With 35 seminars and educational programs, more than 40 exhibitors and hundreds of networking opportunities and job openings over three days, the MBA's Annual Conference 2004: "Leading Through Law" - January 22-24 at the Sheraton Boston Hotel, sponsored by Citizens Bank and CMI - is your biggest and best chance all year to see old friends and make new ones while catching up on legal developments, sharpening your skills and learning about the latest technology.
Start with a splash
This year's conference starts strongly on Thursday afternoon with three full tracks of programs to enhance your practice, improve your career and bring you up to speed with the newest legal tech tools.
Based on the success of last year's "How to Start and Run" and "300 Ways to Use Your Law Degree" seminars, we're offering two tracks of half-hour talks under the heading "Managing Your Practice & Career" covering everything from e-mail communications to marketing to networking tips. At that same time, a new series of "Tech Talks" will give attendees an overview of the latest tools, techniques and services available to handle the demands of a law practice in today's fast-paced business climate. Many of the companies in this year's Exhibit Halls are participating in this new series.
Thursday will wrap up with something new as well. After the Opening Reception, which this year includes honors to our 50-Year Member awardees, join your colleagues or make new friends by signing up for one of our Dine-Around "dutch treat" dinners at some of downtown Boston's best restaurants.
Full Friday' gets fuller
It's not just Thursday that's packed with new programs this year!
Friday morning's plenary session includes a major presentation by nationally known futurist Charles F. Robinson, who will speak on "The Future of Law Practice." (He'll pick up that theme - and take your questions - later in the morning as leader of a panel discussion.)
Friday continues with an expanded list of Recent Developments programs. Through the morning and afternoon, you'll have your choice of 13 separate seminars, including such new topics as Juvenile Law, Corporate Governance and Appellate Practice and Procedure. And running concurrently to the Recent Developments sessions will by Friday afternoon's slate of Tech Talks, which take place in a room directly adjacent to the Exhibit Halls.
The annual Access to Justice Awards Luncheon also has grown a little this year. The MBA is partnering with the Massachusetts Bar Foundation to present MBA awards to four attorneys and one law firm for their outstanding contributions to the cause of justice as well as the MBF's Great Friend of Justice Award (see related articles). Another highlight of the luncheon will be an address by David Cole, professor of constitutional law at Georgetown University Law Center and author of the acclaimed book "Enemy Aliens."
This busy day of seminars, exhibits and discussions will wrap up in grand style with Friday evening's Gala Reception and Gala Dinner in the Grand Ballroom. Join us as we honor our 2004 Legislator of the Year, State Rep. Eugene L. O'Flaherty, and hear keynote speaker Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund.
To "sweeten the pot" again this year, Gala Dinner guests are eligible to win one of several terrific prizes to be drawn during the evening. And don't forget to "stay and play" after the dinner at our annual After Party, which this year features a cabaret setting with live music, right next door to the Grand Ballroom.
Bench/Bar is bigger too
Saturday's annual Bench/Bar Forum topics are particularly timely this year, and include one additional breakout session during the morning. Focusing on "Preventing Wrongful Convictions" and "Promoting Just Outcomes," the panels present an array of notable speakers from the judiciary, the bar and area law schools.
The day closes with the annual Bench/Bar luncheon, featuring an address by Supreme Judicial Court Chief Justice Margaret H. Marshall.
Special pricing and sponsors
To make this year's Annual Conference accessible to as many people as possible, there are several new pricing options for attendees, including legal services lawyers, government attorney, law students and law-firm staff. From a new $30 law student ticket and a special exhibition Day Pass for legal administrators and law-firm staff to special discounts for new lawyers, and legal services and government attorneys there are many new options to attend and take advantage of this year's Annual Conference. (See registration form for details.)
In addition to great pricing, many sponsors and exhibitors are supporting this year's conference. Special recognition goes to overall conference cosponsors Citizens Bank and CMI for their invaluable and early support. In addition, long-time partners MCLE, LexisNexis, MBA Insurance and the Flaschner Judicial Institute return this year to assist with conference materials, programs and activities, respectively.
And be sure to spend time in the AC04 Exhibit Hall to visit with more than 40 companies offering products and services tailored specifically for today's legal profession. (For more on this year's exhibitors, see the accompanying article.)