by Brian Mahany
Several months ago (November 9th, to be exact), I wrote a post about Marcus Evans. For those not familiar with the company, it is a global provider of conferences and summits. According to their website and CEO, the company employs 3000 people and puts out about 2000 events per year.
I was incredibly skeptical at first. Their prices seemed to be sky high compared to similar offerings, or so I thought. The misinformation floating around the Internet painted a terrible picture too. Let me be the first to say that I was wrong.
Boy, was I wrong.
Initially I was swayed by some rather disturbing information from purported ex-employees floating around on the web. I say “purported” because we all know how easy it is to make up a profile and post junk on various rating sites.
Shortly after making my post – you can read it here – I received a call from the CEO of the company. Rather than threatening me about the post, he simply asked if I would travel to Florida at their cost and view one of his events geared towards lawyers. How could I say no? The only thing asked of me was to come down, keep an open mind and observe.
The Chief Litigation Officer Summit sponsored by the Marcus Evans organization was earlier this week. Within 5 minutes I realized it wasn’t a scam. Within 24 hours I signed up for the next 2 events (and am paying full price).
The company has been running the summits for about 8 years. According to one of their on-site customer service representatives they have an 80% retention rate. I believe it.
Most of the lawyers I talked to have been attending 5, 6 and 7 years. In other words, once they go they become lifers. Lest you think the company will take anyone’s money, the event was sold out.
For those not familiar with the “summit,” the company matches law firms with the chief legal officers from large Fortune 100 and international companies. I was skeptical until I met the general counsels from one of the largest insurance companies, a huge steel company, an automobile manufacturer… you get the picture.
As a small law firm, I would never get to meet any of these folks. Even if I could, it would take thousands of dollars and months of flying around the country to do what the company does in 3 days. It’s like speed dating but with people from top law firms and billion dollar companies.
The cost is very high but everybody I spoke with says the contacts and work they found made the price well worth it. Factor in the time value of money and the opportunity to meet with the top companies from all over the world and the price seems very reasonable.
One lawyer I met, we will call him “AJ,” said he found that conference so beneficial that when his firm wouldn’t pay he started shelling out the $50,000 attendance fee from his own pocket. How many people can say they like something so much that they will pay $50,ooo?
Lest anyone think that I have become a cheerleader for the company, I haven’t. The posts from the purported ex-employees still disturb me. (The employees I spoke with all seemed genuinely happy, however.) A few attendees told of me of others that went and didn’t get the meetings they anticipated or never received work. There are no guarantees, obviously, so $50,000 is a great deal of money to spend if you get nothing out of the process.
The “veterans” I spoke with all say that you have to be really good to land work with Fortune 100 companies. If your team can’t handle the work or isn’t ready to deliver their A game, don’t go. No amount of money can help you get work if you can’t make a good impression.
This is the first time since blogging (600 posts later) that I have delivered a mea culpa – The product from Marcus Evans and their staff is outstanding.
If anyone wants more information, feel free to call me.
(414) 704-6731 (direct)