After my fourth straight day of non-stop AALL conference running around, I’m running on fumes and having a blast talking with my colleagues. I’ve talked about blogging… I’ve talked about law firm management… I’ve talked about my new projects… and I’ve shared my opinion while listening to the opinions of others. As with most of the conferences you go to, it isn’t the programming that makes a lasting impression, it is usually the people you meet that sets the stage for the years to come.
One of the best things that I like about the conferences is when someone comes up to you and says something like “I heard you say ____, and I have to say that I disagree with what you said.” Maybe some people get offended, or throw up their shields and get defensive at hearing those words, but I have to say that I see them as an opportunity to have a great discussion with someone, as well as a reassurance that at least one person was actually listening to me when I was talking – sometimes you just aren’t sure if they are simply checking email and zoning you out.
When someone takes the time to come up and debate you on something you’ve said, or maybe even something you’ve written over the past year, it gives you a chance to further the discussion. Perhaps you just need to clarify your thinking behind the topic, or perhaps you need to explain some additional facts that the person may have missed, or facts you forgot to place into evidence at the time. However, that may simply end the topic if there is just a misunderstanding. What I really like is when someone comes up to you and really shows that you’ve made a major mistake, or there is a flaw in your argument, or better yet, that they have a completely different perspective than you and it may turn out that both of you are right… or maybe both of you are wrong. Either way, it helps continue the topic and allows you to really see something from a perspective you may otherwise have never thought of.
So, if you see me walking around the AALL floor in Philly over the next couple of days, don’t be afraid to come up and point out something that you think I got wrong. I’ll at least have fun talking with you about it, even if it turns out I wasn’t wrong… but simply mistaken.