We are moving, by necessity, into the age of the virtual conference. The most recent announcement being the cancellation of the IBA Miami 2020 conference and its replacement with a virtual one. Virtual conferences democratise conferences - many who would not normally be able to pay the air fares, hotel bills and registration fee - are now able to attend. This is particularly true for younger lawyers. There are many upsides: there is the opportunity to attend many more conferences in a year than in the pre-Covid-19 world; younger lawyers will get the opportunity to learn from senior figures and many of us will attend industry conferences in the non-legal sector. The downside is that we will have to work harder at building relationships and finding real connections but even this is possible with real effort. We also will expect more from the conference providers than a series of Zoom meetings - those who are able to provide visually stimulating, and technically accomplished conferences will be the winners.
Most top shelf live conferences are limited to an exclusive group of people who can afford the cost of registration, airfare, hotel rooms, and in some cases, childcare.