Tuesday, September 15, 2009

California State Bar 82nd Meeting Recap

ALDAP was well represented at the 82nd Meeting of the California State Bar held September 10th through the 13th at the Hyatt Manchester in San Diego, California.

The Hyatt is an overwhelmingly beautiful hotel and is quite new. The two towers rise above downtown San Diego as the tallest buildings in the area. The grounds are tastefully opulent, with a fresh breezy renaissance d├ęcor, lots of marble, windows and columns. We found areas to hide and even found our way into the hotel’s very own floral room where the flower shop personnel design arrangements. Parking is adjacent to the hotel with elevators that descend directly into the lobby area. The meeting registration was a breeze even though we arrived during the height of activity.

The hotel sits adjacent to Seaport Village, a lovely bayside park-like area full of shops and restaurants with places to sit and people-watch. Along the pier is an art and crafts fair with booths of all kinds. We spent a great deal of our “off” time between and after classes sitting and talking at the tables and benches that line the walkways. Seaport Village boasts five-star restaurants and we took advantage of early dining pricing to sample the food from some of the more expensive menus.

Besides the opportunity to complete our CLE requirements, the meeting allowed for ample networking and discussion of non-attorney legal service providers. The Exhibitors Hall was full with booths and representatives dealing their various products and subscriptions. We were pleased to find that we were well received not only by the other attendees, but also by the vendors who of course realize that we also have buying power. We were buried in handouts and little chotchkies. The exhibitors hall was the source of complimentary cupcakes, cookies and drinks as well as ice creams and other goodies, and provided attendees with a one-stop shopping for their professional needs. Handel on the Law broadcasted directly from the meeting on Saturday and the day proved to be lively. We made a lot of friends and contacts throughout the entire event.

While some courses left a bit to be desired, many were excellent. We availed ourselves of every technology class we could possibly attend, meeting to evaluate our choices and promising to share the handouts for those courses that the others could not attend. During the meeting it was brought to our attention that West was giving away thumb drives so that attendees could download all of the program materials. Small State Bar kiosks were arranged strategically throughout the hotel with laptops so that attendees could download materials at their convenience. I downloaded only the materials of interest to my practice and it took an hour and a half – that is how extensive the course offerings were.

Suzanne selected Martin Dean’s course on technology which I skipped only to learn later that Martin Dean, himself, was the lecturer and has been for several years. Suzanne related that the seminar was enjoyable and quite entertaining. She found it to be the most interesting of all of the technology courses she attended. Many of the courses were interactive and I was proud to participate in many question/answer sessions, proving my knowledge of the legal system and its processes, particularly in a course on new legislation.

I walked away with 9 CLE credits, 3 of which were in ethics. I wanted to knock off the last Ethics hour by attending Sunday morning’s "What Would Lincoln Do?" Suzanne later reported that the course was interactive and quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, Sunday morning found me to be completely exhausted and unwilling to give up sleeping in and hitting the beach to earn one more hour of credit. I awoke late and enjoyed fresh squeezed OJ and a lobster and shrimp omelet at the beach, taking time out to just sit and relax in the sun. After four full days of classes and crazy evenings, I was due for some time to myself. It felt marvelous.

The cost of the meeting was an affordable $275 for the four day event and I have to say I certainly got great value for my money.

Next year’s meeting is scheduled to take place in Monterey and we have already promised all our new friends that we see them there – I can hardly wait!

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