I have spent a lot of time meeting with law firms in the last year and there are often two camps—with a murky third somewhere in the middle—when it comes to innovation.

We have the 1) “things aren’t changing, at least not for me” camp; 2) the camp of “I know things are changing but I don’t have a clue where to start;” and in the middle there is 3) the group of law firms who recognize change is afoot and are making efforts of widely varying degrees to adapt. All of this was timely captured in the January 9 piece by Roy Strom in which Georgetown University and Thomson Reuters predict a wake-up call for law firms, many of which they say have engaged in “consensual neglect” of the realities of a changing market.

As the year went on, I kept thinking “I just want to get all of the smartest people on these subjects in one room and hash this out. What is really happening, what needs to happen and how?”

And at some point all that thinking must have escaped my brain in the form of the spoken word because someone at ALM heard me and here we are just weeks away from our first ever Business of Law Forum, as part of our LegalWeek New York show. It’s actually perfect that the first such forum on business of law we do is tied to an event whose roots are in legal technology and has expanded to also include things like talent management and marketing. The legal industry is increasingly interconnected (think UnitedLex/DXC or any law firm that has ever partnered with an LPO to serve a client need) and these topics should be discussed together and among the various stakeholders within the ecosystem of legal services delivery.

The Focus of the Forum:

The forum starts mid-day Tuesday, January, 30 and runs the full day Wednesday, January 31 in New York. The first day is really geared toward bringing all of the members of the legal services delivery ecosystem into one room to hash out where things are headed, what they need from one another, what the roadblocks are and what are ways to overcome those roadblocks. This is a chance for GCs and law firm leaders, legal educators and ALSPs to come together and drive the conversation about how legal services should be delivered. But it’s also about talking through what all parties need, what all parties can do better and how to overcome the perceived shortfalls in the provision of legal services. This will all be in workshop settings that allow for intimate, interactive discussions and debate.

The second day of the conference is really geared toward our law firm audience. In my mind, this is the group that has the most at stake. Law firms have the most to lose and the most to change as the market evolves (sometimes around them). This day is packed with panels and workshops on how law firms can survive and thrive, looking at everything from hiring, billing, staffing and compensation models to tailoring practice offerings and the use of business professionals within your organization. The agenda was designed by the editorial team that covers the business of law day-in and day-out. Together with other tracks in LegalWeek, the forum offers a holistic look at what it means to run a legal-focused organization in today’s world and beyond.

The Goal of the Forum:

  • To foster a better understanding among the various stakeholders within the legal services delivery model of what each stakeholder’s needs are in an effort to better collaborate on an an improved delivery model.
  • To identify and break down barriers to innovation.
  • To have every participant walk away with concrete action items they can take back to their organization.
  • To help law firms, particularly, identify where they can start and how they can adapt and thrive in a changing market.

Who Should Attend/Is Attending:

  • Law firm managing partners/chairs
  • Law firm COOs/CFOs/executive directors
  • Law firm innovation/client value officers
  • Partners with leadership roles
  • Partners/associates who want to be part of the discussion on the future of the law firm and legal services delivery model
  • General counsel/in-house lawyers who want to be part of crafting the future of the legal services delivery model
  • Alternative legal services providers who want to be part of crafting the future of the legal services delivery model
  • Anyone focused on the business of law

Who You Will Hear From:

Anthony Crowell, Professor of Law, Dean & President, New York Law School

Dan Reed, CEO, UnitedLex

Mark Cohen, CEO, Legal Mosaic & Chief Strategy Officer, Elevate Services

Mary Shen O’Carroll, Head of Legal Operations, Technology & Strategy, Google

Mark Smolik, Vice President, General Counsel, Secretary & Chief Compliance Officer, DHL Supply Chain Americas

Ron Friedmann, Partner, Fireman & Co.

Aaron Kotok, Managing Director, Advance Law

Jeffrey Berardi, Chief Marketing Officer, K&L Gates

Marcie Borgal Shunk, Founder & President, The Tilt Institute

Dan DiPietro, Principal, DiPietro Consulting & Senior Advisor, McKinsey & Company

Nick Bruch, Senior Analyst, ALM Intelligence

Gretta Rusanow, Head of Advisory Services, Law Firm Group, Citi Private Bank

Hugh A. Simons, Writer & Former Senior Partner, The Boston Consulting Group

Timothy Corcoran, Principal, Corcoran Consulting Group

Catherine MacDonagh, Founder & CEO, Legal Lean Sigma

Deborah Read, CEO & Firmwide Managing Partner, Thompson Hine

Lisa Smith, Principal, Fairfax Associates

Michael Heller, President & CEO, Cozen O’Connor

Rebecca Ross-Bown, Consultant & Former Law Firm COO

Michael Rynowecer, President, BTI Consulting

Gillian Ward, Chief Marketing Officer, Baker Botts

Mike Brito, Senior Vice President, Global Contracts, DXC Technology

Al Giles, Global Head of Commercial, Axiom

Patrick Lamb, Founder, Owner & Attorney, Valorem Law

Richard Punt, CEO, Peerpoint, Allen & Overy

Jami Wintz McKeon, Partner & Chair, Morgan Lewis

Roy Strom, Reporter, ALM

Lizzy McLellan, Reporter, ALM

Patrick Fuller, ALM Intelligence

If you have any questions on the forum, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at gpassarella@alm.com. I hope to see you there! (You can register here.)