In 1975, the South Carolina Bar and the South Carolina State Bar merged to create the current South Carolina Bar, which includes more than 15,000 members. The organization rotates the location of its annual convention throughout the state each year, taking place at Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center in 2012 and 2015, and it is scheduled to return in 2020.
On average, the annual conference draws 1,110 attendees who require more than 600 total room nights. In most cases the attendees drive in from around the Carolinas. However, several speakers fly in to make presentations from around the country.
"The Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center is one of the few venues in the state that is large enough to accommodate the majority of our seminars and events under one roof," says Caitlin Santore, who has played an integral role in planning these conventions for SCB. The focus is on providing members an opportunity to earn required Continuing Legal Education credit hours, while also being able to network with their fellow peers, she says.
"We didn't use any off-site venues for our most recent convention in Columbia. It's a beautiful building and the updates that have been made recently are top-notch," Santore adds. We spoke briefly with Santore to get more feedback on the CMCC and why it makes so much sense for this event to return here time and time again.
Why did SCB choose Columbia for this annual convention?
With the central geographical location, Columbia is an easy commute for our drive-in attendees. We work with many of the downtown area hotels, too. The Hilton, however, has remained our headquarters hotel.
What are some of the benefits associated with using this venue?
The CMCC is centrally located to all of the hotels we work with for the event, as well as the historic Vista [area] with shops and restaurants for our attendees to enjoy.
How has the staff helped during the planning process for your conferences held at CMCC?
The individuals we have [dealt] with directly have been friendly and easy to work with. They're all great and [so is the caterer]!