarod Grace?
Grace: [00:16:41] Well, it’s a pretty crazy race. From my understanding out in the middle of nowhere, in the cold. Yeah, that’s my understanding of it. Yeah, you
Liel: [00:16:51] Got it so far. You got it perfect. But let me give you some more factual data. There. It’s the nine hundred mile race that I believe take several days to complete, if I’m not mistaken, somewhere around 10 like crazy amount of days. Yes. And it’s in Alaska during the winter time. And yes, it’s in the snow and you know, the keynote speaker name is Dallas Seavey, and he’s a five time winner of the Iditarod in Grace. You know? First of all, here’s the here’s the first part of it all. He did not went up on stage trying to make his experience as a sled dog racer be about, you know, a corporate lesson about leadership and such. But it ended up being because it’s just the amount of skill for team building needed in order to actually compete and win those races is remarkable. And it’s really, really inspirational to hear, you know how he went. So just, you know, kind of like a big background story on him. He went from from nothing, from not having a team, from not really having any in any real major experience running. I mean, he came from a family that was involved in it, but he only experienced that from the sidelines, if you may, right? And so when he set himself the goal to become the youngest racer to ever win the Iditarod A, he actually did.
Liel: [00:18:44] And he did it in an unusual way that went kind of like against what was established to be the best practices or the best strategy. And he figured it out his own way, right? In the way that he did that is by actually understanding very well what are the strengths and weaknesses of the team that he had to lead, which in this case are the are the dogs, right? And and it’s remarkable. It was so interesting and so much fun. And I mean, he has a great personality. He made it extremely engaging. And so as I said, you know, it was one of those keynotes that you come in without necessarily expecting a lot and then you just leave with your mind completely blown because it’s not just inspirational, but a real lesson in leadership. So that’s kind of like a highlight for me from what I saw in terms from the for the conference, from the conference presentations. And there were some other interesting things. Grace. I don’t know if you know, nifty marketing. Do you know them Grace?
Grace: [00:19:54] No, I’ve not had the pleasure.
Liel: [00:19:56] Never heard of them. Ok, so they’re a marketing agency there, I I believe, based in Utah. But, you know, don’t quote me on that anyhow. They also specialize in legal marketing, and they gave a very interesting conversation as well on digital marketing for law firms full of updates. And that was always interesting. You know, as always, it’s interesting to see faster web marketing where also they’re also providing insights and updates on SEO. And very interesting that, you know, the CEO of Foster Web Marketing, Tom Foster, was there, and he was also telling a little bit about his story and how he became to build his agency. So that’s very interesting. And as I said, particularly for me, who is in that journey, you know, it’s always it’s always interesting and inspirational to hear other people’s stories, how they were able to build from nothing. A team of 50, 60, 70 people who are now his his team, part of his team now. Other than that Grace, you know, it was a small conference, as I said, just two days it was Friday and Saturday, but it was intense. There was a lot of valuable presentations. We got an opportunity to well, I got an opportunity to do my presentation on the Latinx market, and that was lots of fun.
Liel: [00:21:16] But I was also able to attend other breakout sessions. One that is worth highlighting here is Andy Stickle, who was there. And I believe Grace. We’ve talked about him before. He kind of like, has these insights and approach into generating reviews and generating awareness through social media and such. And so it was really remarkable how well-attended both of these presentations, where people were very, very interested and he was actually handing out some good advice there. So all in great, great conference, short and sweet, but really, really, really fun. And I really enjoyed being back at this conference that it was the second or second time as well. Second time in-person attendee attending. We were also there last year from a virtual mode. Remember those grades, the virtual conference I do with with the virtual booth and the on standby Zoom calls. So aren’t you? Aren’t you ecstatic that we’re no longer doing those very, very happy? I am. I am the same. I am the same. So Grace before we wrap up, right? We’re not done with the conferences yet. We have one more to go in that actually is going to start. It’s going to start in two days Friday, and that’s the crisp game changer. Summit number three.
Grace: [00:22:44] It sure is. And I just found out I will not be going now.
Liel: [00:22:49] Why is that?
