The Australasian Legal Practice Management Association (ALPMA) along with the Law Council of Australia’s Law Management Group will hold the third annual Regional Law Firm Management Forum on October 19, 2018 in Singapore at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. The Singapore Academy of Law is the event Knowledge Partner for this all-day conference.

In this Q&A interview, Andrew Barnes, Chief Executive Officer of Sladen Legal and immediate past president of ALPMA, explains what to expect from this years’ event:

The Third Regional Law Firm Management Forum will take place in Singapore on October 19th.  What is unique about this year’s event and why should law firm management attend the event?  

As this is our third year we are working with new people who offer greater insight in to what matters in the region.  We had somewhat of a handle in year 1, improved in year 2 but this year we have pulled together a broad program that touches on what we see as key pillars in law firm management – People, Tech, BD and Strategy.  The fundamentals of law firm management are universal.  We also have a great panel of sponsors who will be involved in the event, including two who will give 15 minutes each on the new world of office space and practical applications of AI, respectively.  Legal tech dominates the CPD landscape, but we stay in the management lane and would describe our program as ‘tech aware’.

What important changes have taken place in the Asia-Pacific legal market in the last year that will be covered by the event?   

I am not sure we are reacting to changes over the past 12 months by putting on the program we have settled on.  What I would say is that we have set a conference theme (Law Firms: Prepare to Manage, Prepare to Lead) and asked prospective speakers, all of whom have worked in Singapore and the region over the past 12 months, how they would present against that backdrop.  Law firm management is still the domain of practicing partners in many firms, so we are challenging attendees to consider the difference between managing and leading, operations and strategy, etc.  One of the first commitments to our program came from Mark Cohen who was recently named the LIFTED Catalyst-in-Residence at the Singapore Academy of Law.  His blogs via Legal Mosaic are just so on point.  I met Mark in the US earlier in the year and when we realised our paths were going to cross in Singapore he became the basis around which our program was developed.

ALPMA is the lead organization supporting the event – why should law firm leaders engaged with ALPMA?  

We also work with part of the Law Council of Australia with this event.  We have been doing what we do for 25 years and each year we must refresh to remain relevant.  This is a continual challenge of a member-based volunteer driven Not for Profit association.  That said however we work with a variety of associations where appropriate to deliver the right content to our members.  We collaborate extensively and have recently entered in to a MoU with the College of Law to deepen our reach.  In delivering a conference in Singapore this is not a drive to expand ALPMA but a drive to encourage locals throughout the region to work with us to create a similar association under their own flag.  We received a similar boost to start up from an American association 25 years ago and our purpose is to support a group to be established locally.  We have some initial expressions of interest and we want to walk away from our event with more people putting their hands up to be part of it.

How can someone sign up to attend the event?  

The ALPMA website has the registration and program link are located here. Or simply Google “ALPMA Singapore”.

Posted by John Grimley

John Grimley edits and publishes Asia Law Portal. An independent writer & editor, he's the author of: A Comprehensive Guide to the Asia-Pacific Legal Markets (Ark Group 2014).

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