Industry-Wide Confidence Shines Through At ICSC’s 2016 Law Conference
The 2016 ICSC Law Conference was held last week at the Diplomat Resort in Hollywood, Florida. Attendance was very strong this year, with over 1425 lawyers, paralegals, lease administrators, brokers and other retail real estate professionals attending. The strong participation seems to reflect wider confidence in our industry, with companies willing to send their teams to the Conference for both learning and networking. The overall tone of the Conference was very upbeat – with lots of conversation about new projects, redevelopment, new concepts and exciting changes in our industry.
Of particular note was the focus on the impact of the internet on bricks and mortar and the general changes resulting from the expanding and changing use of social media on the operations of landlords and tenants. There were seminars, workshops and roundtables to discuss the issues presented by omni channel retail. The discussions were lively as lawyers grappled with the impact of this rapidly changing segment of the business on leases and other documents, many of which were drafted long before the internet and omni channel retailing existed.
The evolution in technology affects not only issues pertaining to leases and other transactional documents, it also has accelerated the pace of transactions. The Law Conference has always presented the opportunity for real estate practitioners to meet one another in person. Never has this networking opportunity been more important. Deals often spawn a flurry of emails with leasing, property management, risk management, lease administration, all responding at the same time. While many believe this communication over email brings efficiency, there is no substitute for a personal relationship. Often, a phone call with someone you met at the Law Conference can help the parties find common ground on a difficult issue. Between the sessions, the opening reception, the first-timers and NextGen events and other networking opportunities, the Law Conference fostered many opportunities to put names, emails addresses and faces together.
The Conference also took a huge step forward in its use of technology, with a conference app, on line evaluations, and lots of activity on twitter! We look forward to next year’s conference October 25-28 in San Antonio, Texas!