Last Year's Agenda

June 2, 2021

10:30AM – 10:45AM ET

Welcome & Opening Remarks

Tom Jones, CEO/Founder,
Iridium Technology

10:45AM – 11:30AM ET

Inside-Out: Exceeding Expectations

When it comes to building a business, everything begins and ends with relationships. The relationships between your frontline people and your clients, the relationships between operations team members and managers...you get the idea. The real competitive edge is the extent to which each person on the collective team C.A.R.E.S. How invested is each person in manifesting the grandest vision and, at the same time, taking care of the smallest details? Not because they are told to but because it’s integrated in the collective WHY. This is how the engine of sustainable success gains momentum. This is how we differentiate our firms and practices in a competitive market. In this high energy and practical keynote on client experience and personal leadership, Trisha Miltimore will share tools for developing differentiation that is more than lip service, and tips for driving innovation that fuels growth (in clients, people and profits).

Trisha Miltimore, Chief Passion Igniter,
Contagious Leadership Training

 

11:30AM – 11:45AM ET
Break

11:45AM – 12:30PM ET

2020: A Perfect Storm of Profitability Driving Change or an Aberration?

Join a panel of (mid-sized) law firm leaders to discuss how 2020 has changed how we think about performance. Was 2020 an inflection point, or an aberration? What impact does it have on our business model, client, and profit metrics? How has the competitive marketplace inspired new thinking and speed to change—and what does this mean for the middle market specifically? New data strategies? And what is the implication for industry dynamism in the coming years?

Hilary Guthrie, Chief Business Development Officer,
Harris Beach PLLC

Graciela G. Cowger, Chief Executive Officer,
Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt

Howard P. Janis, ALPP, Chief Operating Officer,
Nexsen Pruet, LLC

Thomas Van Der Moere, Chief Financial Officer,
Neal Gerber & Eisenberg, LLP

Moderator:
Mark Medice, Principal,
LawVision

12:30PM – 1:15PM ET

Lunch Break

1:15PM – 2:00PM ET

Why Mid-Sized Law Firms? Identifying and Leveraging Competitive Advantages Relative to Firm Size and Agility

Are mid-sized law firms in a unique position to compete? Some view this segment as facing challenges in scale, footprint and unable to afford the latest technological capabilities. Others see it as an agile, fleet-footed group able to provide tailored services with a strong personal touch—and one where firms can exploit mid-sized scale to be more responsive and tuned-in to the clients they serve. This lively panel discussion will consider, discuss and debate the unique competitive position that mid-sized firms find themselves in today – and why mid-sized firms may be the key to transforming the legal service delivery model. In this panel we will hear from several mid-sized law firms as they frame some of the opportunities in front of us – opportunities to innovate and manage change to transform practices, while redefining client service such that it’s not only a function of cost, but of benefit. Small to mid-sized law firms have a unique opportunity to unlock a key differentiator for clients—and that’s having the ability and know-how to deliver a superior client experience.

Ellen S. Cappellanti, Managing Member,
Jackson Kelly PLLC

Mike Mellor, Chief Marketing and Business Development Officer,
Pryor Cashman LLP

Brian Donnelly, Managing Partner,
Farella Braun + Martel LLP

Moderator:
Marcie Borgal Shunk, President and Founder,
The Tilt Institute Inc.

2:00PM – 2:15PM ET
Break

2:15PM – 3:00PM ET

Talent Acquisition and Retention – the Current War for Top Talent

While big firms attract the best students after law school, within a few years those top performers often seek opportunities to move beyond junior associate-level assignments to those with direct client interaction, substantive in-court responsibilities, and other work where they step out from the background. While some of these associates seek government positions to gain much of this experience, small and mid-size firms are also compelling destinations. Not only will the younger attorney be assigned higher-level work, but they will also have greater mentorship opportunities from senior partners, enhanced work flexibility and other monetary and non-monetary benefits.
Small and mid-sized firms also benefit by bringing in highly motivated associates that have been trained by some of the best firms in the country, and usually have reduced salary demands given the opportunities the smaller firms provide. This cost savings allows smaller firms to compete in the courtroom against the big firms and outside of it with increasingly cost-conscious clients.
In this session we will dig deeper into what top talent seeks and how small and mid-sized firms can create a destination for those high performing associates. We will also discuss the benefits that the smaller firms gain as a result and how it enhances the firms’ abilities provide competitive legal services for companies of all sizes.