Grace: [00:22:50] So we have a new attorney that started last week and we want to. Give him the opportunity to experience Crisp along with our content, and actually she’s now also our director of marketing, Lindsay.
Liel: [00:23:04] Oh, that’s wonderful. Congrats to her.
Grace: [00:23:06] Yes, we’ve made some, you know, as you know, we’ve continuously increased our our staff and, you know, and the things that we’re doing. And so Michael Blum actually comes from another very prestigious law firm where they no longer are doing mass torts on the scale that they were doing before, and that’s what he primarily focused on. So he has now started with us since last week from Trial Lawyers University. He’s fantastic. It’s been great working with him and to give him the opportunity to see crisp firsthand, which I believe he’s seen before. But now as the Lake law firm, yeah, he’s going to be going instead of myself. That way, I can actually focus on work here, right?
Liel: [00:23:47] Which you have plenty of. Yes, so Grace. Let’s just look to what is known about the Crisp Game Changers summit happening later this week, right? Because while there is been a lot of noise made around this conference, particularly because it got rescheduled a couple of times, this, you know, last year’s event did not take place this year. Initially, I think they were expecting to do it in the spring and then it got the fall, which is now. And so Grace, the thing with crisp is that there is very little information known about the event agenda itself. We know who is going to be speaking at the event, right? And what is fun, I think, is that it’s a mix of very, very well known and authoritative keynote speakers, to name a few. There is the author, Malcolm Gladwell. Gary Vaynerchuk is going to be there again. And you know, you can call those, if you may, the headliners. And then there’s a few other authors and coaches and business leaders that are going to be around. But then there is a lot of lawyers who are also going to be presenting, and those are always very fun, as I just said, because they tend to be about their journey, their experience, how they’re how they’re doing things at their firm. And so I think there’s a lot of value and insights there. And then of course, in between all of these presentations, there is going to be the crisp component, which, you know, last time Crisp did a conference, they announced a lot of things they allow. They announce their coach program, they announce what was going to become their new headquarters, which part of the event this year is going to take place there.
Liel: [00:25:49] They’re organizing on after and after hours, not after hours, but and after event party, if you may call it that way. And they also obviously promoted their social stock sort of package there. So it’s going to be very interesting to see what Crisp has on the agenda for twenty twenty two. What are the things that they are going to be promoting at this event? So I think there’s a lot to be looking after, but it’s it’s one of those events that you need to come with an open mind with availability and and really with intent to be inside the conference room because as I said, everything is unannounced, not even on the day of the event. They tell you who’s going to be the next person to get on stage. It all just happens live and they know, but they don’t tell you, you just sit there and your get surprised who’s going to be the next person to get there? And it feels like that’s what they’re going to be doing that just to wrap up that Grace. You probably know about the cars, right? You know, they’re giving out three cars this year. Not not the least one of them. It’s a Rolls-Royce or a Rolls-Royce. Yeah. And then there’s the Corvette Stingray Corvette as well, which I came to learn that it’s a very special edition of Corvette. It tells us not like just your average Corvette stingrays.
Grace: [00:27:13] Quite. I don’t know if you know, but I’m quite a gear head. So when it comes to cars, a Corvette is very special. Stingray is even more special, so definitely right. He’s got some interesting cars and things out there. I don’t know if did you see the latest email that they sent out about the events that are going to take place after?
Liel: [00:27:32] So that is the party, right, that’s the that’s the party after so on the first night at the end of the sessions, for that day, they’re going to basically shuttle everyone from the Marriott Marquis in downtown Atlanta, where the conference is taking place to their new headquarters, are somewhere in Atlanta as well. And they’re going to host. They’re a party, so they want to show their new building, their new training center. And, you know, many of those have already got a glimpse of the location from other webinars, trainings or social media content that they have created over the past few months. And it’s stunning. It’s really state of the art is very, very it’s a very, very nice venue. So, you know, I think I think they’re they’re putting a lot of effort into showcasing this asset that they have. And I think that’s what you’re talking about, right, when you say about the party, because if you’re talking about something else, I have no idea.
