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If you have an interesting story to tell and would like to join our speaker panel, please contact:
Sarah Katherine Bagshaw
07701 091 664

Day One – 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


9:40 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.


  • William Higham Consumer Futurist, Expert, Author, Speaker & Founder - Next Big Thing
10:25 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? An audience panel of managing partner/s, IT director/s and technology business leader/s 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


  • Sarah Blair Director of IT - Thorntons Law
  • Shaun Jardine Commercial Director & Director of Legal Services - Brethertons Solicitors
  • View full profile for Amir MehdiAmir Mehdi CIO Legal & Head Office - Barclays
  • Alex Smith Global RAVN Product Lead - iManage
10:50 am

Future-proofing your tech strategy and investments: the 6 things law firms need to do, right now

Ranked by the FT as one of the three most innovative lawyers in the UK and the former head of technology and innovation at a global law firm, Derek will give you a whirlwind 15-minute sense-check on what you need to do now to get your tech strategy and investment right.

Keynote Speaker

11:05 am

Networking break

11:35 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 facilitated by:
Simon Drane, Managing Director, Earlsferry Advisory and with
Greg Smith, Partner & Co-Lead, Digital Problem Solving, Arthur D Little


  • Alex Edds Director of Innovation - JLL
  • Chris Bull Legal Operations Architect, Deloitte Legal - Deloitte

12:30 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?



1:00 pm


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

2:00 pm

NEW FORMAT for 2019: Ask the experts

Take one “subject matter expert” + 5 minutes best practice summary + 10 participants + 30 minutes in which the expert answers as many questions as possible = the chance for you to get up to speed, hear answers to your specific questions and learn from others’ issues.

These sessions differ from the classic Alternative Events round table discussion in that they are led by matter experts – from consultancy, academia, the vendor community - rather than your peers.

There will be two x 35-minute sessions, so you’ll have to chance to ask two experts everything you always wanted to know about…

A1        Legal design thinking
What is it and what can it do for your firm/IT department?
Your expert: Luke Battye, Managing Partner, Sprint Valley

A2        Running the perfect tech procurement process
What works and what does not?  What is best practice? Join this session for tips and tricks, lessons learned and war stories from a commercial partner who works with the Cripps Pemberton Greenish IT team on their internal procurement projects and who assists clients with IT procurement contracts both from a supplier and customer perspective.  This is for you if you oversee any technology purchases and contracts in your firm.
Your expert: Kathryn Rogers, Partner, Commercial Team & Member of IT Strategy Group, Cripps Pemberton Greenish

A3        Successfully managing the shift to cloud
The move to the cloud is one of the biggest paradigm shifts you’ll make as an IT director, so you need to get it right. We’ll consider: cloud for infrastructure projects, desktops, remote access, services; the comparative pros and cons of private cloud, public cloud and vendor cloud; cloud for PMS; security considerations around different cloud options. Plus, we’ll try to understand the costs – how much more will software-as-a-service end up costing?
Your expert: Stephen Brown, Consultant & Head of Project Services, Lights-On Consulting Ltd

A4        Top 10 tips to help you make your IT department a more diverse environment
It’s highly likely that:
- all the tech used in your firm is designed by men
- the majority of your employees are from similar backgrounds
- your physical workplace is designed for men
As an IT leader, we want to give you the skill set to improve diversity in your team, to make your environment attractive to a more representative workforce. What can your IT department do to encourage women and diverse groups to join it? Are there sectors that have been more successful at diversity in tech? Our expert will look at the ten things you can do first to make a real difference.
Your expert: Yasmin Sheikh, Founder, Diverse Matters

A5        IA before AI - getting your information architecture right
Data is the foundation for automation, but you must structure data before you can make use of it. Are we capturing the data we need?  Do we/can we understand it?  Can we get it back out of our systems? Can we trust it? Join us if you want to build a good data foundation for you firm.
Your expert: Alex Smith, Global RAVN Product Lead, iManage

A6       Your data protection bootcamp (and how GDPR can protect you)
We’ve all heard the horror stories – firm wants to move to a new PMS, current PMS provider has put data into a proprietary format requiring conversion, with conversion an expensive “service” that the law firm has no option but to use.  Avoid this nightmare by considering issues of ownership, security and covenants beforeyou sign on the dotted line, and understanding that GDPR is a law firm’s friend in this situation. Our expert will advise you on what to look for when taking on a new solution and will give you a clear understanding of your rights under GDPR regarding return of data, in a standard format, upon termination of contract. 
Your expert: Tim Hyman, Data Protection Officer, 2Twenty4 Consulting

A7        Getting the most of Office 365
Everyone’s using it – but almost no one is getting the best out of it. Our experts will help you give you insight into using Office 365 tools such as Teams, Flow, Planner, Power BI, SharePoint to deliver legal use cases in your Firm – with a clear focus on your perspective as the customer.
Sheila Gormley, Co-Founder & Director of Business Development, Repstor
Fergus Wilson, Co-Founder and CTO, Repstor

A8    Providing operational support for agile working
Agile working will fail without the right operational framework.  Your expert will answer all your questions about what the IT director needs to get right to make agile working successful in your firm.

