Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Funny Man, Serious Message

This past Saturday I attended the Los Angeles Paralegal Association Fall Conference. It was held at the Omni Hotel in downtown LA. I didn't attend as a speaker, but as a paralegal looking to fulfill continuing education requirements.

I took two corporate classes - one on securities law, the other on global corporate organization (sounds exciting, doesn't it?) The third and final class was a mandatory class on ethics. The entire conference was beneficial and very well organized.

The highlight, however, was the the key note speaker, Kenny Kahn, a prominent Los Angeles criminal defense attorney turned author. Kahn, who handled many high-profile cases during his colorful career, started his talk with a large block of jokes, some funny, some not-so-much. At first I thought: Groan, are we going to be listening to this for 30 minutes? But Khan, in true trial lawyer fashion, was setting his audience up, getting them to put down their guards so he could go for the jugular. Or in this case, their hearts and sense of responsibility.

The meat of Kahn's message was education, and as soon as the joke set-up had done its job (all of which were based on his own unbelievable life), he nailed us with the importance of education and how it changed not only his life but how it can change lives across the board. But Kenny Kahn doesn't just talk about eduction, he walks the walk by personally sponsoring Word Power Essay Contests for students and by teaching communications to kids from all walks of life.

I bought Kahn's book, The Carney Kid. I haven't had time to read it yet, but I look forward to it.

If any of you need an inspirational speaker for an event, this is your guy! Just don't hold it against him that he's a lawyer. And make sure you check out his website. His personal story is the stuff movies are made of.

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