On 23rd October at the Shard in London we hosted our first – our very first – networking forum. But why do we want to add yet another event to the already overwhelming Legal Tech events calendar?

  1. We approached the event (and the whole idea of a networking forum) from an entirely business-focussed perspective. Technology in itself is only a tool, it is the business outcome that matters;
  2. As such, we were determined that both business leaders (Managing Partners, Partners, CEO’s and FD’s) and IT professionals would attend the event alongside each other. Whilst this is a generalisation, we believe that for far too long IT professionals have been concentrating on the technology, whilst business leaders have not had an adequate understanding of the benefits that technology can deliver. Thus, bringing the two together was fundamental to our approach;
  3. The entire day’s programme was constructed around a central theme – in this instance, practice management systems, which is a highly relevant topic since at least 43% of the mid-market are still using PMS systems which have been made end of life.
  4. As Baskerville Drummond, we presented an overview of the current PMS market, and the strategies to be used for selection, implementation and change management. This set the scene by covering the major aspects and introducing the in-depth presentations by Derek Cummings of Protiviti on the often-neglected area of change management, and its criticality to the success of a PMS implementation with Andrew Thomson tackling building the business case and leadership and partnership buy-in
  5. In the afternoon, we had presentations to compare and contrast the benefits of Single Solution PMS’s and Best of Breed. Paul Graham, FD of Carson McDowell supported by Linetime discussed the advantages of Single Solution solutions, whilst Tim Roche of Stone King, supported by Thomson Reuters Elites exposed the virtues of Best Of Breed.
  6. In between, we facilitated structured networking round-tables, with the emphasis on information sharing and mutual education.
We are NOT an events company and had no experience of what is required to organise events of this nature (other than as attendees). Believe me, the work required to make the day a success was far more intensive than we had, perhaps naively, anticipated and we have a renewed respect for those who put on the major events!

Overall, and certainly based on the feedback we have received, the day was more successful than we had anticipated even at our most optimistic.

When we started to plan the event, we thought it would be a good achievement to get 20 – 30 people together, we could never have anticipated the 52 who were in the room at as the event kicked-off.

“Thank you! The most useful conference on PMS / IT generally, I have attended”
Richard Wyatt, Finance Director, Greenwoods GRM LLP“The event engaged participants – it was very useful to set a central theme and to present on all the various aspects. Attendees knew why they were there”
Adrienne Cohen, Director, Silverman Advisory

“Very useful and informative. Excellent venue (but a slog to get there). Interesting people at the roundtable networking”
Robin Thain, Head of IT, Lanyon Bowdler LLP

“A great networking and sharing event! Events like these help to bridge the gap between tech and the business so well done to all at BDCL. People who look after IT often find themselves in conferences attended mainly by technologists and legal tech suppliers. The highlight for me was listening to people with finance roles share their perspective on change management and PMS selection. The sharing of war stories during breakout sessions was also interesting at the same time useful; I am sure this will set the tone for more interesting topics of debate in the future.”
Christel Aguila, Head of IT and Partner at Winckworth Sherwood LLP
As our attendees have been so positive and indicated they would attend future events we are persuaded that the formula was effective, and that the format and content of the event bridged a gap between the business and technology which is notoriously difficult to overcome.

We have learnt some valuable lessons, had some great constructive feedback and will undoubtedly do a few things differently next time, but as the adage goes “if you never try you will never know”.

We would like to thank our speakers Derek Cummings, Andrew Thomson, Paul Graham and Tim Roche for their time and effort in making their presentations so relevant and unique for our event. Protiviti and Simon Wiggs, for hosting us so well and Linetime and Thomson Reuters for assisting in covering some of the costs.

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