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Day One, Thursday, 3 October, 09.00 – 17.00 (reception 17.00 – 18.00)

Day Two, Friday, 4 October, 09.00 – 13.00


9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. (Breakfast and Lunch are Included)

1. OPENING KEYNOTE: The Legal Profession in a Time of Political Volatility  

Speaker: Stephen Adams, Senior Director, Global Counsel, London

Politics rarely stand still, but the current period of political volatility is reshaping law and policy in potentially far-reaching ways. In areas such as technology, foreign and hostile acquisitions, foreign investment, tax and global trade, established frameworks are changing in ways that can have profound impacts for clients. Do law firms understand what drives these changes and where they will go next? They have mastered the law as it is today, but can they get as comfortable advising on the law as it may be in a very unpredictable tomorrow?  


To what extent are law firms themselves likely to find themselves under scrutiny through this period? Are the conventional models of law firm design and practice resilient in the face of the same challenges confronting their clients? In areas such as tax or technological change, do they need to have one eye on political challenges to their own models of operation?


2. State of the Market: In Flux and In Play

A panel of blue chip chairmen, managing partners, and other leaders assess the market at a time when legal spend is increasing to record highs, demand is up, and in most cases profits are going up; yet there is global uncertainty about the economy, tariffs and trade wars, BREXIT, and a host of other geo-political issues. We will address the fallout from a number of these concerns for global law firms including: • Growing profits when fee earner costs continue to rise, recruiting top legal talent is more expensive and substantial  technology investments are necessary • Where are firms placing their investment bets, and what does this mean for their future direction and performance?  Should the highest priority be investing in preferred practice areas in key markets? • With the changing nature of the work force, there are now considerations and challenges such as flexible and virtual working, work-life balance, lifestyle values of millennials—how do you align your strategy with the new employee values? • What impact will a business slowdown have on law firms, and how do you prepare and execute an effective plan to deal with it?  Will it lead to more consolidation of firms? • Law firms are not immune to the changes affecting every type of business and services today.  What is the single biggest change each of our panelists has undertaken in the last year, and what do they expect will be an important innovation in the next year? • Is culture overrated as a prime value when money seems to generate the prime motivation for the boom in lateral hiring, attracting new talent and measuring success? • Profits across the board were up at most firms by a substantial amount in 2018, and what steps should you take to make this a reality again in 2019 as costs rise and the pace of change require significant investment?  What leading indicators do you use?

3. “Outward Looking Strategies” to Meet Client Priorities

This year’s key theme is focus on the client.  In this session we will examine how firms are responding to client demands for global capability and how international fee income can drive growth.  What kind of meaningful, innovative collaboration with clients will enhance your standing?  There also are new dimensions to providing legal advice including more business/ industry focus, alignment of legal goals with strategies of the client, and metrics to assess risk and potential outcomes and solutions.  What kind of structures do you need internally to communicate effectively, deal with potential trouble spots with a client, and improve client satisfaction with your services? A frequent flash point is legal fees above budgeted amounts where the general counsel is unaware in advance of these costs, faces internal pressure to control them, or seeks a discount at the matter’s conclusion.


4. The Clients Speak

General counsel will explain how they are driving change with their legal service providers including how they project the role of alternative legal service providers (“ALSP”) and how they now expect firms to work together on different aspects of transactions and disputes.  They also will discuss how they assess the performance of legal service providers, and the impact of the score cards on their hiring decisions.  They will describe how they see law departments expanding their internal  capabilities.  


5. Strategy and Governance:  

In an era of exponential disruption, firms face serious challenges to implementing strategy and sticking to their plans.  No firm can afford to be caught off guard.  What are the best approaches?  The March of the Big 4 and alternative legal suppliers becoming global forces:  we will analyze the latest developments and how law firms are responding.  Succession planning is more essential than ever, and complicated.  Check in on globalization and nationalism: whether and how firms are adjusting their strategies.


6. Talent: Creating an Agile Law Firm.

A fast paced segment centering on five topics of prime interest: a) integrating laterals to improve success rates; b) the  science of collaboration and its bottom line impact; c) culture, organizational structure and expanding roles for data scientists, analysts, technologists and other non-legal professionals; d) fostering well-being and engagement: lessons from legal  industry leaders; e) gender pay gaps, and enhanced diversity programs.


7. Technology, Innovation, Disruption:  Making Sense of the Legal Tech Landscape

Firms move forward with new products, separate business units, collaborations with clients and other noteworthy forays into the new landscape.  Also harnessing the power of data analytics for maximum advantage.  Update on ABS development in the UK and elsewhere. New approaches to work space and real estate. 

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