Webinars, which stream presentations over the Internet to lawyers and business executives in their own offices, have been gaining popularity among Connecticut firms.
Unlike traditional seminars, participants don't need to spend time and money traveling to organized events. These are less polished presentations. The topics often involve environmental, employment and labor law because of frequent legislative actions in these areas.
"Since the economic downturn, we've seen a shift from seminars to webinars," said Mary A. Davidson, director of marketing and business development for Day Pitney. Her firm recently held a conference for clients and invited guests on labor and employment law. It followed up with a webinar, so clients could focus on the areas that interested them the most.
"Typically, people who organize seminars are starting to look to the webinars for information because they are quick and you don't need to rent space. They can be held over lunchtime," Davidson said. "The webinar really allows you to tackle a topic quickly, as opposed to a pre-planned seminar that you have to mark on your calendar."
Most firms don't charge participants for webinars. "Our No. 1 goal is to provide value to our existing clients," Davidson said. While large live seminars won't "go away anytime soon," Davidson said, the webinar format has appeal for clients who want access to information more quickly.
Marnie Rubin, director of legal recruiting and professional development at Robinson & Cole, said the firm uses seminars and webinars internally "for professional development" and externally "as a client service."
The Hartford-based firm presents about a dozen such programs a year, in practice areas that include employment, energy and environmental law. They often use events in the news as jumping off points. For example, after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Robinson & Cole attorneys worked with a shipping company to create a PowerPoint presentation on maritime environmental law for other corporate clients.
"I think using real-life situations and facts can be a great teaching tool," said Robinson & Cole marketing director Brian T. Smith.
LEARNING BY TEACHING