The 2021 Professional Development Institute will be held December 2-3, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Professional Development Institute delivers timely and substantive programming for all involved in lawyer training and professional development. Submitting a conference proposal is your opportunity to share your expertise and tap your creativity by developing an original program for presentation at the event.
Attendees at the Professional Development Institute
- Attendees are responsible for lawyer training and professional development.
- Attendees seek to increase their knowledge and skills in lawyer training and development and learn what others are successfully doing in this area.
- Attendees' levels of experience vary, although the majority is very experienced in this field, with over 10 years of experience.
- Over half of the attendees will have attended PDI four or more times.
- Law student professional development is important at law schools and law school career professionals attend this conference as they are able.
Proposal Selection Criteria
Each proposal will be carefully reviewed by the PDI Planning Team. The team will review proposals based on:
- Extent to which the proposal targets and is relevant to PDI attendees
- Experience and expertise of presenters/speakers
- Definition and focus of the topic
- Practical application of material
- Timeliness and importance of topic
- Overall program quality
- Advanced content
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; and
- Include presenters who have significant expertise in the topic area and can speak successfully in front of large groups.
Although PDI programming each year includes sessions at different levels, our biggest challenge is getting strong programs at the advanced level. If appropriate, consider how your proposed session can be targeted at a high level.
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 team 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.
Note: In recent years we have had a very high response rate of quality programming proposals through our RFP process. In 2020, approximately 44% of the proposals received were accepted. We therefore encourage you to review these guidelines carefully to ensure your proposal is a serious contender.
Additional Guidelines for Consultants
We receive many proposals from consultants who offer great expertise and valuable outside perspectives. Each year, PDI’s programming has demonstrated this group’s valuable contributions. At the same time, we tend to receive many more proposals from consultants than there actually is space for, and often need to make some difficult decisions in selecting amongst them. We encourage you therefore to carefully consider both the above tips and the following:
- Successful sessions usually teach how PD professionals can implement a program/service/etc., at their own firm, without necessarily hiring consultant assistance. Ultimately attendees might decide to hire someone outside the firm 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 PD professionals 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 PDI 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 PDI attendees to get their feedback.
- Participants do not react well to outright marketing of someone’s 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.
Requirements for Speakers
- Commit to the presentation of a program at designated times during the conference, December 2-3, 2021, in Washington, DC;
- 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.
- Presenters must provide handout materials. The materials must be submitted in electronic form by November 12. Handouts will be provided to attendees on a conference app. We will not photocopy materials for distribution.
- NALP has determined that programs with more than four speakers are ineffective. Your proposal may not include more than four speakers, including the moderator if one is needed.
Limited travel funds are available for speakers who are not NALP members. In consideration of our not-for-profit status, we encourage PDI 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.
All speakers can attend the conference on the day that they are speaking. All speakers can attend the entire conference for a 50% registration fee.
- June 1 – proposal deadline
- July 31 – all applicants will be notified about the status of their proposal
- December 2-3, 2021 – Professional Development Institute in Washington, DC
Your Next Steps: Links for Submitting a Proposal
Download a Word version of the proposal 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 RFP in Word and then type your proposal in word processing software. You can then cut 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 proposals online: All proposals must be submitted using the online system.
- Descriptions for sessions in the 2019 PDI brochure (PDF): If you are new to PDI, you may want to see which sessions were ultimately accepted for the 2019 conference.
Ideas to get you thinking (PDF): To provide some initial ideas on possible topics, members of past Professional Development Institute planning teams were asked what topics they would like to attend. This list is provided as a beginning, and will hopefully spark interesting ideas as you consider submitting a proposal to speak at this exciting conference.
Note: You are welcome to submit more than one proposal but each proposal requires a separate online submission.
NALP’s Annual Education Conference
NALP’s 2022 Annual Education Conference will take place April 5-8, 2022 in New Orleans. If you would like a program of yours to be considered for this conference, you must submit a separate proposal - see the NALP Annual Education Conference Request for Proposals page for more information.