All work and no play

Who said law conferences and bikinis don’t mix?

By Lia Grainger

On Tuesday May 26th, 2009


With belts tightening and budgets shrinking, recessionistas revel in reminding us that extravagant vacations are “so last year.” Add to that warnings of a looming pandemic and travel is certainly hard to justify. But spending a week at a law conference that just happens to be in Rio de Janeiro? Your clients will marvel at your tireless pursuit of professional excellence, and with luck your firm will foot the bill — just keep the poolside margaritas on the down low

Location: San Francisco, CA
Conference: AAJ 2009 Annual Convention
American Association for Justice
Date: July 25 – 29, 2009
Description: AAJ is the world’s largest trial bar and is committed to the goal of a fair and effective justice system, both in the US and internationally.
Who should go: Plaintiff lawyers and law students.
Professional highlights: With thousands of attendees, the opportunities to network and learn are many. Don’t miss US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi’s opening talk.
Personal highlights: Check out the infamous Alcatraz prison, stroll down Pier 39, or escape the city for a Napa Valley wine tour.

Location: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Conference: American Lawyers Football Cup
Date: June 10 – 14, 2009
Description: Mundiavocat organizes lawyer-only soccer tournaments for Europe, Asia, and now North and South America. The World Lawyers Football Cup will take place next year in Turkey.
Who should go: Any lawyer who loves a game of footie.
Professional highlights: Okay, so it’s not technically a conference, but the networking opportunities and “business” lunches by the pool more than justify five days of soccer in the sun.
Personal highlights: Did we mention it’s on Copacabana Beach? Rio de Janeiro is a city that knows how to party, and sunshine and good times are virtually guaranteed. Order a caipirinha and get ready to samba the night away.

Location: New York, NY
Conference: 8th International Mergers and Acquisitions Conference
International Bar Association
Date: June 23 – 24, 2009
Description: The IBA has 30,000 members representing more than 195 bar associations and law societies worldwide.
Who should go: Lawyers in private practice, in-house counsel, investment bankers, accountants, and M&A specialists.
Professional highlights: This two-day conference gives an overview of the current M&A marketplace, with a focus on private equity in the credit crunch and the acquisition of troubled businesses.
Personal highlights: Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge for a spectacular view of America’s legendary city, ride the ferry to Staten Island, and stay an extra day to hear Ziggy Marley play in Central Park.

Location: Victoria, BC
Conference: 2009 National Criminal Law Program
Organization: The Federation of Law Societies of Canada
Date: July 6 – 10, 2009
Description: Founded in 1926, the FLSC unites provincial law societies to create national uniformity across the legal profession.
Who should go: Lawyers and judges involved in criminal law.
Professional highlights: This year’s focus is the law of evidence, and features five days of talks and interactive workshops hosted by a range of Canadian industry leaders.
Personal highlights: Victoria is the closest you’ll come to a quaint English seaside town without crossing the Atlantic. Take a quiet stroll along the picturesque boardwalk and don’t miss afternoon tea at the historic Empress Hotel.

Location: Dublin, Ireland
Conference: CBA Canadian Legal Conference
Organization: Canadian Bar Association
Date: August 13 – 18, 2009
Description: The CBA was formed in 1896; today approximately two-thirds of Canadian lawyers belong to the organization.
Who should go: Anyone with an interest in Canada’s role in the international legal community.
Professional highlights: This whirlwind three-day conference boasts an impressive list of speakers including former Irish president Mary Robinson, visionary business lawyer Leonard Brody, and legal futurist Richard Susskind.
Personal highlights: The conference has organized some fabulous activities including a private performance by Riverdance and an evening of drinking and dining at the Guinness Storehouse and Museum.

Location: Reno, Nevada
Conference: Interventions for Family Conflict 
Organization: Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
Date: November 5 – 7, 2009
Description: The AFCC is an interdisciplinary international organization committed to resolving family conflict.
Who should go: Lawyers and judges practicing family law and those outside the legal profession with an interest in resolving family legal issues.
Professional highlights: This three-day conference focuses on the issues surrounding children in legal conflict, and how the system can work to stack the odds in their favour.
Personal highlights: Don’t limit yourself to the inside of a casino: eat fresh, local food at the West Street Market, get in a round at the Rosewood Lakes Golf Course, or raft the rapids of nearby Truckee River.

Location: Budapest, Hungary
Conference: 47th Annual Congress of the International Association of Young Lawyers
Organization: International Association of Young Lawyers
Date: August 25 – 29, 2009
Description: AIJA is a non-profit organization committed to fostering the young global law community. They hold several international conferences, but this is the main event.
Who should go: Lawyers and in-house counsel 45 and younger.
Professional highlights: With a huge range of workshops, this conference really packs it in. You can address your own area of practice and still have the chance to dabble in something new.
Personal highlights: Visit the 13th-century Buda Castle, check out the communist statues at Memento Park museum, and relax in one of the city’s natural thermal Turkish spas.