Last week, a certain company had their annual legal conference. This year, lawyers from all over the world came to celebrate in the cultural and historic haven that we’ve grown accustom to calling New Orleans. They had a lot of stuff planned, and surprisingly it didn’t all pertain to food. There were actual events that took place.
They helped out the community by spending they’re first day of the conference volunteering at a New Orleans-based organization called St. Bernard Project. SBP is an wonderful non-profit organization that was formed about 5 years ago by a lawyer (Zack Rosenburg) and a teacher (Liz McCartney). After just a week’s visit to beautiful New Orleans, these two decided to give up their lives as they knew them and settle into New Orleans to help the people whose homes and lives had been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina and the Oil Spill. SBP has quite a few programs and around 60 of the lawyers worked in the effort to rebuild houses. By painting, removing siding, installing installation, et cetera. SBP is always about quality when it come to rebuilding people’s homes. If the air bubble in the level your are using is just the slightest bit off, you can expect an earful from your supervisor who won’t care that your ”real’ job doesn’t involve the use of power tools.
The legal conference also included a few training sessions. One of these training sessions was held by Second City, the famous comedy club/school that has actually trained the entire original cast of Saturday Night Live.
I guess the bosses at the firm thought that their workers needed to learn a bit about humor. Maybe they wanted them to lighten up. But, Second City does provide corporate workshops and training to improve teamwork and communication.
So, the people who lead the training sessions were actually a couple of comedians who had tons of energy and were really hilarious. They were even good at being trainers, and they hardly made any jokes about them being lawyers. They made the lawyers do a bunch of exercises that were meant to get them to think creatively, and to say thank you all the time, and to also really listen to each other’s ideas. All the stuff that lawyers are typically really bad at.
The conference, of course, also included a ton of informational sessions and CLE’s. Those included updates from each of the different legal teams on the past year, recognition of accomplishments, and topics of interest, such as ethics, legislative updates and diversity. They had to include something that was both serious and informative, plus they needed something to fill in all the boring time between meals.
And despite most admonishments about having fun at company social events, they had plenty of those opportunities as well, such as dinners, karaoke, dancing of all sorts, and even a Halloween costume reception.
So all in all, their annual leal conference was quite a well-planned event with a ton of opportunities for lawyers from all over the company to engage, share ideas, and establish better working relationships, but most importantly, they had fun.