Day one, Monday 24 September 2018

9:30 am

Registration and coffee

10:00 am

Welcome and chairman’s opening remarks


10:10 am

Keynote plenary: Our firm’s innovation/transformation journey

Three managing partners / CEOs will each present a fast-paced, TED-style presentation looking at their business model, the challenges and obstacles they faced, how they’ve made it work and how they are driving innovation and change in their firm.  Followed by facilitated joint Q&A.

10:50 am

Cross-sector case study: The people and skills challenges facing the future accountancy practice – and what mid-market legal can learn from our experience

All forward-thinking managing partners in professional services are wrestling with fundamental questions about people, skills and organisational culture.  This has probably always been the case.  But is arguably more important now than ever due to the way in which IT and technological advances are changing the professions. In the future, will the traditional skills of lawyers and accountants continue to be relevant? How can we make sure our firms can deliver value services that are supported by the strategic use of technology?  What new skills and organisational structures will be needed to do this? After a career spent primarily in industry, Ian Carlson joined Old Mill in 2008 and was appointed Managing Director in 2015. He sees addressing these issues as his number one challenge, including:
- getting the right calibre of staff for the challenges we face now and in the near future
- how we can usetechnology to help develop our businesses so thattech and AI do more of the rote work, allowing staff to focus on being valued advisors
- making sure our firms have both the consultancy skills to provide value services and the technical skills to support strategic IT
Ian Carlson, Managing Director, Old Mill
Old Mill is an  ICAEW top 40 ranked accountancy practice based in the West Country, with 4 offices, 300+ staff and a £20m turnover.

Keynote Speaker

11:20 am

Networking break

11:50 am

Facilitated round table discussions (A)

This series of hosted round table discussions (A1 – A9) will focus entirely on how other firms deal with the challenges you face.  These interactive and informal discussions follow Chatham House rules – giving you the freedom to speak your mind.  Small groups allow everyone to participate and each group feeds back, giving all attendees access to the knowledge pool.  These brainstorming sessions will give insight into your peers’ challenges and provide solutions to your own.

There will be two 40-minute sessions.

A1          Our journey from LLP to a corporate structure and what we learned (and are still learning) along the way
Vember Mortlock, Managing Director, Roythornes

A2          Performance measurement:  Developing KPIs that look beyond billable hours
What gets measured gets done.  But how can you measure the success of those with soft client-focused skills?  How can you pin down the contribution of specific individuals in improving clients’ experiences with your firm?
Alison Morley, Director of Sales & Innovation and former Managing Partner, Capsticks

A3          Remuneration strategies:  How we persuaded equity partners to move to market-level salaries
Amanda Glover, Managing Partner, Baker Law

A4          Succession planning:  what should you be doing now to make sure someone can replace you?
We’ll look at:
- identifying a pipeline of potential candidates – who on earth would want to be a managing partner?
- what management experience do you need in your successor
- tips on coaching and mentoring your replacement
- what do you, the current managing partner, have to offer outside of the firm
- how can you prepare so that the decision to step down is made at the right time
Simon Holdsworth, Managing Partner, Thrings

A5          From client triage to data analytics to predictive modelling – how and why we built our own tech platform and what it’s doing, and will do, for the firm
We couldn’t find the on-boarding tech we wanted, so we built it ourselves.  Then we realised that the client and in-house data we were collecting could identify the drivers of cost and case duration in family law, to the benefit of the firm and our clients.  Now we are building an app that will model cost outcomes for clients before the first consultation.  We’ll talk about how we resourced this technical development in a small firm, our work with IBM Watson on data analytics, how we use the platform and our plans for commercialising it.
Alan Larkin, Director & Head of Innovation & Technology, Family Law Partners 

A6          Data Science - the sexiest topic around?
We are very familiar with the value of data analytics but what about data science? Thorntons Law has employed a data scientist for over a year.  Helen Archibald, COO, will describe how Thorntons has benefitted from this, speak about the insights of data science compared with the inquiry of data analytics, and share a live example which has applied machine learning.  Helen will also explain how Thorntons recruited its data scientist first as a student through Data Labs, a collaboration between industry and universities in Scotland.
Helen Archibald, Chief Operating Officer, Thorntons

A8          Using RPA in mid-market legal - a case study
Edward O'Rourke, CEO & Partner, Ashtons Legal

A9        Business Development in the mid-market – how can we get lawyers to think like business people?
To complete, firms must increasingly act as a business. We will look at:

  • Staff Incentives
  • Training
  • Networking and Speaking engagements

Denis Stevenson, Business Development Director, Rowlinsons Solicitors


1:20 pm

Lunch and networking

2:20 pm

Think Tank on the psychology of innovation and entrepreneurship: how you and your team can learn to innovate and keep up with the exponential pace of change

The pace of change in business has increased substantially, meaning that staying on top of it, and “at the top”, is becoming increasingly difficult. But whilst many people and organisations recognise the need to become more innovative and entrepreneurial, very few have a clear strategy for it.

