American Bar 4000 Attorneys To Return To Miami For 2007 Conference
By Jaime Levy
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The American Bar Association plans to bring 4,000 attorneys to town in 2007 for a meeting the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau says could have a $3.7 million economic impact.
Between Feb. 7-11 that year, the national organization plans to hold mid-winter meetings using 10 downtown Miami hotels.
The booking casts a rainbow above gloom-and-doom tourism forecasts in South Florida, said Bill Talbert, bureau president and CEO.
"It’s an affirmation of Miami as a convention destination," he said, "and it’s a positive signal that will continue to energize the sales staff. It’s great news. It’s a high-profile, prestigious client and obviously we can leverage those bookings with other clients."
Downtown Miami beat out competing locations that included New Orleans, Atlanta and San Antonio for the 2007 conference, said Tom Fritz, chair of the Bar Association’s standing committee on meetings and travel.
"I think Miami is a perfect destination for members of the ABA due to its climate, beauty and especially since your rejuvenation of some of the local downtown hotels," Mr. Fritz said.
Miami last hosted a major American Bar meeting in 1995. Mr. Fritz said the Bar would likely continue to consider Miami as a site for mid-winter meetings.
"We are courted by various cities frequently and your Miami convention bureau and the locals have made a very strong pitch for it," he said. "It sounds like an exciting time."
He said one local resident helping draw the convention to the area was Hilarie Bass, an attorney with Greenberg Traurig who serves on Mr. Fritz’ committee.
"I think Miami is a wonderful convention city," Ms. Bass said. "I think we have a tremendous amount to offer and I’m excited to bring a group I’m very involved with down here.
"It’s a great group to have," she said, "because they spend a lot of money."
Seven of the 10 hotels the group will use have been named. The Hotel Inter-Continental Miami will be convention headquarters. Others are to include the Biscayne Bay Marriott Hotel & Marina, Doubletree Grand Hotel Biscayne Bay, Hyatt Regency Miami, JW Marriott, Mandarin Oriental, Renaissance and Sheraton Biscayne Bay.
Although the convention will be based downtown chosen over Miami Beach due to the size and cost range of hotels Mr. Talbert and Mr. Fritz both said the impact of the meeting would be felt throughout the county.
"I would anticipate and expect there will be a lot of lawyers on Miami Beach that week," said Mr. Fritz, a partner with Lynn Jackson Shultz & LeBrun in Rapid City, SD.