Programme

To download a pdf version of the 2019 programme, please scroll to the bottom of this page. Thank you

If you have an interesting story to tell and would like to join our speaker panel, please contact:
Sarah Katherine Bagshaw
07701 091 664
Sarahkatherine.bagshaw@alternativeevents.co.uk

Day One – Monday 30 September 2019

9:00 am

Registration, coffee and networking

9:30 am

Chair’s welcome and opening remarks

Chairman

9:40 am

Future-proofing the mid-market law firm: our vision, our story, our journey

There is no blueprint for success in the legal mid-market, but some firms are getting it right. What can you learn from their vision?  Their stories? Their firm’s journey?  Benchmark your firm and your leadership against three leaders from very different legal businesses, looking at how to:
- choose the best business model to bring your business forward
- bring your people along with you
- balance long-term growth with exit strategies
- share value with your firm’s next generation

1. Going corporate – delivering and embedding cultural change with and through your people
Brian Cullen, Group CEO, Jackson Lees

2. People, culture and communication – getting buy-in for growth
Robert Camp, Director of Strategic Innovation & formerly Managing Partner, Stephens Scown

3. Remaining in partnership – unlocking value, succession planning and exit strategies
Fiona Scott, CEO, Plexus Law 

Speakers

10:55 am

Networking break

11:25 am

What do your clients want in terms of legal talent, how can you identify the stand-out talent most valued by your clients and what to you need to do to find and retain this stand-out talent?

Speaker

11:55 am

The psychology of change and change management

Persuading people to change their behaviour is a perennial problem for all businesses.  What got us to where we are now won’t take us into the future, but change is risky and uncomfortable - and most people are resistant. This session will explain why we naturally resist change and how our brains respond to the unpredictable and unexpected.  Helena will focus on five brain insights to help us understand how to get the best out of our brains and the brains of others during change.  She will also focus on the role of the subconscious, the use and impact of technology on our brains and the science of persuasion when influencing others to help them cope with the world around us.

Speaker

12:55 pm

Your right to reply: Managing Partners have their say

Following the keynotes examining two of the greatest challenges facing law firms, two Managing Partners will join our speakers on stage to pose the questions that most law firm leaders will have for our speakers. We’ll also take questions from the floor and via Sli.do.

1:10 pm

The Alternative Legal Management Live Survey

Using Sli.do, we’ll take a live snapshot of your thoughts on:
1) technology in your firm and whether or not it is delivering the expected benefits.  What do you expect from your systems that you are not getting?  And
2) client satisfaction measurement.

1:15 pm

Lunch

2:15 pm

Alternative Legal CFO Summit – part one

CFOs and Finance Directors will gather for discussion and conversation, with the emphasis on networking and learning among peers.

By invitation only

Facilitated by: Paul Richmond, Managing Director, The Gro Group

A skilled speaker, executive coach and facilitator, Paul will bring enthusiasm and a thought-provoking and passionate style to the afternoon.  In Paul’s capable hands and with a mix of presentations, panels and round table discussions, we’ll look at the finance perspective on:

  1. Panel discussion
    From “accounts” to business partner - the changing role of the legal CFO/FD
    Jason Bigg, Finance Manager, Girlings
    Julia Warrilow, Finance & Operations Director, Thursfields
    Amanda Loran, Finance Director, Stone King
  2. Group therapy for FDs – round one
    Mirroring the “group therapy” discussions happening simultaneously for Managing Partners, these three sessions will be led by your peers in finance. As always, the interactive and informal discussions follow Chatham House rules – giving you the freedom to speak your mind. Restricted to FDs and CFOs, these information-sharing sessions will give insight into your peers’ challenges and provide solutions to your own.  There will be two 35-minute sessions, one before the networking break and one after.

F1 Partner performance and reward structures
How can we measure partner productivity? Then how can we reward them?  What are other firms/industries doing?

F2 Developing predictive KPIs
What can help predict future income streams? How can we measure the new business pipeline?

F3 Collaboration between firms
What’s been the FD experience of collaboration? We’ll talk about the pros and cons and look at examples of how it’s working in practice.

Speakers

Facilitator

2:15 pm

Group Therapy for Managing Partners – session A

This series of hosted round table discussions will focus entirely on how other firms deal with the challenges you face.  Led by your peers, the interactive and informal discussions follow Chatham House rules – giving you the freedom to speak your mind.  Small groups allow everyone to participate.  Restricted to managing partners, these information-sharing sessions will give insight into your peers’ challenges and provide solutions to your own.

