2017 Global Independent Law Firms Forum

Monday 24 April 2017

18:00 onwards
Networking drinks reception
Jumeirah Carlton Tower, London SW1 

Tuesday 25 April 2017

08:15 – 9:00
Registration and networking breakfast

09:00 – 09:15
Co-chairs' opening remarks 
Adam O. Emmerich, partner, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, USA
Charles Martin,
senior partner, Macfarlanes, UK

09:15 – 10:10
Opening keynote- Cyber security the biggest single threat?
As incidents of major breaches are steadily increasing, and clients are worryingly suggesting that the weakest part of their own security is their law firm, cyber security is progressively becoming a major concern within the legal arena. Keeping up with cyber and information threats is a tireless job and independent law firms are increasingly experiencing a mounting pressure to prove and improve their security. How do you reassure your client? And what if it all goes wrong? Hear from two of the world’s leading experts who will offer crucial advice on how to keep you and your firm safe.
Ari Mahairas, special agent in charge of cyber-NYC, FBI, USA
Peter J. Beshar, executive vice president and general counsel, Marsh & McLennan Companies, USA

10:10 – 11:10
Looking forward - key strategies for independents
How does the strategy of remaining independent look now? Have prospects for the independent model improved or deteriorated since the financial crisis? In an increasingly globalised business environment, to what extent are the main competitive threats coming from global law firms? Are there clear differences of strategies and approaches between global law firms that are UK based versus those that are US based? How do independent firms view the rapid build-up of focus on the legal market by accountants? Are non-law firm service providers a helpful development to support the value that independent law firms can bring? How are independent law firms deploying the flexible resources that are available in the market today e.g. contract lawyers and paralegals?
Moderator: Alexander Ritvay, co-managing partner, Noerr, Germany 
Dimitry Afanasiev, chairman & co-founding partner, Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners, Russia
Geert Potjewijd, managing partner, De Brauw, Holland
Jan Dernestam, managing partner, Mannheimer Swartling, Sweden
Shawn McReynolds,
 managing partner, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, Canada

11:10 – 11:30
Refreshment and networking break 

11:30 – 12:20
Breakout sessions 
Our expertly facilitated workshop groups, run under Chatham House rules, allow you to choose topics that are of the most importance and relevance to you. Come prepared for in-depth discussions and detailed peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing. 

a) Remaining competitive through collaboration between independents
Relationships are key to the success of an independent law firm. Historically, independent law firms have relied on "good friends" referral networks or more formal alliances. What works best? How can independent firms collaborate most effectively today? This breakout session will allow for an in-depth discussion of the various methods that are effective at generating a better client service. Do secondments and joint pitching work? Do due diligence software packages help to deliver a more integrated package for clients? How do you ensure team meetings across multiple independent firms work? With a host of examples, expect to be well-informed with key advice to improve the client service of your firm through collaboration.
Michael Guiney, director of business development, Kinstellar, Czech Republic
Pedro Perez-Llorca
, senior partner, Perez-Llorca, Spain

b) Update: leading the way in emerging market
What opportunities and obstacles are independent law firms currently facing in emerging markets? Leading independent law firm leaders from emerging markets will provide an expert update on the opportunities and obstacles facing independent law firms. They will outline how independent firms can participate in work flow out of and into key emerging markets.
Cyril Shroff, managing partner, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, India
Luis Pais Antunes,
managing partner, PLMJ, Portugal 
Tung Ngo, founding and senior partner, VILAF, Vietnam

c) Marketing the distinctive benefits of independence
This session will look at the challenges that independent firms face in marketing the benefits of their model externally to clients and the legal community at large. It will share practical experience and know-how to help to do this effectively. It will also look at some of the internal communication issues that independent firms face in making sure that lawyers and business services staff understand how best to collaborate through the independent model to deliver outstanding client service on international projects.
Deborah B. Farone, director of business development & communications, Cravath, Swaine & Moore, USA
Mary-Anne Anderson, head of marketing & business development, Slaughter and May, UK
Robert Blok
, group legal director, Virgin Management 

12:20 – 13:15
Lunch and networking

13:15 – 14:05
Human capital: attract, develop & retain
Law firms have always been about human capital but the battle to attract, retain and motivate the outstanding talent that is essential for differentiating between independent and global law firms has never been hotter or more vital to underpin the prosperity of independent law firms. Diversity, coaching, leadership, mentoring, encouraging collaboration and developing talent through soft skills are high on the list of priorities for independent law firm leaders as they produce a differentiated culture and client service. Lateral recruitment and working with recruitment consultants will also be considered.
Moderator: Dana Denis-Smith, founder, First 100 Years, UK
Claire England, inclusivity manager, Berwin Leighton Paisner, UK
David Tadmor,
co-chairman & co-managing partner, Tadmor & Co. Yuval Levy & Co, Israel
Jonathan Macfarlane, director, PCP, UK 

14:05 – 14:55
Breakout sessions 
Our expertly facilitated workshop groups, run under Chatham House rules, allow you to choose topics that are of the most importance and relevance to you. Come prepared for in-depth discussions and detailed peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing. 

a) Leadership discussion- how do law firm leaders lead change in a world that is experiencing major disruption?

