The NatWest Symphony Legal Spring Conference took place on Monday 18 March at the NatWest Conference Centre, London. It was a free event with over 100 delegates attending.
The theme throughout the event was “Powering Through Uncertainty” and kicked off with Neil Buckley, Chief Executive Officer, Legal Services Board talking about regulating through uncertain times and ensuring strategies are in place to limit the impact of technology and to work with regulatory bodies and learn from them.
Next up was Ross Walker, Managing Director, NatWest providing his outlook for the current economy and of course Brexit. Ross predicted :-
- the UK will remain in the EU longer than expected with an extension allowing the UK to remain in the EU until June
- that we can rule out a no deal outcome and
- growth will remain slow for the time being with interest rates expecting to stay the same this year.
So, as I write this, his first prediction we now know to be true!
After the mid-morning break, we had a Q&A panel session with excellent questions for our panel focusing on New Law Firm Ownership Models. Chris Setford, Joint CEO at Setfords discussed better ways of working for lawyers pointing out admin and support functions don’t have to be in the same office to give you the support structure you need, that’s the beauty of their innovative consultant-model. Steve Din, Founder, Doorway Capital provided insight into funding and access to capital for law firms in the UK. As such, Doorway is authorised by the SRA to own shares issued by firms of solicitors. Angela Caiger, Head of Corporate and Business Tax, Shaw Gibbs gave her top tips and insights into helping mitigate a law firm client’s tax liabilities. Richard Cowley, Director, RM2 gave food for thought with his business model helping law firm owners sell their businesses to their employees via Employee Ownership Trusts.
After the panel, the conference moved onto Consolidation In The Legal Sector with Sam Palmer, Partner, Pinsent Masons and Viv Williams, Consulting Director, Symphony Legal highlighting the strategies for success in this highly regulated and competitive sector are, strong financial disciplines, cash is king, capital reserves, profitability levels are tested, shed un-profitable work and partners receive full financial information. The key point is understanding what you don’t do successfully and accelerating what you do well!
Then the Supplier Panel opened up with “Not getting caught with your pants down” as said Neil Pointon, Associate Director, Howden Group highlighting the importance of Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) for Solicitors. Viv Williams, Consulting Director, Symphony Legal gave his top tips and insights around strategy, management, practice, development and marketing. Claire Smith, Head of Business Development Moneypenny talked about how their business worked with clients to bring them the best possible service for law firms providing chat and live chat software. Claire also gave insight into Moneypenny’s own business culture sharing why they have a very low staff turnover of 4%, and into their employee “Wow Chats” (something I will be using back on the office) and highlighted why many law firms have worked with them for 11 years and over. Trusted Xperts, Kerry Ballard, CEO talked about how they can connect clients with the very best law firms across the UK and last but not least Rich Dibbins, Head of Sales, Conscious Solutions highlighted the importance of communication between suppliers and making sure there are no barriers for decisions.
Next was Dinesh Raja, Bowling & Co and Prashant Maharaj, ANZA gave their insight into Offshoring, Outsourcing and Third Party Suppliers and how their businesses helped mid-sized law firms improve cash flow by carrying out straight forward file opening tasks to the more complex workflow amendments and process changes and improving turnaround time.
In our last talk of the day, Rich Dibbins, Head of Sales at Conscious Solutions talked about UX (User Experience) on Modern Law Firm of Websites. He highlighted five key points to consider when getting the best possible customer experience from your website :-
- Reviewing how your website performs today,
- Understanding your client personas e.g. referral and direct visitors,
- Analysing Google Analytics on a monthly basis,
- Making sure your website is mobile responsive,
- Creating great profile pages to show off your fantastic team.
Lastly, we would like to thank our sponsors for their continued support throughout this event and future events.
Take a look at the slides from the day by downloading the files below.