Damian Cavaleri, Partner,
Hoguet Newman Regal & Kenney, LLP

3:00PM – 3:15PM ET
Break

3:15PM – 4:00PM ET

Productivity, Creativity, and Collaboration... in the New Normal

Nicholas Bloom, a Stanford University economics professor who studies working from home, says that while his research has shown that people are 13% more productive when working from home, creativity suffers. “Home is quieter,” says Bloom. ‘The problem is - home is not very creative. And of course, working from home also negatively impacts collaboration. Yet, lawyers and law firm staff enjoy working remotely so much that 67% want to continue that arrangement once offices fully reopen following the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey by a company that does leadership training for law firms. This enlightening discussion will investigate:
• Whether the efficiency gained by working remotely is outweighed by the impact on innovation and collaboration of working remotely
• How to mitigate impacts on creativity and collaboration while recognizing and maximizing productivity positives
• Steps mid-sized law firms can take to maintain collaboration.

Robert Surrette, Shareholder & President,
McAndrews, Held & Malloy, Ltd.

4:00PM – 4:15PM ET
Break

4:15PM – 4:45PM ET

How Law Firms Are Leveraging Data for Business Development and Marketing

One of the biggest challenges law firms are currently facing is finding ways to gain new business, with the same business development team and resources. That’s why Kalisha Crawford, Director of Marketing and Business Development, Ropers Majeski and Jason Noble, Co-Founder and President of ikaun and will be discussing how firms can leverage their existing experience to drive better business development and marketing initiatives during this session.

Topics:
• Why efficient production of relevant firm experience is more important than ever.
• Which data points help marketing and business development teams the most.
• One law firm’s approach to harvesting relevant experience and data points.

Learning outcomes:
• Identify which data points help to make solid business development decisions.
• Discuss how to harvest these data points within your data ecosystem.
• Define a strategic approach to ongoing data management and how to get started.

Kalisha Crawford, Director of Marketing & Business Development,
Ropers Majeski

Jason Noble, President,
ikaun

4:45PM – 5:00PM ET

Closing Remarks

Tom Jones, CEO/Founder,
Iridium Technology

5:00PM – 5:45PM ET

Virtual Networking Reception

Turn on your camera and join us in the networking lobby for that face-to-face networking experience we’ve all been missing. Mimicking hallway chats, this is your opportunity to connect with other attendees, speakers, and solutions providers. Networking has never been easier – join a small group of up to 8 people, hop around to different tables with just a click, and enjoy saying hello to familiar faces and taking part in relevant industry discussions. We’ll see you in the lobby!

June 3, 2021

10:30AM – 10:45AM ET

Opening Remarks

Tom Jones, CEO/Founder,
Iridium Technology

10:45AM – 11:30AM ET

The Client’s View of Today’s Competitive Landscape for Legal Services

The legal service model (at present) seems to be stuck—which has given rise to new entrants into the legal market and increased competition. Are mid-sized law firms in a unique position to compete? Some view this segment as facing challenges in scale, footprint and unable to afford some of the latest shiny, new technological tools and capabilities. Others view this market segment as an agile, fleetfooted group able to provide tailored services with a strong personal touch—and one where firms can exploit mid-sized scale to be more responsive and tuned-in to the clients they serve. In this dynamic and free-flowing discussion, attendees will hear from the client-side on issues that concern value, cost, service and client experience.

Meredith Ritchie, SVP, General Counsel and Chief Ethics & Government Affairs Officer,
Alliant Credit Union

Andrew Hughes, Vice President, Litigation,
ViacomCBS

Richard Brzakala, Director, Global External Legal Services,
CIBC Legal Department, Canada

11:30AM – 11:45AM ET
Break

11:45AM – 12:30PM ET

Magnify Your Impact: How to Deliver Big-Firm Financial Analytics on a Mid-Sized Budget

Sure, giant firms have teams of developers, financial analysts, and data scientists to create world-class financial applications. But your mid-sized firm has distinct advantages such as agility and decisiveness that can help you thrive against well-funded competitors. Attend this session to learn how you can use powerful--yet affordable--analytical tools to deliver the same sophisticated analyses and in-depth reports that the big firms enjoy and to capture perceptive insights that help you bolster your firm's strengths and amplify your competitive edge.

