The Second Regional Law Firm Management Forum took place Friday November 3, 2017, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Singapore. This year’s Forum focused on how non-legal professional in law firms can become critical contributors to firm strategies. Andrew Barnes, President of Forum sponsor Australasian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA), and Chief Executive Officer of Sladen Legal, outlines the key takeaways from this year’s Forum in this interview:
The 2nd Annual Singapore Forum just wrapped up. What are the main takeaways from the event?
Maybe the take away was to not stand still – a pretty constant message in legal related conferences these days. We focussed on the value business professionals bring to the firm through their own professional disciplines. If we pause and step outside of the purely lawyer perspective, the strategic view can be enhanced.
One of the main themes of the event was about the importance of non-lawyer strategic advisors to law firms getting a seat at the strategic table. Did conference speakers and attendees see this as improving?
Not improving as such, but evolving. The term non-lawyer was blacklisted in our opening keynote by Sumith Perera. There are already many firms who heavily engage their business professionals in strategy development – there is a huge opportunity for there to be many more.
ALPMA has taken a leadership role in helping Asia-Pacific region law firms adapt to the fast changing legal marketplace. What do you have planned for this year?
ALPMA itself will set a new three year strategy early in the new calendar year. Without pre-empting what that might be, I expect the three key areas of focus will be (i) relevance and convenience of L&D offerings, (ii) driving our reputation as a contributor to the profession, rather than a feeder off of it and (iii) ongoing core relationship development with like-minded bodies.
After a successful 2nd Annual Singapore Forum – do you foresee a third next year?
Yes, we have a number of local professionals on the ground wanting to be part of a third event and going as far as potentially establishing a local, collaborative, yet independent association – which has been our objective from day one.