Annual Education Conference 2014
Request for Proposals
NALP invites you to submit a proposal for the 2015 Annual Education Conference, which will be held on April 22-25, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. NALP’s Annual Education Conference offers innovative and timely information through sophisticated educational programs presented by knowledgeable speakers. These educational programs cover an array of topics to meet the broad needs of NALP’s diverse membership. This is your opportunity to share your expertise and tap your creativity by developing an original program for presentation at the conference.
What is NALP?
NALP is an association of over 2,500 legal career professionals who advise law students, lawyers, law offices, and law schools in North America and beyond. What brings NALP members together is a common belief in three fundamental things. First, all law students and lawyers should benefit from a fair and ethical hiring process. Second, law students and lawyers are more successful when supported by professional development and legal career professionals. Third, a diverse and inclusive legal profession best serves clients and our communities. That’s why NALP members work together every day to collect and publish accurate legal employment data and information, and champion education and standards for recruiting, professional and career development, and diversity and inclusion. For more than forty years, NALP has played an essential role in the success of our members and the lawyers and law students they serve.
About NALP's Members
NALP’s members include virtually all of the ABA-accredited US law schools, most Canadian law schools, and more than 1,000 legal employers. Audiences at NALP programs typically include legal career services professionals, recruitment/personnel administrators, and attorney professional development managers, as well as management and support staff, hiring attorneys, counselors, training directors, diversity directors, law faculty, human resources directors, law school deans, assistant deans, bar representatives and legal consultants.
NALP members are key players in a highly complex, people-centered profession and are well-informed about historical and contemporary topics and trends in legal education, recruitment and law practice management. Women outnumber men in the field of legal career planning and recruiting and, generally, as members of NALP audiences. There are NALP members both with JD degrees and without them. NALP members have various levels of experience, ranging from beginning professionals to experienced professionals with considerable expertise.
NALP members appreciate challenging topics and are noted for their high expectations. Like all adult learners, NALP members are eager to interact with those presenting information and especially appreciate educational programs that offer concrete ideas that can be adapted for and implemented in their organizations.
Breadth and Range of Topics Sought
NALP seeks a broad range of topical presentations for its annual education conference. Appropriate topic areas include (but are not limited to):
- entry level and lateral lawyer recruiting and integration
- law school career counseling
- lawyer professional development and training
- law student professional development and professionalism
- law student public interest counseling
- public interest lawyer career pathways
- diversity and inclusion (particularly programs that focus on sustaining women and minorities in legal careers)
- management and leadership
- law firm economics and business models
- impact of the economy on the profession
- alternative careers
- judicial clerkships
- research on lawyers and legal careers
- personal professional development
Proposal Selection Criteria
Each proposal will be reviewed by the Annual Education Conference Planning Committee. The committee will review proposals based on:
- Extent to which the proposal targets and is relevant to NALP members
- Experience/expertise of presenters/speakers
- Definition and focus of the topic
- Practical application of material
- Timeliness and importance of topic
- Overall program quality
Proposals should illustrate that the speakers will make every effort to present a balanced point of view in each program. When developing a panel presentation, speakers from multiple organizations and perspectives should be chosen.
In addition each program proposal should:
- Encourage active learning (indicate in the proposal what active learning strategies you will use to engage the audience in the session instead of having them passively listen to information; some possibilities include case study exercises, role playing, small group discussion, facilitated brainstorming, action plans, quick quizzes, etc.);
- Demonstrate innovative thinking;
- Present ideas, best practices, and/or relevant research for positioning attendees as leaders within their organizations;
- Present strategies for effective implementation of information learned once attendees are back at their offices;
- Include presenters who have significant expertise in the topic area and can speak successfully in front of large groups.
The proposal form will ask you for a program description, learning objectives, and instructional methods. In providing this information, please provide enough detail so the planning committee can understand how the session will be structured and what key issues will be covered.
Incomplete proposals will not be considered and all proposals must be submitted using this online system.
SPECIAL NOTE: Individuals submitting proposals with multiple speakers should contact everyone included in the proposal to verify their interest and commitment in participating before submitting the proposal. It is important that panelists be able to attend the conference in Chicago, and that they are willing to participate in the program.
When contacting potential speakers, be sure to indicate that the program is in the proposal stage only, and that final decisions about program acceptance will be made by the conference planning committee, with notification by July 31, 2014. If you have a situation where it is not appropriate to contact and confirm all possible speakers prior to submitting the proposal, you will need to describe those circumstances in the proposal. Preference will be given to proposals where all speakers are confirmed.
