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


9:45 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
10:30 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


11:00 am

Networking break

11:30 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.


12:40 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?



1:10 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?

A2        Running the perfect pitch process
What works and what does not?  What is best practice?  Join this session for tips and tricks, lessons learned, war stories. This is for you if you oversee any technology purchases in your firm!

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?

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.
Suggested expert:  an external specialist with experience in creating diverse environments

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.

A6        Your data protection bootcamp (and this is NOT about GDPR)
We’ve all heard the horror stories – firm wants to move to a new PMS, current PMS provider sees data as a weapon and refuses to release firm’s own data. Avoid this nightmare situation by considering issues of ownership, security and covenants beforeyou sign on the dotted line. Our expert will advise you on what to look for when handing your firm’s data over to a systems provider.

A7        Getting the most of Office 365
Everyone’s using it – but almost no one is getting the best out of it. Our expert will give you hints and tips to maximise Office 365 in your firm – with a clear focus on your perspective as the customer.

A8        Making the most of Power BI
Business intelligence has the potential to transform your business. Hear from our expert about getting the most out of Microsoft’s Power BI offering.

A9        All of your Outlook problems solved…

A10      Your Azure questions answered

A11      Best practice in vendor management

A12      Best practice in data analytics

A13      Getting the most out of social collaboration tools
Microsoft Teams, Huddle, Slack, HighQ, SafeLink and new business collaboration tools coming from Skype and Facebook - there are so many social products out there. Could this mean the end of email? And where should you begin in choosing one?  What’s developing in the market? Who’s using what? What can different social platforms offer us?

A14      Hype buster – everything you need to know about AI in 15 minutes
Having just finished Oxford University course in artificial intelligence, Duncan gets beyond the sales hype and the marketing rhetoric with this short and punchy session.  He’ll give you a condensed version of what he’s learned on the course, filtered through the eyes of an experienced legal IT director.
Your expert: Duncan Eadie, Director of Information Technology, Charles Russell Speechlys


3:15 pm

Networking break

3:35 pm

Microsoft Expert Speakers’ Corner

During the second half of an extended afternoon networking break, we’ll revisit the Microsoft-related topics from our new Ask the Expert sessions.  If you missed the expert updates on Office365, Azure, Outlook and PowerBI, come along to the Speakers’ Corner to hear 5-minutes of distilled hints and tips on making the most of each programme.

15.35    Office365
15.40    Azure
15.45    Outlook
15.50    Power BI

3:55 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 has recently replaced its practice management system – which system they chose and why, lessons learned during implementation, and advice on managing a large-scale project while still getting the day job done.

B2        Time recording case study
We’ve been looking at time recording, how get people to do it quickly and accurately, working with a new small firm – working together on a pilot (Roger Pickett, SmartUp), looking at new ways of doing time recording

B3        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?

B4        Using social collaboration tools to communicate with employees and/or clients
This is the story of one firm and their use of social collaboration tools – what we chose and why, how it’s working in practice, what we wish we’d done differently and what do our employees think? What do our clients think?

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

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        AI in practice – a real case study
At last firms are starting to put AI into practice and good use cases are emerging.  We’ll look at how a firm is getting real insight into documents and workflows using AI.

B9        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

B10     Security on smartphones and tablets
Steve Sumner, Director of IT, Taylor Vinters


5:10 pm

Networking break

5:20 pm

NEW FORMAT for 2019: Legal tech start-up pitches – 10 x 10 x 10: 10 start-ups, 10 round tables, 10 delegates per table

It’s hard to keep up with the plethora of new tech products entering the legal market. Legal Geek’s legal tech map lists no fewer than 34 entrants to the market in 2018 alone.  This curated session is designed to help you figure out which new products offer real value to your practice, by providing you with an overview of ten new techs, chosen because they are relevant to the challenges you face.

How will it work?
Ten delegates will sit at each round table.  Ten start-ups* will visit each table to make a short pitch. In five minutes or less, they’ll explain:
- what challenge their product addresses
- how it works
- what it costs
- what it achieved for client/s

At the end of the five-minute pitch, the start-ups will move to the next table. Delegates remain seated and wait for each vendor to visit their table.

6:10 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

9:30 am

Registration and morning coffee

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

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

From 2009 until 2018, we dedicated this slot in the programme to a look at what was coming down the tech pipeline and/or the changing role of the IT director in mid-market law.  Last year, to mark this event’s 10thyear, Pete looked back in order to look forward, to consider what the future held for the IT director in 2018.

In 2019, much of what Pete predicted is already here, it’s already happening.  Today he’ll consider what the tech and innovation “ecosystem” could / should look like.  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 complexity of regulation and compliance, the development of legal technologists and lawyers-who-code, the growth of the IT director into a CIO who is part of the management team. These developments have completely changed what the legal business needs from IT.  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 offering the business in terms of outcomes not inputs. How can you make this most of this moment in which the business is, finally, truly engaged with what tech can offer?  How should modern IT provision adapt to these changes?  How can you seize this opportunity?

10:40 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?

11:20 am

Networking break

11:50 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 needing to a 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.  This session will give you much-needed insight into the state of the PMS market, to help your firm make the right decisions.

12:20 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.

1:00 pm

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