It is about that time of year again! The leaves have changed and are beginning to fall off the trees. Department stores are decorated for Christmas (Wait! Haven’t they been decorated since before Halloween?), and Starbucks has started using their red holiday cups. All these signs indicate that it is also time for the Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana’s Annual Meeting.
This year the DTCI Annual Meeting will be held at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City. The conference begins at 10 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, and continues through 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 22. If you have not yet registered to attend, I strongly encourage you to pack your suitcase with casual clothes (and a little extra green for the casino) and head north to get all the CLE you need for the year at one conference for the reasonable price of $299. Walk-ins are more than welcome!
Now you may be asking, “Why should I attend this conference rather than an all-day seminar closer to my office?” In my opinion, there are several reasons to attend. To begin with, the CLE is superb. You would be hard pressed to find a practice area not covered by one of the individual break-out sessions. Health care, employment law, workers’ compensation, product liability, business litigation, construction law, insurance coverage – you name it, there is likely an opportunity to earn CLE in your area of practice. There is even a break-out session for paralegals. There are also opportunities to hone your trial practice skills and perfect your writing skills. In addition, there are two opportunities to earn your mandatory ethics credits: one on Thursday and one on Friday. Finally, there will be more than 20 exhibitors and sponsors present to help you with all your expert needs.
In addition to the great CLE opportunities, it would be difficult to find a prominent defense attorney in your area of practice who is not attending the annual meeting. There is plenty of time built into the conference schedule to get to know the other attendees. This allows you to have access to the lawyers in Indiana who face the same issues you do. While the presentations by these lawyers in the break-out sessions are filled with helpful practice information, the informal time you have to pick these lawyers’ brains is invaluable. You know that strange fact pattern in the new case you just received? Chances are someone attending the conference has had a similar case or similar past experience and is more than willing to give you some advice on how to handle your situation.
I was recently going through some materials from past annual meetings and came across some notes from several years ago. I chuckled at the items I had written down as “new ideas” from the break-out sessions; these are now things that are fully implemented in my practice in nearly all my cases. The information you learn at the annual meeting will become part of your daily practice.
Finally, I would like to take a moment to particularly encourage young attorneys to attend the annual meeting. I attended my first annual meeting in 2002 and was slightly intimidated by how everyone seemed to know each other. I volunteered at that meeting to join the substantive law committee in the area I was practicing and was immediately able to get more involved in my substantive law section and the organization. I was also able to meet several more experienced lawyers who helped me become more involved in the organization. Now, 10 years later, there are very few faces that I fail to recognize at the annual meeting. In addition to the excellent CLE available, you will begin to foster relationships with numerous attorneys throughout the state that will become valuable resources and professional contacts.
If I have not yet convinced you to attend the annual meeting, I encourage you to check out the full brochure for the meeting at www.dtci.org. Then either register online or email Lisa Mortier at firstname.lastname@example.org to let her know you will be registering on-site. I hope to see you in Michigan City.•
Ms. McOmber is a partner in the Indianapolis firm of Schultz & Pogue and is a member of the DTCI Board of Directors. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.