I attended Avvo’s Lawyernomics 2013. So, I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about the conference here. You should know that I contribute to the Lawyernomics Blog and that Avvo gave me a free ticket to the conference. You should also know that from time to time, Avvo refers lawyers interested in web marketing my way, for this they need to have their own websites, such as these injury law professionals from wintersandyonker.com. Does that mean that my opinion on their conference is bought? Ha, hardly. But I leave it to you to assess the credibility of my review.
One of the first things folks want to know about conferences is how much they cost. In 2013, a ticket to Lawyernomics cost $499 plus Ticket Leap service charge. That’s pretty good for comparable legal technology conferences. The standard conference rate for ABA Techshow was $850 for early birds and $1,050 after the early bird deadline. A Master Pass to LegalTech was $1,095 (although it looks like they’re raising rates to $1,295).
Of course, whether or not these are “good prices” depends on the quality of the conference.
One of the major factors that goes into a conference’s quality is the speaker line-up. You can learn more about each of the speakers here. I’ve added one takeaway from each presentation below:
The LexBlog Network (LXBN TV) also covered the conference and provides speaker interviews on their YouTube channel. You can also download each of the presentations from the Lawyernomics Conference App. However, I did want to highlight one of the most important points to come out of the conference. It’s the confusion between outbound and inbound marketing. Avvo Founder & CEO Mark Britton explains here:
To me, this is one of the main things that separates Lawyernomics from other business of law conferences.
Most conferences are heavily vendor-driven. Therefore, the substance of the discussions tends to bend toward selling. While there’s no question that some of the speakers were at Lawyernomics to build awareness for their companies and offerings (i.e. Twitter, Yelp, Avvo, etc), the presentations were filled with practical information. In other words, the speakers themselves were practicing inbound marketing.
And this theme of inbound marketing was carried throughout the conference. The majority of the presentations demonstrated to the attendees how lawyers can put inbound marketing to work to grow their practices. However, perhaps no one was quite as clear as Lawyerist’s Sam Glover. Again, disclosure, I write for Lawyerist and from time to time Lawyerist sends business my way.
If you haven’t read Sam’s, “Why Your Blog Sucks (and What To Do About It)“, head over there now. While done via his uniquely snarky tone, Sam’s presentation strikes at the heart of what inbound marketing is all about (although I’m sure he wouldn’t describe it as marketing at all).
As an SEO, I was particularly interested in listening to and meeting Nifty Marketing’s Mike Ramsay. Mike knows his stuff and I was really impressed with the quality and accuracy of the information from his presentation. I speak with lawyers almost every day about the role the internet can play in a firm’s business development. I know how difficult it can be to simplify these topics in a way that’s both digestible and understandable for lawyers who don’t have experience with this stuff. Mike did an outstanding job. You should hire him.
So, who goes to Lawyernomics? It seemed to me that the attendee demographics and psychographics were all over the map. They were crusty veteran lawyers and baby lawyers. Some were sophisticated marketers who understood some of the more advanced aspects to measuring, monitoring and tracking marketing campaigns. Others were clearly just getting familiar with many of these concepts.
Some were pretty hardcore spammers that I recognized from competitive intelligence analysis that I’ve done for my own clients. Others stuck with the truly white hat organic inbound marketing practices that you’d expect from communities like SEOmoz.
There were plaintiff’s attorneys, criminal defense attorneys and tax attorneys.
Based on questions posed to the speakers, as well as, conversations that I had, I would say the average marketing knowledge of the attendees was rather basic. However, it was probably better than the average at other conferences, bar events, CLEs, etc. The bottom line is that lawyers still have a long way to go. But conferences like Lawyernomics are doing an outstanding job of helping them understanding the more technical and nuanced aspects to marketing a law firm in the digital age.
Whether you’re just starting to get a handle on web marketing and technology as they relate to the business or law, or you’ve been putting the web to work for your law firm for years, I’m pretty confident that you’ll pick-up some new information at Lawyernomics. But you should also go to meet the people. To me, some of the most valuable time at Lawyernomics occurred outside the speaker’s and exhibitor’s rooms. It happened in the conversations at lunch. It happened during the cocktail hours. Lawyers helping other lawyers understand what has worked and hasn’t worked for them. The building, nurturing and solidifying of professional relationships.
The exhibitor hall (room) was more intimate than you’d find at other legal marketing technology conferences. There were some familiar faces and some companies I hadn’t yet heard of:
One thing that did trouble me was some degree of contradiction between what was being said by certain speakers and what was being sold by some exhibitors. I imagine that it might have caused a bit of confusion to hear one thing being preached by the speakers and to hear a somewhat contradictory explanation by a sponsor. So goes the nature of conference sponsorship I suppose.
In addition to the quality of the conference material, I think the major thing that separated Lawyernomics from other conferences was the team at Avvo. Their folks stood on the front lines answering many questions. And not just questions about Avvo. They were answering substantive questions about putting various tools and strategies to work. They weren’t just selling advertising. They weren’t just selling Avvo Ignite. In fact, from my vantage point, it seemed that they were spending the overwhelming majority of their time answering questions that weren’t really related to Avvo at all.
From what I saw, they were extremely accessible. They were patient. And if they didn’t have an answer, they helped the lawyer who had the question find someone at the conference who did have an answer.
But don’t take my word for it. Ask around. Talk to attendees. Download presentations. Watch the interviews on LXBN. Feel free to comment below.
Avvo’s Lawyernomics Conference 2013
Reviewed by Gyi Tsakalakis on .
The Business of Law Conference to Attend
If you go to one business of law conference, Lawyernomics is the one to go to.