There will be two 35-minute sessions.

A1  Back to basics – making sure tech in your firm supports good customer services
With a limited investment pot, what steps can you take now to ensure that your tech platform is in good shape? What does a effective tech platform look like and what should we be spending to achieve it?

A2  Capital-based business models for mid-market legal
We’ll hear from a firm that has successfully transferred to a capital model:
- has the transition been successful?
- has capital helped to build value?
- what is the relationship between the management board structure and capitalisation of the business?

A3 How law firms are deriving value from data analytics
We’ll look at how a mid-market firm is using data analytics in the practice – discussing not only the benefits, but also practical solutions to the typical  challenges facing law firms such as getting buy-in from partners and encouraging adoption.

A4  Getting the most out of your firm’s CRM
How can we make sure our people are effective at selling? And effective at using the sales tools we provide?  How can we support our data strategy with better use of CRM?

A5  Partner performance and reward structures
How can we measure partner productivity? Then how can we reward them?  What are other firms doing?
Edward O’Rourke, CEO (Partner), Ashtons Legal

A6 Substance over form – putting people first
If you put people ahead of structure, the substance over the form, policy and productivity will follow. 
Joanna Kingston-Davies, Group Chief Operating Officer, Jackson Lees Group

A7 Strategies to engage and communicate internally
Which strategies are successful in engaging our employees and gathering ideas?  What’s the best way to communicate internally?  What will get people’s attention? How can we make sure our teams feel a part of things?  What are the tools that will help us improve engagement?

Speakers

3:30 pm

Networking break

4:00 pm

Alternative Legal CFO Summit – part two

CFO and Finance Directors return after the networking break to continue discussion and conversation.

By invitation only

Facilitated by: Paul Richmond, Managing Director, The Gro Group

  1. Group therapy for FDs – round two
    We return to the finance stream with a second chance to join one of the facilitated discussions.

F1 Partner performance and reward structures
How can we measure partner productivity? Then how can we reward them?  What are other firms/industries doing?

F2 Developing predictive KPIs
What can help predict future income streams? How can we measure the new business pipeline?

F3 Collaboration between firms
What’s been the FD experience of collaboration? We’ll talk about the pros and cons and look at examples of how it’s working in practice.

  1. Cross-sector fertilisation – a CFO’s view from the accountancy market

You’ll hear first-hand from the finance lead at a mid-sized UK accountancy practice – what challenges are accountancy practices facing and how are they reacting? How are accountancy practices handling challenges such as partner performance and reward, business models, pricing? And what has been the impact of technology developments on the accountancy profession?

Facilitator

4:00 pm

Group Therapy for Managing Partners – session B

This series of hosted round table discussions will focus entirely on how other firms deal with the challenges you face.  Led by your peers, the interactive and informal discussions follow Chatham House rules – giving you the freedom to speak your mind.  Small groups allow everyone to participate.  Restricted to managing partners, these information-sharing sessions will give insight into your peers’ challenges and provide solutions to your own.

There will be two 35-minute sessions.

B1 Dispute funding for mid-market legal
How does third-party litigation funding work? How can it benefit you and your client? What is the cost? How to secure funding? What are the benefits? Are there pitfalls?
Sarah Perry, Managing Partner, Wright Hassall

B2 Moving to a corporate structure – what do you need to know before becoming a limited company?
We’ll look at the mechanics of this change so that you’ll be armed with the information you need to discuss this option with your equity partners.

B3 The traditional hierarchy is “so last year”:  discuss
There is a school of thought that the modern legal business will have less hierarchy, a flatter structure, more collaboration.  If this is the future, we as leaders we need to adapt – do we need a managing partner if our employees can learn to work collaboratively in a flatter structure?
Amanda Glover, Managing Partner, BakerLaw

B4 Getting equity partners to engage with the business as leaders and owners
We’ll put our heads together to look for solutions to the lack of commitment/innovation from equity partners. Can we get them to engage? Or is the solution to find ways to let fee earners develop without equity partners blocking the way?
Edward Whittington, Managing Partner, Moore Blatch

B5 Improving client engagement using tech
How do the different client communications options compare? Emails, letters, apps, microsites, intranets, extranets.  What’s effective and what do clients want?

