In-Person Conference Survey: Majority Feel Confident

A new survey about in-person conferences in the legal tech sector has found that a large majority – 70.6% of people – ‘feel confident and look forward to attending in-person events in 2021’.

The survey was conducted by business development and events group, Cosmonauts, which organises Artificial Lawyer’s ‘Legal Innovators‘ conferences in London and in the US.

The survey also found that of those respondents who were happy to attend in-person events, 97.2% were also comfortable with travelling to get there.

However, this is not going to be a return to the old normal, and respondents also stated that they wanted some safety measures in place (see below).

The top three preferences were: use of masks, social distancing still kept in place, and thermometer checks. Interestingly, only 26.4%, or a just over a quarter of people, said they wanted health declarations, i.e. proof of vaccination or a recent test result.

This seems to suggest a willingness to maintain the same kind of behaviours at conferences that many people in countries such as the US and UK already have for going about their daily lives outside of work, e.g. how you’d behave if you went shopping. I.e. keep some distance and wear masks where sensible.

Although the survey didn’t ask about this, it’s worth pointing out that in the UK over 75% of the adult population have now had one vaccination, and around 43% have also now had the second dose.

In short, many of the people who would be attending an in-person event in the legal / legal tech sector have now been vaccinated. And these figures will improve week-by-week. Getting to the point where nearly everyone who attends an event – in the UK at least – has been vaccinated may not be that far away.

Other data that the survey gathered looked at the kind of events people would be happy to attend (see below). 77.8% said that gatherings of more than 100 were fine for them.

And at the time of the survey’s completion, i.e. end of May 2021, the majority of respondents said that either their employer was now giving the go ahead to attend events in 2021, or they could just make their own choice either way. In relation to employer rules, that seems highly likely to increase in favour of allowing event attendance as more people get vaccinated.

Also, several law firms that this site has talked to have said they will have some form of regular office attendance from September this year. If staff are travelling into work, spending time in the office, and going to meetings, then it’s logical to consider that law firms and tech companies will also be happy to allow their staff to attend industry events.

Overall then, a realistic but confident approach from the survey sample, i.e. the use of sensible precautions, but a clear willingness to get on with in-person events.

Survey Demographics:

Thanks to Cosmonauts for doing the survey.

P.S. here’s some recent data via Google of death rates in the UK.

Data: Google / UK Authorities.

Although new variants will inevitably keep arriving, and that these in turn will push up transmission, the death rate appears to have fallen dramatically and this is clearly the result of vaccination.

One last thought is that each month we will probably see the arrival of some form of new variant. That seems inevitable for some time to come, perhaps until the majority of the world is vaccinated and the virus is really cornered globally.

In which case, there will have to be a degree of living with this situation, and perhaps those in the most high-risk groups will need booster vaccinations. However, as long as mortality rates remain very low – and that does seem to be the case now, at least in the UK – then it makes sense to engage with this ‘new normal’ and proceed with our lives, albeit still with some precautions.