Note: In recent years we have had a very high response rate of quality programming proposals through our RFP process. For the 2014 conference, almost one half of the proposals received were accepted. We therefore encourage you to review these guidelines carefully to ensure your proposal is a serious contender.
Requirements for Speakers
- All speakers must commit to the presentation of a program at designated times during the conference, from April 22-25, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois.
- Speakers should grant permission for hard copy and online distribution of supplemental resource materials.
- If you wish to distribute copyrighted information in your supplemental resource materials, it is your responsibility to obtain the necessary permission. Such materials will be distributed only if they are submitted with the publisher’s written permission attached.
- NALP has determined that programs with more than four speakers are ineffective. Please limit your proposal to not more than four speakers.
NALP has determined that online member surveys are not an effective way to prepare for a conference presentation, and therefore strongly discourages the use of NALP member surveys to gather information for a session. Increasing numbers of surveys produce diminished returns for all surveys, and without careful control, small random samples do not provide representative information. Instead, where presenters need to gather information from members in advance of a conference program, NALP recommends the use of targeted outreach calls to garner more meaningful information. If the proposal truly merits a survey, that survey must be requested and approved as part of the original proposal, and then presenters must submit the survey content for review by NALP research staff before administering the survey to NALP members.
Member and Affiliate Member Speakers
Each year more than 100 NALP members serve as volunteer speakers — the conference wouldn’t be the same without these members willing to share their expertise with their peers! Please note that member and affiliate member speakers are responsible for covering their own conference registration and travel expenses.
Submissions from NALP Sections and Interest Groups
If you are submitting a proposal on behalf of a NALP Section or Interest Group, indicate that on the RFP form. Please coordinate proposal submissions with other members of your section. NALP will inform Section chairs which proposals have been submitted for their section after the RFP deadline and which proposals were accepted after decisions are made.
Additional Guidelines for Consultants
We receive many proposals from consultants who offer great expertise and valuable outside perspectives. Each year, the Annual Education Conference’s programming has demonstrated this group’s important contributions. At the same time, we tend to receive more proposals from consultants than there is space for, and often need to make difficult decisions in selecting amongst them. We encourage you to carefully consider both the above tips and the following:
- Successful sessions usually teach NALP members how to implement a program/service/etc., at their own organization, without necessarily hiring consultant assistance. Ultimately attendees might decide to hire someone outside the organization to facilitate or implement a program, but selling your services should not be the focus of the program.
- In some cases, consultants have successfully paired with NALP members to present a session. This is particularly effective when it gives attendees “how-we-did-it” advice from someone in their position.
- Ideally, proposals should reflect content targeted for NALP conference attendees. Proposals that appear to be an existing program for a different audience, such as practicing attorneys, are evaluated less favorably.
- To target your proposal and refine the topic focus, consider speaking with clients and/or past conference attendees to get their feedback.
- Participants do not react well to outright marketing of services during conference education. An indirect approach to marketing will be much more successful. A well-received session, where participants have gained from your particular expertise, is often the very best way of positioning yourself in the market.
Non-member Speakers — Travel Support
Limited travel funds are available for non-member speakers who are not with resource center exhibitors. In consideration of our not-for-profit status, we encourage speakers to support some or all of their travel. The proposal form asks you to indicate the number of speakers who will request travel support funds. For planning purposes, this number cannot increase after program acceptance. Please note that if this field is left blank, we will assume that there are zero requests for travel support, and will plan and budget accordingly.
- May 23, 2014 — proposals due
- July 31, 2014 — all applicants will be notified about the status of their proposals
- April 22-25, 2015 — Annual Education Conference in Chicago, Illinois
Your Next Steps: Links for Submitting a Proposal
- Watch the webinar titled “Tips for Submitting a Strong Conference Proposal,” available at www.nalp.org/webinars. This short program will offer tips for creating a strong proposal for the Chicago conference.
Download a Word version of the submission form: The online RFP system does not allow you to save a copy of your work. We recommend you download a copy of the proposal submission form in Word and then type your proposal in word processing software. You can then copy and paste the text into the online system. This will allow you to save a copy of your work, in addition to using spell check and word counts.
Submit your proposal(s) online: All proposals must be submitted using the online system.
Descriptions for sessions in the 2014 Annual Education Conference brochure (PDF): If you are new to NALP and this conference, you may want to see which sessions were ultimately accepted and/or created for the 2014 conference.
Note: You are welcome to submit more than one proposal but must complete one on-line submission before beginning another.
Going to the 2014 Annual Education Conference? Consider attending “Tips for Submitting a Strong NALP Conference Proposal,” Thursday, April 10 at 3:15 PM, for advice from Dana Mandell, a Vice Chair for the 2014 Conference Planning Team.