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Cordially Invites You to

13th Annual

COO/CFO/C-Level Roundtable on

Business & Financial Management

Spring 2024

In Person

University Club, 1 West 54th Street

New York City

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT

This year’s Conference features a look at what’s on the minds of top COOs and C-level business leaders including AI strategy and risks, cybersecurity crisis management, as well as economic realities.  With inflation reaching 7%, firms need to re-assess the consequences and fallout of higher interest rates. Inflation may eat up marginal rate growth. 

People, Process and Technology

People, process and technology management is key to the change management this year.  To navigate the rapidly changing world of technology, firms may need people with different skills sets.  Also, firms need to approach talent through the prism of change management.  As AI changes the game, how will firms react? 

Another key issue is controlling expenses and making investments in AI technology and people, as well as in firm infrastructure.  In good times no one wants to implement expense controls.  How will firms approach this need?

9 Questions the Panel Will Answer

  • Has the economy recovered or will inflation bury the recovery? How strong or weak is the current economic recovery?

  • Will law firm rate and fee increases stick?

  • The clients’ say expense pressures are greater than ever; so why are firm rate increases causing so little push back?

  • What is your headcount strategy?

  • First year associates classes are smaller than in recent years.  Why are firms reluctant to hire more first year associates?

  • AFAs (alternate fee arrangements) are more prevalent than ever.  72% of AmLaw 100 firms are using AFA’s. Is this the clients’ answer to rate increases?

  • “Is your firm infrastructure strong enough to support future growth?”

  • What are firms’ doing to deal with higher inflation than contemplated in earlier budgeting exercises?  With interest rates almost twice as high as last years’ interest rates, firms may need to implement specific (and additional) cost control measures. 

  • People solve problems and implement change.  What new positions/job titles do you need to confront todays’ challenges?  Who are the key dream team members you need?

Faculty Discussion Leaders:

Vishal Agnihotri, Senior Director, Knowledge and Innovation, Alston & Bird, New York

Ralph Allen, Chief Operating Officer, Kelley Drye & Warren LLP, New York

Adam Chernichaw, Partner, A&O Shearman, New York

Katrina Dittmer, Director of Legal Technology, Eversheds Sutherland, New York

Anne M. Falvey, Chief Knowledge Officer, Sidley Austin LLP, New York

Ira D. Frome, Regional COO/CFO, Clifford Chance US LLP, New York

Clare Hart, Chief Executive Officer, Williams Lea, New York

Matt Kelly, Counsel, Debevoise & Plimpton, New York

David M. Kleinhandler, Senior Vice President, CBRE, New York

Colleen F. Nihill, Chief Knowledge Management & Practice Services Officer, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Philadelphia, PA

Victor Nuñez, Chief Operating Officer, Cooley, New York

Brian Schare, Chief Operating Officer, Schulte Roth & Zabel, New York

Eric J. Sekler, Chief Operating Officer, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, New York

Iris Skornicki, Director of Knowledge Solutions, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP,

New York

Roger Wilkes, Chief Operating Officer, Perkins Coie LLP, New York


Topics for Discussion:

9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. EDT

Business and Financial Issues

  • Controlling expenses

  • Policy and process reassessment

  • Economic issues

  • Client service opportunities

  • Cybersecurity

    • Breach protocols

    • Danger signs

    • Remediation

AI for Business and Operational Uses

  • Budgeting, pricing, and predictive analysis

  • Chat GPT and AI enhancements; large language models

  • Investment in AI tools, services, people

  • Access and deployment schedules

  • AI risks and controls

    • Conflicts for vendors, staff


  • COOs get a seat at the table (finally)

  • Strategic planning; meeting the needs of the partners

  • Succession planning for senior business executives

  • Differentiating business functions

  • Creating a leadership team for today and tomorrow

  • Short and long-term planning

Recruiting and Training and Development

  • On-boarding

  • Off-boarding

  • Lateral integration for partners, groups, mergers

  • Training and development

    • Remote and in-person

Who’s on the Business Team?

  • Pricing specialists, project managers

  • Knowledge management/AI

  • Client service engagement

  • Billing and collections team

  • Business development, marketing

  • Risk management

  • Data protection and data strategy

Real Estate and Working Differently

  • Where and when to work

  • Pluses and minuses of hybrid work—changing workplace environment

  • Designing and re-designing space

  • Hoteling and open space for collaboration

  • Generational differences and preferences

Outside Counsel Guidelines

  • Latest additions—AI, Data protection, cybersecurity

  • E-billing and collections

  • Write-offs

Program Organizer:

Sandpiper Partners is an educational firm run by highly successful entrepreneur, Lynn Glasser, who has decades of experience producing educational solutions for law firms, law departments, legal vendors and information providers serving the legal industry. Sandpiper Partners presents seven Legal Market annual conferences in major U.S. legal centers from New York to California and London. At Sandpiper Partners, the Glassers designed and implemented the first ever Executive MBA for Law Firm Managers.

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