Grace: [00:28:36] No, no, that’s exactly what I’m saying to Yeah, yeah, you got all right.
Liel: [00:28:40] Yeah. So again, it’s going to be, you know, it’s going to be an interesting event. Interestingly enough, not I wouldn’t say it’s the last one of the year, but maybe the last really big event of this year. If I’m not mistaken, they’re estimating two thousand five hundred attorneys to attend well, people to attend this event. So Grace, I’m sad to hear you’re not going to be there, but I’ll be back here next week and I’ll make sure that I’ll share everything that I saw with you. So Grace, do we have any takeaways for today?
Grace: [00:29:18] I guess the only thing I could think of is really having to do with events and, you know, listen to other vendors, listen to other lawyers, see if it’s worth attending something or not. You know, I mean, we we kind of all got stuck in at home, right, with all those virtual events and everything. So it’s kind of it feels a little bit new, right? Because there’s some some of these really new ones coming out because of everything that happened. So I’d say, take a look at what else is out there. Trial Lawyers University is a brand new one. I I’m almost 1000 percent certain he’s going to do this again next year. Get involved in in things that you may not have gotten involved in before. Mass torts made perfect is a perfect example. They had three hundred to four hundred brand new attendees that have never interacted with them before, and those all came from the MTP Connect webinars. Actually, yeah. So, you know, just try something different. Terrific. Yeah, because I think that, you know, there’s a lot of it, a lot of things out there and there’s a lot of potential places for us as business owners, even as lawyers, of course, of the lawyers to network with each other.
Liel: [00:30:27] You know, looking back at all of the conferences of this year that I have attended, I think probably that’s one of the most valuable things as a lawyer is meeting other lawyers, write and lawyers that you that you knew who they are but never actually met them, lawyers that you never met them. But it’s just a great place to. It’s a great opportunity to really connect with people that cannot tremendous value in terms of insights to your journey into into growing up your, your law firm. It’s not just about the conference itself and those who are going to be presenting and the vendors, and such is about the attendees as well. And so I think that that’s one of the of the biggest benefits, if you were to ask me, is the networking that you can make with other attendees above and beyond. Everyone else is going to be presenting and exhibiting and so forth and so on. So I think that sometimes get overlooked and there is so much value in there, probably. Mo, you know, one of the biggest things you can take out of those it is, you
Grace: [00:31:34] Agree, oh, definitely in person. You know how many attorneys came up to me and said, I’m so happy that we can see each other in person again. And these are people I’d never met. You know, a lot of the people I know, a lot of the people because I go to the same conferences as they do. So they all recognize me. But this was a brand new one for us. And trial lawyers aren’t usually exposed to us because we do mass tort acquisition and software. So this was my first time interacting with most of these people, and it’s their first time coming back out to a show. Yeah. So for both of us, they they both, they said, and I felt very nice about that human interaction. You, you can never get rid of that, no matter how much we try, no matter how many virtual events we try to do, in-person interaction can never be replaced.
Liel: [00:32:22] Yeah, I think we’re both very much leaning towards the opportunity of having these interactions. And listen, I think, you know, after the the almost two years that we’ve been through now, it’s not an all or nothing sort of scenario, right? We still love the efficiency and the flexibility that being able to of being able to do certain things remote. And that’s great and it’s here to stay. And I think, you know, webinars don’t necessarily need to disappear, and some online networking doesn’t necessarily need to go away. Slack communities and this type of networking through digital platforms can be terrific, great, great, great opportunities. But at the same time, it’s great to add to the mix. Also in-person events because it’s one hundred percent complements and takes things to a whole new level. So Grace. I think we’ve reached the end of the conversation.
Grace: [00:33:23] We did it was very fruitful in terms of the events that we’ve been to.
Liel: [00:33:29] I think I think it was Grace. So thank you again very much and we’ll be back next week.
Grace: [00:33:34] Thank you, Liel. Take care. Bye bye.
Liel: [00:33:40] And if you like our show, make sure you subscribe. Tell your co-workers. Leave us a review and send us your questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll see you next week.
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