NAMWOLF Annual Meeting

A First-Time Attendee’s Perspective

By: Pat Lopez – Rusing Lopez & Lizardi, PLLC

The Overall Experience

So why should anyone attend the NAMWOLF Annual Meeting? I must admit that I was certainly not excited when my partners first proposed that the three of us attend. I have participated in similar organizations and meetings in the past and thought it would be a waste of time, but was I wrong! The conference had something for everyone. There was a nice comraderie among the lawyers; the staff was helpful and accommodating; the CLE offerings were broad and interesting; and the corporate counsel in attendance were receptive and frank about their needs and your chances of filling them. Bottom line: everyone was there for a purpose while having fun.

One of my favorite sessions was the new member orientation. There, and frequently during the course of the Meeting, we were told that developing business through NAMWOLF was a process and not to expect to walk away from the meeting with any new business- that was refreshing. Another good piece of advice was to focus on developing relationships, with in-house representatives and fellow NAMWOLF members. The best thing about the Meeting was how friendly and open everyone was, especially to us newcomers. It was full of people with shared experiences, shared interests, all genuinely open to getting to know each other.

There was also a “speed dating” breakout session, but nothing about it felt like an uncomfortable first date experience. All the participants understood that we had shared goals. We were there to meet new people; try to discover overlaps in interests, expertise and needs; and advance our business and professional lives. Although, we did not leave the Meeting with any business, we did not expect to. We went to see if active participation in NAMWOLF was worth the investment. We left impressed. We enjoyed meeting the other lawyers in attendance and we were especially grateful for the opportunity to begin a dialogue with the businesses that support NAMWOLF.

What You Need To Know If You Attend the Next Meeting

Before arriving we had reviewed the agenda and signed up for those sessions and activities that peaked our interests. This minimal amount of planning was key and we recommend that everyone take the time to do it. My partner, Oscar Lizardi, was savvy enough to make sure that we brought gifts to entice other attendees to stop at our booth and say hello. We would not have been the only first-time attendees who brought nothing to share, but I was glad we did not have to explain why our booth was barren.

When planning your schedule, do not overlook the various activities and social events on the calendar. In fact, participating in the after-hours events was the best way to start becoming integrated into the NAMWOLF family. We all know there are some who are comfortable working a room full of strangers, while others struggle with it. NAMWOLF staff does a great job of creating opportunities for everyone to get to know each other. All you have to do is show up and participate. It was surprising how many planned opportunities there were to meet other attendees. There was the “Amazing Race” game on Sunday morning, and the “scavenger hunt” that was intertwined with an informal dinner at Reading Terminal which allowed you to wander from one indoor market booth to another eating, greeting and uploading pictures. Whenever you participated in a raffle or game, you had to be present to win the prize. I guess the same can be said about the Meeting as a whole! I hope to see you there next year.

P.S. I should confess my little secret. I did win the scavenger hunt (thanks for the Apple TV!), but I was around the corner taking a picture of St. John’s Church when I got the text message advising me of my win. I ran back in time to collect.
Saint John’s Church Philadelphia Pennsylvania

Pat is a founding partner at Rusing Lopez & Lizardi, PLLC in Tucson, AZ. He has over 30 years of experience in real estate law, lending and finance, complex business and real estate transactions, and corporate law and is AV Preeminent Rated by Martindale-Hubbell.