B6 Developing exit strategies that balance the needs of current equity partners while allowing us to build value for the firm’s future
With a lack of appetite from the next generation to invest equity in the firm, what are the exit options? Acquisition, sale, merger?  How can equity partners get out while still transferring value to the next generation?
Simon Holdsworth, Managing Partner, Thrings

B7 How to brand innovation, externally and internally
As more and more firms develop innovation and tech solutions, how they communicate internally and externally is ultimately vital for success. This discussion will shed light the findings and insights from a recent survey of the top 30 UK law firms on how they brand innovation and law tech and will look at some of the practical issues of getting partners on board in a law firm, and the lessons learnt.
Grahame Jones, Founder & Director, Soukias Jones Design

Speakers

5:15 pm

Networking break

5:30 pm

The Samoan Circle – an Alternative panel discussion: Will collaboration give the legal mid-market a competitive edge?

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 conversation which will initially be between four law firm leaders about the ongoing formal collaboration between their firms – initiated at year one of this event.

Has joining forces in a formal collaborate enabled these mid-market firms to compete against the biggest players while staying independent and preserving their values and culture? Our panellists will talk about how their venture came about, how it’s structured and funded, and what the benefits have been – both soft and hard.

After the initial discussion, we’ll add a fifth chair to the circle and invite audience members to join in the conversation by entering the “inner discussion circle” and sitting down. This is the chance to have your say about collaborative ventures and their value, or lack of, to mid-sized firms.

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, Sli.do awaits your questions / comments and we hope you’ll join in the conversation.

Facilitator

6:15 pm

End of day one

7:30 pm

Drinks reception followed by dinner, evening entertainment and an overnight stay

Day Two – Tuesday 1 October 2019

This morning the Alternative Legal Management Summit and the Alternative Legal IT Conference merge for a plenary programme designed for both Managing Partners/CEOs and heads of IT.  

The Alternative Legal Management Summit will conclude at 13.15 today, while the Alternative Legal IT Conference will carry on until lunchtime tomorrow, Wednesday 2 October.

9:00 am

Registration and coffee

9:30 am

Chair’s welcome and opening remarks

Chairman

9:45 am

Keynote: Understanding your customer: How can we anticipate and monetise future customer behaviours? What commercial opportunities do new consumer trends and behaviours offer us?

How can a better understanding of buying behaviours help us market to new customers and better serve existing customers? How are consumers making decisions in the marketplace and what could this mean for legal? What does the move towards purchasing features such as like/dislike buttons, performance league tables, customer reviews, price comparison sites, product delivery tracking and supply chain transparency mean for legal businesses?  Our speaker, an expert in consumer trends and behaviours, will examine how purchasing trends are changing and what this might mean for your firm’s delivery of legal services.

Speaker

  • William Higham Consumer Futurist, Expert, Author, Speaker & Founder - Next Big Thing
10:30 am

Your right to reply: What does this mean for law firms?

Our keynote speaker has given us a high-level view on consumer trends and buying behaviours. But how does this affect the legal sector? Two managing partners and two IT directors will join our speaker on stage for a Q&A and discussion looking at how to apply these lessons and learnings to the mid-market law firm. We’ll also take questions from the floor and via Sli.do.

Speakers

11:00 am

Networking break

11:30 am

Insight into innovation across the professional services

In our 2018 surveys of managing partners and IT directors we asked if, when appointing a head of innovation, you would appoint someone with an IT or legal background or from a business background in a different industry.  An astonishing 77% of managing partners and 60% of IT directors said they would appoint from a business background in a different industry.  You are clearly looking beyond the legal and IT sectors for innovation and inspiration so, to help you, we’ve asked innovation leaders from real estate advisory,  management consultancy and big 4 accountancy to tell you about the latest developments & innovation in their respective markets.

Followed by joint Q&A.

Speakers

12:40 pm

The next generation – what do younger lawyers want from their firms, from their workplaces and from technology?

Meet a group of young lawyers and hear their thoughts about what they expect from their firms in terms of career progression, what they want from the workplace and what tools will most help them in their jobs.  How can we best engage them, and engage with them?  Most importantly, they’ll tell us how they define career success – do young lawyers want to be equity partners?

Speakers

Facilitator

1:10 pm

Lunch

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

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