Friday, March 24, 2017

Sokol's Guide to the ABA Section of Antitrust Law Spring Meeting

Next week is the ABA Antitrust Law 2017 Spring Meeting.  It is an amazing event and kudos to the ABA leadership and staff for putting together such a wonderful set of programs.  The ability to manage such a large conference is quite amazing and I cannot begin to fully describe how much planning goes into successfully pulling it off.

I have some general thoughts about the Spring Meeting worth sharing and very few of them go to the substantive program:

  1. You really don't need to pay to eat or drink for the entire week as so many different law firms and economic consulting firms have receptions and parties.
  2. There is way too much food so don't eat too much. Stay away from: anything fried, any dips (too salty and/or too fatty), too much bread (white bread equals empty carbs which equals the need to get a larger pant size).  Drink more water and eat more vegetables.  
  3. Stay away from sauces because invariably you are going to spill something on yourself.  The additional warning is that you should pack an extra shirt as accidents happen.
  4. Try to exercise.  DC is a great city for runners and in case the weather is not great, do not forget to hit the hotel gym.
  5. Most people have no clue how to exude confidence. If you do nothing else, watch this Ted Talk by Harvard Business School Professor Amy Cuddy - Your body language shapes who you are.  It will transform your life.
  6. How best to moderate alcohol consumption - I find too many junior lawyers travel in packs and end up doing shots together.  If you want to drink, fine.  However, do not do shots at the event.  You are less likely to moderate your drinking and your current and potential future employers are also at these events.  Nobody likes a sloppy drunk.
  7. Show some style.  Most men dress far too conservatively at the Spring Meeting.  This is not a mid level manager meeting at IBM circa 1982.  I am amazed by how so many men who make over $1 million a year dress so badly and with such ill fitting suits.  Maybe this means most law firm partners need to lead a less sedentary life.
  8. Show some style part 2.  Some women have extraordinary style in terms of clothes and shoes. Cristina Caffarra of CRA, an amazing economist, is also unparalleled in terms of her style.  My advice to women more generally -  women tend to dress a little better than the men but after a while, there really must be more to life than black suit pants and either a white or french blue blouse. I want to see some color! I also notice that many women try to dress up with 3 in or higher heels to try to stand out but that very few know how to walk well with such shoes.
  9. Moisturizer. After the long flight from Asia or Europe, your skin is as dry as the Sahara and your eyes are puffy from the lack of sleep.  Please spend time properly moisturizing for your face and hands and using lip balm.
  10. Coffee is your friend.  There are an increasing number of studies that show the health benefits of coffee.
  11. At events, do your best to stay interested in what people are saying. Do not constantly look around to see who else you know. 
  12. Many of the best panels leave time for questions. If you are going to ask one in a room of 250 people, make sure it is a good one that shows insight and that leads to additional commentary.
  13. Some of the best discussion at the Spring Meeting happens in the hallways rather than the panel discussions. 
  14. This is an endurance conference.  If you are staying at the conference hotel, consider taking a 20 minute power nap in the afternoon.
  15. Have fun and meet new people. 
  16. Lots of people come from outside the United States for the conference.  Do your best to try to interact with them.
  17. Be nice.
  18. One year someone in my row clipped their fingernails during a presentation.  This is not only gross but it is noisy.
  19. Do not wear excessive perfume or cologne.  I do not want to smell you from 200 ft away and in today's world, there are also people with lots of allergies. 
  20. You are special, so be you.

| Permalink


Post a comment