Lawyers and SXSW—Oil and Water or Cookies and Milk?

Why would a lawyer want to attend SXSW? 

You can strike up a conversation with nearly anyone at SXSW—with fellow passengers on a shuttle ride, with the people standing next to you in line, with people at bar on 6th street, or even with a table sitting next to you at a restaurant.  We met some really awesome folks in many of those ways at SXSW—musicians, developers, entrepreneurs, and creatives of all kinds. We decided to devote a couple of PHOSITA posts to the questions people asked us the most.  Check out our previous post here.  This post is devoted to “you’re a lawyer, why are you at SXSW?”  Here are three reasons why we decided to make the investment and attend SXSW:  

  1. Networking.  Duh. 
  2. To gain perspective.  Lawyers often look at things from one perspective, their own.  Lawyers sleep, eat, and breathe statutes, treatises, and legal briefs.  Consuming this much law makes it nearly impossible not to think and speak legalese.  SXSW is a metaphorical step outside of that world.  SXSW will shift your point of view.  You will begin to think like an entrepreneur.  You will be inspired to take risks instead of think of every single possible reason why to avoid them.  You will begin to think like your clients.  Gaining this new perspective is incredibly valuable to your professional development as an attorney.
  3. To become inspired.  As an intellectual property attorney, your work can feel like a small piece of the jigsaw puzzle of innovation and creativity. SXSW gave us a 10,000 foot view of the whole creative industry.  From pitches to sessions to actual product demos on the trade show floor, by the end of the conference we saw a convergence of all the pieces involved in innovation.  We left with a renewed sense of how important our role is in innovation and frankly, how bad ass it is to be a part of the creative and innovative revolution. 

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons



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