A9      Best practice in vendor management
Your expert: David Baskerville, Director & Lead Consultant, Baskerville Drummond

A10      Up-to-the-minute update on cyber security for law firms – all your questions answered



3:15 pm

Networking break

4:45 pm

Peer-to-peer discussions

Back by popular demand, our delegates’ favourite round table discussion sessions return for the 11thyear.  Focused on how other firms deal with the challenges you are facing, these interactive and informal discussions are an integral part of an Alternative Event. They follow Chatham House rules, giving you the freedom to speak your mind, while small groups allow everyone to participate. Join a discussion and get insight into your peers’ challenges and find solutions to your own.

There will be 2 x 35-minute sessions, allowing you to attend two different peer-led discussions.

B1        Our PMS replacement journey
A case study from a firm that is currently undergoing the switch to a new practice management system – what we are looking for and how we are preparing for the change; lessons learned in the process so far; the wise advice we’ve been given by others along the way.
Cathy Kirby, Technology Director, Coffin Mew

B2        Time recording case study
A case study looking at our recent time recording project – new ways to deal with a perennial problems, how our pilot worked and how we persuaded our people to do it quickly and accurately
Phil Wood, Head of IT, Bristows

B3       Evaluating the benefits of public and private cloud
We'll explore the journey of evaluation one firm took when choosing to move their infrastructure into the cloud. We’ll look at how the ultimate decision was reached and how they considered the advantages and disadvantages that public, private and hybrid cloud offer. We’ll also go through the common use cases for each cloud option and provide you with a framework to conduct a similar review for your firm.
Anthony Terry, Director of IT, GWlegal

B4       Using social collaboration tools:  an early report from our roll out of Microsoft Teams
This is the story of one firm and its early days using a social collaboration tool. We’ll look at why these tools are valuable, why we chose to use Teams and will share some early stories about how it’s working in practice.
Mark Davidson, Director of IT, Birkett Long

B5        How can we adequately support agile working
Mid-market law has a real opportunity to exploit the workforce’s desire for flexibility – the offer of agile working can help us take talent from bigger firms with more rigid practices.  But agile working is doomed to failure unless it is operationally efficient. How can we reach this point?  What steps do we need to take?  What support needs to be in place?  What organisational mindset is required?
Tim Roche, Head of IT, Stone King

B6        Our change management journey
While we are not there yet, our firm is mapping out our “why”, our vision, our mission and values.  We’ll discuss how far we’ve come and what’s still to come. And we’ll look at co-creation, design thinking and some of the other ways we are getting our people to think outside the “lawyerly” box and about the impact of technology and data on the firm.
Abby Winkworth, Partner – Marketing & Business Development, IBB Solicitors

B7        Creating a space for innovation in your firm
It’s hard to innovate while you are busy keeping the lights on. We’ll look at how the creation of a space (in time, in location) where people can get away from day-to-day has helped to inspire innovation in the firm.
Sarah Blair, Director of IT, Thorntons

B8        How can the IT director help innovation flourish in the firm?
How can the IT department help lawyers innovate?  How can IT work with the business to help create new products and services?  Now that lawyers are finally engaged in innovation, how can we maximise this opportunity? Where are the easy wins? Is there an innovation methodology we can follow?
Duncan Eadie, Director of Information Technology, Charles Russell Speechlys

B9     Security on smartphones and tablets
Legal firms are a prime target for mobile phishing attacks as they rely on their smartphones, with 80% of law firms reporting phishing attempts in 2018. The goal of attacks is to capture corporate credentials to get to sensitive client information. IT and security teams must be able to provide security tools that identify phishing links on mobile devices across personal and work applications, including corporate and personal email and messaging.
Steve Sumner, Director of IT, Taylor Vinters

B10        Best practice data management/analytics for mid-market law
Get the inside story from a firm that’s deep into data.  What data does your firm need access to in order to improve the business?  Are you recording the right things to generate that data?  Once recorded, can you get access to that data?  Once you’ve accessed it, can you be sure you can trust it?  What does the typical firm need to do better in order to make more of the data you already hold?
Nigel Stott, Head of IT, Hudgells Solicitors


5:00 pm

Networking break

Take a quick breather and grab a drink before joining us for the final engaging session of the day.

5:15 pm

The Samoan Circle – an Alternative panel discussion: How can IT make the most of this moment in which the business is, finally, truly engaged with what tech can offer?

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 between four IT directors.