Lisa Waligorski, CLM, PHRca, Executive Director,
Newmeyer & Dillion

Kari Durnell, Accounting Manager,
Tucker Ellis LLP

Eric Hunter, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer,
Bradford & Barthel, LLP


Moderator:
Tom Jones, CEO/Founder,
Iridium Technology

12:30PM – 1:15PM ET

Lunch Break

1:15PM – 2:00PM ET

Helping IT Serve its Higher Purpose in the Firm

In far too many law firms, the IT serves as utility function focused mainly on keeping the lights on and lawyers working as they have for the past 20 years. While there are certain business strategies for IT structuring as a utility service, HBR rarely runs into firms doing this as conscious business strategy from the Partnership. This represents a missed opportunity for law firms facing an increasingly competitive landscape from upmarket firms, boutiques, in-house counsel and non-traditional entrants. Today we will focus on common problems and specific actions firm leadership can take to unleash the full potential of their CIOs considerable talent. In return, we will cover some of the most common mistakes that CIOs make that prevent them from becoming strategic contributors to the firm and how to change this. Using this 360-degree framework, law firms can work with their technology leadership to help IT serve its higher purpose in the firm.

Erik Schmidt, Client Engagement, Managed Services,
HBR Consulting LLC

 

2:00PM – 2:15PM ET
Break

2:15PM – 3:00PM ET

Recognizing and Overcoming Internal Barriers to Innovation

Innovation in actual practice has never been more important, and yet the most significant barriers to innovation within most law firms often come from the very history, culture, perspectives, and personalities that make up the firm itself. This dynamic session will address several fundamental questions based on some common assumptions.  You are developing your firm’s vision towards innovation, but where do you start and how do you ensure that your vision translates into a tangible template for success? Your template for innovation is set, but how do you achieve buy-in from your board of directors?  You have buy-in from your board of directors, but challenges around leadership and cohesive coordination persist.  Your firm has established an innovation program or initiative, but the content within the program is becoming stale, and committee meetings are becoming routine rather than affecting change.  How do you ensure this program evolves in a forward fashion with continued relevance, impact and return on investment? In this segment, attendees will learn the answers to these questions and more!

Eric Hunter, Chief Technology and Innovation Officer,
Bradford & Barthel, LLP

 

3:00PM – 3:15PM ET
Break

3:15PM – 4:00PM ET

Mid-Sized Law Firm Innovation Moving to Advance Diversity & Inclusion

Culture not only gives meaning to or provides context for the work that we do and the products/services that we create and offer. But culture is also our social capital and an asset to be carefully nurtured. Despite the legal profession’s focus on diversity and inclusion over the past several decades, the percentage of female partners in law firms has remained disproportionately low. Recognizing both pressure from clients to field more diverse legal teams and the reality that
diversity and inclusion represent a significant competitive advantage, mid-sized law firms are aspiring to promote inclusion and increase diversity among its ranks. This lively panel discussion will shine a light on what some mid-sized law firms are doing to implement new hiring and promotion practices, improving the pipeline of women eligible for partnership—while exploring the relationship between organizational culture and business performance, profitability, growth, client satisfaction, and innovation.

Kansas R. Gooden, Shareholder,
Boyd & Jenerette, P.A.

Dawn Siler-Nixon, Partner,
FordHarrison LLP

Melissa A. Peña, Management Committee Member, Attorney & Chair of the Meritas Women’s Leadership Congress and Meritas Executive Council
Norris McLaughlin, P.A.

Moderator:
Sona Pancholy, President,
Meritas Global Legal Network

4:00PM – 4:15PM ET
Break

4:15PM – 5:00PM ET

Integrating Feedback into the Entire Client Lifecycle

For the highest performing firms with the greatest client loyalty, multi-faceted client listening programs are at the center of firm strategy. A robust client feedback program ensures individual partners, practice and industry groups and client times are delivering excellent client service and distinguishing themselves from their competitors. This final session will explore the entire feedback life cycle through the lens of a smaller mid-sized firm (Stradling) and a larger mid-sized firm (Benesch). We will discuss how to integrate feedback into your process, from client intake to the first matter, to supporting the most mature and sophisticated client relationships. More specifically, this session will reveal best practices in how to incorporate feedback principles across firm initiatives.

Robin Gerard, Chief Marketing Officer,
Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth

Jeanne Hammerstrom, Chief Marketing Officer,
Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP

Nat Slavin, Partner,
Wicker Park Group

5:00PM – 5:15PM ET

Closing Remarks

Tom Jones, CEO/Founder,
Iridium Technology