By Brice Duffy, manager of information systems at Mackall Crounse & Moore, PLC and Minneapolis City Rep for ILTA

ILTA rookie? Not sure what to expect?

In preparation for our upcoming national conference, Minnesota-based ILTA members met to share some insights and pointers for those attending ILTA 2012: ac2dc, whether going for the first time or as a seasoned veteran.

The International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) conference is a peer networking organization for legal technology professionals and continues to be one of the largest conferences each year. Attendees include IT personnel, CIOs, CTOs and a wide range of other legal professionals and technology experts.

With ILTA 2012 offering nearly 200 sessions, countless demo suites, an expansive show floor and networking opportunities in abundance, it is difficult to even begin to plan out your schedule. To help, I assembled 12 tips gleaned from the recent Minnesota meeting that hopefully will make your experience more enjoyable and productive.

– Don’t spend the entire conference in a session room. There is a wealth of information in the session rooms and in the exhibit hall. Don’t fill up every minute sitting in a session. If there is an hour or two you don’t see a session that interests you, spend it in the exhibit hall or a demo room.

– Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There will be an Ask ILTA booth near the registration desk. Also look to ILTA volunteers like city reps and peer group members, who will have volunteer ribbons on the bottom of their name tags, for questions you may have.

– Double and triple book yourself. There may be a session you really want to attend, but chances are it will be a very popular session. If the session is full, have a second and sometimes a third option. This will save you time reviewing the schedule.

– Download the ILTA Conference app for smartphones and tablets. The conference app provides a wealth of information including: the session list, room numbers, vendor demo rooms and a calendar to build your agenda – and you can even fill out your session evaluations through the app. There is an interactive exhibit hall map and a directory of all conference attendees.

– Plan to attend the Conference Orientation meeting on Sunday night. Here you will be introduced to the conference co-chairs, meet other attendees and have some questions answered.

– It is perfectly fine to leave a session early. A session may not match the actual presentation and it is fine to leave and attend a different session. If you do leave, please be polite.

– Leave the MiFi card in your room. They won’t work in session rooms and there will be separate Wi-Fi access for your smartphone, tablet or laptop.

– Set mobile phones and tablets to silent or vibrate. If you must take a call, please excuse yourself before continuing the conversation.

– Take a stack of business cards. This may seem like a no-brainier, but I have been to enough events where co-workers forgot them. Vendors will ask for your card and so will your new friends.

– Take preprinted shipping labels. You will likely collect a lot of materials from vendors and sessions. It is easier to ship them back than to try and pack them and keep your luggage under the airline weight limits. Plus you can ship back your dirty laundry!

– Treat your badge and meal tickets like cash. Your name badge gains you access to all of the sessions and social events. If you leave it in your room you won’t get in. Same goes with your meal tickets; they are required at each meal.

– Wear comfortable clothing: Most attendees will dress business casual, while others will dress up. You may consider bringing along a sweater or light jacket in case the rooms are cold.

I hope that you enjoy the conference, have fun, learn a lot and meet new people. But expect to have sore feet by Thursday afternoon!

What other suggestions do you have?

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