THIS YEAR’S PROGRAM PROMISES TO BE THE BEST EVER: TOPICS, SPEAKERS, AND FORMATS

Legal Week 2020 convenes in New York in just two weeks on Tuesday, February 4.  One of the most significant events in law each year, it attracts more than 8,000 participants, across the spectrum of stakeholders in contemporary American law.

Gina Passarella Editor-In-Chief, American Lawyer Magazine

I am delighted to be co-chairing the Legal Business Strategy Program at Legal Week this year, with Gina Passarella, Editor-in-Chief of the American Lawyer Magazine.

I have long been a believer in the value of convening people in the legal service ecosystem for informed discussion of the cutting edge issues they confront.  That is why I created the Law Firm Leaders Forum in 1995  and have produced it ever since.  And it is why I am excited about our program this year at Legal Week, which we have designed based on lessons learned in prior Legal Week programs, and in all the years of LFLF.

Our program will consist of sessions which address the most challenging issues in legal service delivery today.  Each session will be led by experienced leaders who will share their perspectives and advice. Each session will be interactive with the audience, assuring that participants get their questions addressed, and permitting everyone to benefit from the assembled group.  The opportunity for learning and testing one’s own outlook in sessions like these makes the time out of the office well worthwhile.

And, of course, the sessions enable participants to make and renew relationships with their peers from around the country.  The benefit of these relationships over time, as each of us navigates our challenges,  is enormous.

Legal Week will kick off on Tuesday morning with a keynote address by former Assistant Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.  Be sure to arrive early for this one.

The Legal Business Strategy Program will consist of three tracks, spanning the three days of the event.  Each track will focus on strategies for a particular dimension of modern legal service:

  • Modernizing the Delivery of Legal Service
  • Improving the Ways Talent Is Attracted and Retained
  • Marketing and Developing Business More Effectively

Session leaders will include hands-on experts including:

  • State Supreme Court Justices
  • General counsel and other leaders of corporate law departments,
  • Managing partners and other law firm leaders,
  • Alternative legal service provider leaders,
  • Legal technology company founders and leaders,
  • Academics,
  • Consultants and advisors, and
  • Journalists

Here are some illustrative highlights of the program:

  • Regulatory Reform: Several states are seriously considering significant changes to the rules governing who can participate in delivering legal service and who can invest in law firms.  The session will be led by supreme court justices in two such states, Utah and Arizona, and a member of the California committee considering reforms in that state. It will begin with an overview of the issues by one of the nation’s leading observers.
  • Forty Years of Data from the American Lawyer: The American Lawyer pioneered reporting on the financial performance of law firms forty years ago.  This session will examine what has been learned from those forty years, and take a look at what lies ahead.  The session will be led the leader of ALM Intelligence, and three renowned experts in legal metrics, and law firm financial performance.
  • The Power of Data Analytics in Law:  Data analytics have the capacity to revolutionize the way legal service providers serve clients.  Lessons revealed by the data can improve the quality, responsiveness, and efficiency of legal service.   This session will be led by four panelists who currently draw on big data in different legal service settings: one general counsel, one law firm leaders, and two leaders of legal data analytics companies.
  • Change Management:  As legal service modernizes, the participants will be called upon to change the way they do things.  Change is hard in any setting, but it is even harder in law. In this session a leader who guides transformation in a major law firm, and two highly regarded advisors about change, will lead an interactive session about how to make change happen.
  • General Counsel, Diversity, and Law Firm Selection:  Diversity has become a critical criterion in the selection of outside law firms by corporate clients.  This panel will examine how this criterion operates in practice: how do clients choose, and how do law firms present their diversity record to win new engagements.
  • Non-Traditional Careers in Law: Law school prepares graduates to pursue a broader array of careers than traditional law practice.  Increasingly, there are rewarding careers in legal service that do not require a law degree.  This panel will examine the expanding and changing nature of career opportunities in law.
  • Increasing Role of Marketing Professionals in Client Development:  The traditional law firm model reserved all responsibility for maintaining and enhancing client relationships to partners.  Firms are now finding that their marketing professionals can make meaningful contributions to this important activity.  This session will examine this trend.

Gina, the ALM team, and I have assembled a great program this year.  We hope to see you there.

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Photo of Ralph Baxter Ralph Baxter

Ralph Baxter is a strategic advisor to law firms, legal technology companies, and corporate law departments, and a podcast host, writer, and speaker at events and private meetings, regarding the modernization of legal service.