We will look at the latest evidence-based insights into increasing innovation and developing an innovative, entrepreneurial mindset. The workshop will provide in-depth understanding of the theoretical underpinnings of innovation, disruptive talent and entrepreneurial culture, and their measurement and management. The focus will be on using these tools to help you foster innovation.

Keynote Speaker

  • Dr Gorkan Ahmetoglu Lecturer of I/O & Business Psychology, and Co-Founder - University College London, and Meta Profiling
3:20 pm

Networking break

3:50 pm

Facilitated round table discussions (B)

This series of hosted round table discussions (B1 – B8) will focus entirely on how other firms deal with the challenges you face.  These interactive and informal discussions follow Chatham House rules – giving you the freedom to speak your mind.  Small groups allow everyone to participate and each group feeds back, giving all attendees access to the knowledge pool.  These brainstorming sessions will give insight into your peers’ challenges and provide solutions to your own.

There will be two 40-minute sessions.

B1          Why we gave up trying to get lawyers to think like business people – and what we did instead
We’ll look at how a mid-market firm brought in dedicated business managers for each line of business to work alongside partners in driving the business
Ed Fletcher, Chief Executive, Fletchers Solicitors

B2          No way out?  Exit planning tips for a leadership change
- why you need an exit plan for the good of the business
- how do you know when it’s the right time for a change of leadership?
- what does a successful exit plan look like and what’s a reasonable time frame?
- what happens to the old managing partner when there's a new one?
Ian Morris, Chairman, EMW Law

B3          Closing the productivity gap
We’ve invested in technology but haven’t seen the expected gains in productivity – why is the sales gap growing and how can we close it? We’ll consider:
- why isn’t fee-earner time feeding through to the bottom line?
- can we re-set priorities re non-chargeable time?
- chargeable hours – target or baseline?
Sarah Perry, Managing Partner, Wright Hassall

B4          Using AI in mid-market legal
As the technology becomes more mainstream, we’ll look at applying AI and machine learning tools to law and challenge the assumption that AI isn’t yet applicable to mid-market firms.
Peter Lee, CEO,

B5          What has flexible working ever done for us?
Imagine our 8-year-old suffers a very serious orthopaedic injury on a Friday. Turns out that Friday is the day that the top local ortho surgeon works from home/doesn’t work at all. What’s our reaction? Can the hospital deliver a plan B that works? How will our law firm find that plan B for clients, as just saying no to flexible working is never going to work? How do we find that balance between clients who expect 24/7 and our personnel who want a life?
Dinesh Raja, Managing Partner, Bowling & Co Solicitors

B6          A practical discussion of data analytics case studies, delivering a competitive advantage to law firms
Robert Camp, Managing Partner, Stephens Scown

B7          Future-proofing the business with a more agile platform
Edward O'Rourke, CEO & Partner, Ashtons Legal


5:20 pm

Networking break

Take a quick breather and grab a drink before joining us for the final engaging session of the day.

5:30 pm

Alternative Views – Management v Equity Partners: who’s in charge in mid-market law?

We’ll re-convene for an informal and interactive session using the “Samoan Circle” format.  Set up in the round, delegates will gather around a central circle to eavesdrop on a frank, facilitated, conversation which will initially be between four managing partners about the ownership and management challenges facing mid-market firms.  Audience members can join in the discussion by entering the “inner discussion circle” and sitting down.

We’ll start by addressing the questions that are keeping law firm leaders up at night:

  1. Is the LLP still a valid ownership model for mid-market firms?
  2. What can we do to get equity partners to engage with the business as leaders and owners?
  3. How can we focus the management team on driving the business forward, not just on keeping equity partners happy?
  4. How can we, as managing partners, motivate the management team to take the risks that come with changing to ownership structures?

