On the 18th of August 2017,the annual conference of the Nigerian Bar Association will begin.It is the largest gathering of lawyers in Africa and most lawyers in Nigeria look up to this event.However,in all the hype and publicity this event brings,there are some hard truths about it.
- More than 90% of Lawyers treat it as a Social event: Make no mistake, the excitement that normally follows the NBA annual general conference every year has nothing to do with the topics, speakers or panellists at the conference. No. For more than 90% of lawyers, it is about the fun, the social events.
- More than 95% of lawyers who attended the conference last year will not remember the theme of last years’s conference: Pick a phone right now and put a call to a hundred lawyers who attended the 2016 conference, Ninety five of them will not remember the theme of last year’s conference. The remaining 5% will struggle to remember.
- For many lawyers, the parameter for measuring the conference is the quality of the social events and not the quality of the lectures: If the dinner, parties are dry, the conference failed. Simple. We do not care if you brought Aristotle or Socrates to deliver lectures, after all what will they say that we have not heard before. More than 80% of Lawyers will tell you this.
4. Gate Crashers enjoy the conference too: More than 20% of lawyers who arrive NBA Conference host cities every year do not register for the conference. They either believe that the fees are not accounted for or are exorbitant. However it is, do not make any mistake of thinking that this group do not enjoy the conferences. What happens in the halls is inconsequential.
5. More than 70% of lawyers attending this year’s conference do not know the theme of this year’s conference: I can tell you that many lawyers after reading this will go back to read the theme gain. They have read and seen it everywhere but will not be able to tell you now if you put them on a hot seat to tell you. Do not get confused, about 50% of members of the Technical Committee on conference planning(TCCP) will struggle with the theme. If you want to test, call them now and ask but not after they have read this.
6. Serious Networking happens in the evenings: My dear, do not turn yourself into a poster boy distributing your cards as if they will expire the next day. I can tell you, many of those cards will be forgotten in Lagos or washed away by dry cleaners. If your card makes it home with the person who collected it, the email will not come too quickly. Nobody will hand over his business to you by just having your card. The real networking happens over discussions usually held outside the conference venues.
7. The problem of logistics must happen even if the TCCP decides to host only a hundred lawyers.
8. At the conference, some lawyers will meet and get married years later. It happens.
9. Some things will definitely happen in Vegas that will stay in Vegas.
10. The last hard truth is that the TCCP will never change any of these.