This is a critical moment.  The provision of IT services has moved beyond the traditional IT director and IT department – responsibility for tech and innovation has spread throughout the firm and “IT” must re-brand beyond just plumbing and enterprise.  “IT” must get into the middle of innovation and help drive it.  IT leaders must talk about needs and solutions instead of tech products and re-frame what you are offering the business in terms of outcomes not inputs. This is the chance to have your say about how IT can seize this opportunity.

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



  • Chris Bull Legal Operations Architect, Deloitte Legal - Deloitte
6:00 pm

Chair’s closing remarks and end of day one


7:30 pm

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

Day Two – Wednesday 2 October 2019

9:00 am

Registration and morning coffee

NEW for 2019: Product Demo Session
Book a time with one of our sponsors to receive a one-to-one product demonstration.

10:00 am

Chair’s welcome and opening remarks


10:10 am

The Alternative Legal IT Directors’ Live Survey:

Using’s anonymous voting technology, this quick survey will ease you into day two.   And we’ll include some of the results for yesterday’s survey of Managing Partners.

10:20 am

Strategy session: How should today’s provision of IT in mid-market law change to meet current and future needs of the business?

For the last 10 years we have dedicated this slot in the programme to strategy and looking at what was coming down the tech pipeline and/or the changing role of the IT director in mid-market law.  The session have been led by Peter Owen, Director of Lights-On Consulting and last year, to mark this event’s 10thyear, Pete looked back in time in order to look forward, to consider what the future held for the IT director post 2018.

In 2019, much of what Pete predicted is already happening.  Today he’ll consider what the tech and innovation “ecosystem” could / should look like to be able to support the future.  Things have changed rapidly:  migration to the cloud, the rise of the apps, development of software-as-a-service, the sharp rise in “shadow IT”, increased regulation and compliance, the development of legal technologists and lawyers-who-code. These developments have completely changed what the legal business needs from IT and we are reaching a critical point.

Pete will explore how tech and the tech ecosystem must change to support the IT team and firm and how the IT team must change to continue to be a key player in technology delivery.


10:50 am

Keynote Panel: Thought leadership from legal technology business leaders on how they are preparing for the next generation of users and the evolving needs of future IT provision in legal

Product experts from three legal product/service providers discuss what are they doing to prepare their products for a new generation of users and how they will meet the changing needs of legal IT departments. What do our vendors understand about lawyers as users and what they want from tech tools? How can our legal tech businesses help IT directors get into the middle of the innovation process in their firms?


11:30 am

Networking break

11:55 am

Making sense of the crazy state of the legal PMS market

End of life is looming for some of the legal sectors’ key products, meaning that 34 out of the top 100 UK law firms are due to replace their PMS in the next two years.  The sheer number of firms needingtoa new system could cause bottlenecks in purchasing and implementation across the industry.  Plus, there are many new entrants to the PMS market, making it difficult to assess and compare vendors.  We’ll start with a much-needed high-level overview of the state of the PMS market, followed by a discussion with clients.

Client panel:
- what each expected from the PMS replacement process versus what actually happened
- what level of support did their firms need (internally, from the PMS vendor, from external consultants) and did they get it?


12:40 pm

Closing keynote panel: Designing the future IT department

Despite massive and rapid changes in the technology landscape over the past 5-10 years, the IT Director’s role remains something of a “closed shop”, with a general tacit agreement that IT departments do more or less the same thing at more or less the same pace so that our customers don’t really have a choice.  This keeps things comfortable for the firm and the people within it, including the IT Director.

Therefore, real change must come from within.  And that change starts here.

Responding to yesterday’s discussion with law firms’ next generation, Pete Owen’s opening keynote this morning and our panel of vendors before the break, we bring together a diverse group of mid-market IT leaders to design the future provision of IT to our firms:
- Now that we are (or will soon be) server-free, there is a complete change in support requirements.  What skills do I need in my team? Specialist finance skills to manage the costs of cloud services? The ability to help our internal clients change, to help our users make the tech work?  The ability to work with/manage vendors?
- What disciplines do we need to provide in our team? What’s the right balance of “techies”, legal technologists, designers, project managers, vendor liaison, trainers, analysts, innovators?
- Should we build our tech team from within or buy, by relying on contractors to fill specific gaps? If we “buy”, how can we retain clear oversight of the big projects, when we no longer have those skills / that knowledge in the business?
- How can we find the right mix of people and then hold on to them?
- How can IT work with the business to help create new products and services?
- How can we harness the benefit of tech to strengthen the firm’s relationship with clients?

To wrap up, we’ll ask each panellist to help us build the ideal IT department by choosing one essential component of the modern provision of IT in mid-market legal. We’ll put these components together to leave you with a list of the top 5 elements you need to make sure your tech provision is up to future challenges.


1:20 pm

Chair’s closing remarks and close of conference followed by lunch served in the delegate lounge


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