Law firms have long been criticised for not embracing change seriously enough. Innovation is often much slower than in other international businesses. Leadership buy-in is critical to changing this. Law firm leaders today must work as one with their CIO’s and other operational functions to drive fundamental change in response to client demand. This session will debate how the business of law must change if it is to continue to be successful and command the margins that it has commanded over the recent past. Attendees are urged to come armed with ideas about how independent law firms are exploring new ways of working and adding value for clients and how these will help them to compete successfully against the larger international firms with their deeper resources in satisfying future client needs. Finally, we will discuss how you can put in place a culture of innovation across a firm, involving lawyers at all levels and the whole range of business service functions.

Brian O'Gorman, managing partner, Arthur Cox, Ireland 
Charles Martin, senior partner,
Macfarlanes, UK

b) Artificial intelligence- information technology tools for competing with global firms? 
Artificial Intelligence is set to be pivotal in 2017, but what does artificial intelligence truly mean for independent law firms? Will clients expect or be willing to pay for the perks of new technology? Is artificial intelligence an investment suited to global firms or, can this new technology tackle the unique challenges that independent law firms face? This session will aim to address the key questions surrounding the uncertainty of the new legal era and will discuss how artificial intelligence will impact the competitiveness between independent and global law firms. 
Didier Théophile, former managing partner, Darrois Villey Maillot & Brochier Avocats, France
Milos Kresojevic, global innovation architect, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, UK

c) Independents' role in global M&A
The independent model for cross-border legal work thrives when there is high value, complex work to be done for a sophisticated client that is prepared to make à la carte choice, rather than simply buying a big global brand. M&A is possibly the best example of this and this is an area in which the model has had considerable success. Why? And how can this be sustained? What needs to be done better and in what contexts are the global firms the largest competition threat?
Adam O. Emmerichpartner, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, USA
Laura Holleman, managing director & general counsel of the Investment Banking Division, Goldman Sachs, UK  
Marco Gubitosi, London resident partner, Legance, Italy 

14:55 – 15:10
Networking and refreshment break  

15:10 – 16:00 
Reputational Managemen
Independent law firm reputations are both delicate and of vital importance in an age of social media and heightened regulatory and ethical concerns. Whilst cyber security is covered in our keynote address, there are a whole host of other reputational dangers out there. Client due diligence and acceptance, reputational risk in working with agents such as investigating agents, rogue employees, conflicts of interest, money laundering, association with problem clients, law firm liquidity and financial performance challenges, partner departures will all be discussed on this panel.
Moderator: Gina Passarella, executive editor, The American Lawyer, USA
Charlotte Bus, partner, Magnusson, Baltic Sea
John WH Denton AO,
partner & CEO, Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Australia 
Paddy Harverson, managing partner, Milltown Partners, UK 
Rod Christie-Miller, chief executive & partner, Schillings, UK

16:00 – 16:50
GC Q&A: global vs independent model 
For independent law firms to thrive, particularly at the premium end of the market, what they offer and how they work both individually and collectively has to be compelling to the sophisticated general counsel and the corporate legal team at large. This panel of experienced corporate counsel will share experiences of working with both independent and global law firms, comparing and contrasting their respective strengths and weaknesses.
Moderator: Georgina Stanley, editor, Legal Week, UK 
Andrew Garard, group legal director & company secretary, ITV
Howard Trust, general counsel, Schroders

16:50 –17:00
Closing comment: so what now?
Our co-chairmen will pull together some of the threads of the day. Culture, client service, differentiation and communication are key issues for an independent law firm that wants to capitalise on the many market opportunities that will have been discussed during the conference.  
Adam O. Emmerich, partner, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, NY, USA
Charles Martin,
senior partner, Macfarlanes, UK

Close of conference

For speaking opportunites
For information on speaking opportunities at the Legal Week Independent Law Firms Forum 2017 email Abigail Harris at AHarris@alm.com 

For sponsorship enquiries 
For information on sponsorship opportunities at the Legal Week Independent Law Firms Forum 2017 email Natalie Hill at NHill@alm.com