2003 Law Practice Summit and Spring Meeting Delivered Top-Notch
Educational Sessions and Southern Hospitality

The 2003 Law Practice Summit presented by the ABA Law Practice Management Section May 1-3, in Austin, Texas, delivered on its promise to be a "peak" experience. Educational sessions addressed how to best meet the challenges of management in a changing marketing in a one-day intensive track that convened experts in law practice management from around the country. The opening keynote presentation by James W. Jones, Director or Hildebrandt International in Washington, DC, provided a review of the maturing market for legal services and the resulting segmentation of services that is occurring. Jones identified and evaluated the challenges that segmentation presents to firms of varying sizes, and proposed strategies to address those challenges. A panel of managing partners led a lively discussion of the issues raised by Jones.

Panel-led discussion was the platform for the following two sessions entitled "Managing for Sustained Profitability" and "What Clients Want" - which took participants step-by-step through the lawyer/firm determination process from the perspective of corporate general counsels. GC from FMC Technologies, Southwest Airlines, and Baker Hughes Incorporated shared their views on what matters most to them when choosing outside firms and shared techniques for building solid relationships with clients.

Afternoon sessions centered on building a client-focused law firm, with emphasis on the four core areas of law practice - marketing, management, technology, and finance. In "Technology as a Tool for Client Service" experts examined the evolving role of technology as a critical component of effective client service, including the growing importance of knowledge management systems and strategies for managing technology costs. In "Strategies for Successful Client-Focused Marketing" a professional panel appraised techniques for assessing market opportunities, ideas for expanding client relationships, and ways to partner with clients.

All work and no play is no good for anyone, however, so attendees of the Summit and of the Women Rainmakers Program (please see the related article in LawPractice.news on the WR program in Austin) were invited to a networking reception on the lawn of the Four Seasons Austin, which included a sumptuous buffet and the opportunity to mingle with the leaders of the ABA Law Practice Management Section. LPM staffer Donna Attebery was honored for thirteen years of service to the Section, and was presented with a plaque and Waterford crystal vase. Donna announced her plans to retire on July 1 earlier this year. LPM Chair John Tredennick and Arthur Greene, LPM's Financial Secretary, both made tributes to Donna and shared personal stories from their years of working together.

Summit attendees were invited to "saddle up" the following day and join LPM actives at the Lightheart Ranch, home to former chair Shelby Rogers and his wife, Jennifer. The evening offered a taste of Texas life and hospitality, complete with mouth-watering ribs, brisket, and other BBQ fare, two-stepping to the beat of a local favorite band, and gazing at the longhorn cattle. A good time was had by all! View pictures from the event.

The next LPM-sponsored CLE will be held in conjunction with the Annual Meeting in San Francisco, California, August 8-9.