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Sam Dolce-Powers, Esq. attended his first trial lawyer convention with Milestone. Below, he shares a few tips for first-time attendees at the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Convention and other legal conferences.

AAJ convention tipsLast Saturday I followed my typical routine: waking up with the sun; shoveling the driveway/front walk; walking over to Lorigo’s, the Italian butcher/convenience store on the corner; and making breakfast for my wife, Siobhan, and myself. Yet breakfast moved a little quicker than our typical sleepy Saturday pace. My flight left in just a few hours, and we were not sure whether the weather was going to cooperate.

With the snow coming down and the aircraft zipping down the runway, I was excited to get to Miami and meet like-minded young attorneys from across the United States. The next five days left me with five basic points of advice for young attorneys who are soon to be first time attendees to large conferences, like AAJ. Here is my list…

  1. Pack all sorts of clothing and footwear. While I am proud of my suit collection, I quickly realized I mostly brought clothes to impress and little to dress down in. Although it is important to dress to a standard at specific events, there are a number of more casual functions, service projects, evenings of exploration, etc. Extra pro-tip: remember footwear to accompany outfits for every event.
  2. Bring extra business cards. It is amazing the amount of people you are able to connect with over the course of a few days. I thought fifty would be enough. It wasn’t.
  3. Prepare a quick response to unwanted sales pitches. At any conference there are many exhibitors present, and you may feel the vulture vendor salesmen circling over you. If so, feel free to use my go to line: “Thank you for this information, unfortunately I have no say over what ___ our firm uses.” It’s polite, and easy.
  4. Find your people. I cannot tell you how many great connections I made over the course of my weekend. I made friends with people from all over the country, and it will be great if they become new business. If not, there were some really positive memories we made and times we shared.
  5. Find time to leave the conference venue. Whether it is participating in a service project or exploring a new neighborhood, it’s important to make the most of your out of town experience. For example, I hosted a client dinner in the Wynwood neighborhood, took an hour (or two) to eat a Cuban and buy a hand-rolled cigar in Little Havana, and spent my final afternoon post conference going for a long walk down Miami Beach.

So there is my top 5 list. If you have any others that I forgot, please email me at, and I will add them in another blog post!

See you at AAJ,

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