The working principles of the Samoan Circle are:

  • Only those in the inner circle may speak, until prompted to retire
  • You can enter the inner circle at any time if you want to join the discussion
  • You must finish your point and leave the inner circle when prompted by the facilitator

The bar is open, awaits your questions / comments and we hope you’ll join in the conversation.

6:15 pm

Chairman’s closing remarks and end of day one


7:30 pm

Drinks reception

8:00 pm

Dinner and entertainment followed by overnight stay


Day two, Tuesday 25 September 2018

9:15 am

Registration for the Alternative Legal IT Conference and coffee

The Alternative Legal Management Summit will reconvene for day two and will merge with the first morning of the Alternative Legal IT Conference.

9:45 am

Chairman’s welcome and opening remarks to both the Alternative Legal Management Summit and the Alternative Legal IT Conference


10:00 am

Emerging technologies and professional services: what’s out there, what it can do for you and what you should do about it

A specialist in strategy and innovation, with a particular focus on creative and innovative solutions for professional services, Nigel is one of Twitter’s top 25 AI influencers and an inspirational speaker on the future of technology.  He’ll look at:
- what are the technology trends affecting professional services and how the professions are reacting
- what tech is on the horizon and how it will be used – to drive customer service, foster loyalty or enhance profitability
- how it’s AI plus other technologies that will really be transformative:  AI + VR/AR, AI + IoT, AI + blockchain
- a beginners’ guide to quantum computing: what it is, why it matters and why you don’t need to understand it to accept it and use it
- how mid-market law firms might better exploit the potential of technology now and in the future

Keynote Speaker

10:45 am

How social engineering threatens your firm (and therefore your data, your clients’ data, your reputation and your clients’ reputations) and what you can do about it

Law firms, no matter what size, are repositories of valuable, confidential information and are therefore ideal targets for hackers seeking valuable data.   As a result, it’s increasingly common for clients of even mid-market firms to seek reassurance about how firms protect their data.

As an expert in social engineering – the human element in security – Jenny helps organisations protect themselves from attempts to steal data and personal information.  Known for talking her way into high-security banks and even the Tower of London, Jenny uses her unique mix of skills as a shrewd behavioural scientist, master negotiator and actor to help you protect your firm, your employees and your clients from malicious attacks.

Keynote Speaker

11:30 am

Your right to reply: Managing Partners & IT Directors have their say

Following two eye-opening keynotes examining the most serious threat (security) and the greatest challenge (the pace of technological change) facing mid-market firms today, a Managing Partner and an IT Director will join Nigel Willson and Jenny Radcliffe on stage to pose the questions that most IT Directors and Managing Partners will have for our speakers. We’ll also take questions from the floor and via



11:45 am

Networking break

12:15 pm

The Alternative Legal Management / Legal IT Room 101: Changing partner behaviour to improve productivity

Managing partners and IT directors are closely aligned on the biggest problem facing their firms:  the challenges of changing (equity) partner behaviour to improve productivity.  But while it’s easy to agree on the problem, it’s much more difficult to find a workable solution to what appears to be intractable.

We’ll give two managing partners and two IT directors each the chance to nominate what they see as the number one barrier to changing partner behaviour and improving productivity in the firm – and each will provide a suggested route for overcoming that barrier.  Based on the BBC format, each panellist will propose an issue that, if it were banished to that room of no return, would help mid-market law firms break through the current stasis between business objectives and the priorities of partners.  And they’ll identify a solution that could be the flip-side of that problem.

Using – anonymously - the audience will debate and vote on each proposal before deciding which issue most deserves to go into Room 101 – and which corresponding solution will be the most workable.  What will be banished forever to Room 101?  This is your chance to close help mid-market firms overcome the single biggest obstacle on the journey towards long-term health and profitability.


12:45 pm

Your post-hack recovery plan and what you need to do pre-hack to make sure it works

We all know it’s a matter of when, not if.  And we also know that people are the weakest link in our cyber security chain.  Now, we’ll look at how you should respond in the first 24 hours to mitigate the scale of the theft with this practical guide to dealing with the fall-out from a significant security breach in your firm.  An expert in incident response and digital forensics, Johannes advises on how, at the point of crisis, to respond quickly and effectively to cyber-attacks and data loss incidents.  And what you can then do to pinpoint the perpetrators.


1:15 pm

Networking lunch

This session marks the end of the Alternative Legal Management Summit 2018.  The Alternative Legal IT Conference continues after lunch.