The 2019 Association of Corporate Counsel Annual Meeting is getting close.  On October 27-30 in Phoenix, thousands of top legal leaders and in-house talent will be on hand, along with top-tier services and technology providers.

This year, there’ll be change on the dry Arizona wind. As was pointed out at Interact 2019, the swing toward legal tech adoption and co-innovation between its users and providers has gained surprising momentum over 2018-2019.

So transformation is one word that’s liable to be on everyone’s lips at ACC Annual, along with disruption, sea-change, revolution, and what’s the best taqueria in town?

Maybe not the last one, but it ought to be. It’s Phoenix, after all. No, it’s not Austin, but it’s definitely got its own high points.

Here, then, are nine excellent reasons not to miss the 2019 ACC Annual Meeting. Feel free to print out this post and attach it to your travel request.  We’re sure at least some of them will help make your case.

2019 ACC Annual Meeting
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Swag, glorious swag!

Let’s get down to cases: Everyone loves freebies, and ACC Annual has plenty of them. At Dictionary.com, swag is defined as “free merchandise distributed as part of the promotion of a product, company, etc.” Though the Australian definition isn’t far off when you think about conference attendees trooping booth-to-booth with bags full of premiums: “a traveler’s bundle containing personal belongings, cooking utensils, food, or the like.”

So the often high-quality, high-value swag that’s available at an ACC Annual is a good reason to attend. While we’re on the subject? We hear there’s some epic swag to be had at Booth #300, just off the main entrance..!

Discuss the rise of Legal Operations

According to the Corporate Legal Operation Consortium (CLOC), 39% of respondents to the State of the Industry survey said the size of their FTE legal operations team had beem increased in 2018.  But just 23% of those in small to midsize legal departments said they though they’d benefit by hiring a Legal Ops professional, showing there’s continued uncertainty about its place in smaller companies. That survey included 176 members of the ACC.

Uncertain economic times may make them more reluctant to deploy Legal Ops. The pressures on legal departments to perform like efficient business units, though, will undoubtedly trickle down from large companies to these enterprises, over time. So Legal Ops will probably be a lively discussion point for ACC Annual attendees, both in and outside of sessions.

Pick up a few Lessons Learned from the Fortune 500

Speaking of Legal Ops, Mitratech’s Brian McGovern will be on hand to present a version of his session that saw rave reviews at Interact 2019Lessons learned from the Fortune 500: User Learnings from Implementing e-Billing and Matter Management. 

He’ll conduct live, on-stage interviews with legal department leaders who have gained visibility and control over legal spend by implementing e-Billing and matter management software systems. Their hard-won experiences and learned best practices will give attendees some potent guidance when it comes to transforming legal operations at their own organization.

Stay on top of legal tech trends

Legal tech adoption is increasing, with 37% of respondents to the State of the Industry survey claiming to spend above $750,000 on LegalTech in 2018, with 72% of legal teams having drafted a roadmap for planning future technology investments. The areas where legal tech has gotten the most traction?  Contract management and e-billing, as you might predict, since they’re bedrock functions within most legal departments.

Phlatter your palate with Phoenix cuisine

Phoenix, AZWe talked about tacos, but there’s far more to Phoenix, of course, if you can leave the confines of the Convention Center or your hotel. Autumn is a time of many festivals, first of all, so snowbirds who get tired of waiting to see the cacti change color (hint: they won’t) can find a variety of restaurants of every kind, food fests, and more in the area. There are numerous food tours, too, such as the Scottsdale Trolley, that will whet your appetite with everything Phoenix can offer.

Closer to home, the Arizona Center is a charming outdoor mall with many restaurants, within easy walking distance of the Convention Center.

Get CLE/CPD credit

Attending ACC Annual this year can earn you continuing education and certification credits. The International Association of Privacy Professional (IAPP), for instance, will provide 1 CPE/hour of attendance for every 60 minutes of instruction an attendee gets at the conference.  And the Compliance Certification Board (CCB) has approved this program for a maximum 28.8 CCB Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

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There may not be a better place to network with your fellow corporate legal professionals, frankly. There are over 30 hours’ worth of networking events planned at this year’s conference, allowing you to connect with people from around the globe, not only the U.S.  New members and first-time attendees even get their own special gatherings so they’ll be able to smoothly become part of the entire ACC community.

Have a 1:1 with legal tech experts

Yes, we’re stumping for ourselves (again!), but ACC Annual is a perfect opportunity for legal professionals to meet Mitratech leaders and sit down with our solutions experts.  These 1:1 product demos and problem-solving conversations about TeamConnect, TAP, LegalHold and other software offerings will empower you to make smarter, more informed decisions about your legal tech stack and adoption roadmap. And they’re a good way to put our 100% client focus and knowledgeability to the test.

Learn from the ACC Value Champions

This year, like last year, we’re looking forward to presentations given by Champions of the ACC Value Challenge.  Many of the biggest legal departments in the land are among them, but there are also innovators you’d never expect (or even heard of) rounding out the field. In 2018, companies ranging from Eaton and Walmart to Pure Storage and Tahal Group B.V. were among the Champions.

This year, Bank of America, AbbVie, MassMutual and Toyota are among  those recognized, and will walk attendees through their methodologies so others can implement transformative management practices.