Richard Susskind OBE

Author, Tomorrow's Lawyers

Professor Richard Susskind OBE advises law firms and in-house legal departments around the world. His main area of expertise is the future of legal services. His books include The End of Lawyers? (2008), and Tomorrow’s Lawyers (2013), and he has written around 150 columns for The Times.  He is President of the Society for Computers and Law and IT Adviser to the Lord Chief Justice.

Guy Stobart

Chief Executive Officer, Kennedys

Guy has been involved with law firm management since the late 1980’s. Up until then he had practiced as a lawyer at Slaughter and May and Burges Salmon and he became Managing Partner at Burges Salmon in 1995. He stepped down from that role in 2009. He then became CEO at Kennedys. He has had the opportunity to work at three, and to manage two, very different firms all of whom are outstanding in their fields and all of whom have very different strategies and approaches. He has gained significant insights from these diverse experiences. He has been involved in all aspects of Law Firm management from the development of strategy to its detailed implementation. His role at Kennedys has added a significant global dimension and in a very different sector (insurance) to those he was involved with before. Outside Kennedys he is a long standing trustee of an international leadership organisation-Common Purpose whose mission is “We run courses which give people the skills, connections and inspiration to become better leaders both at work and in society”. The Values and Culture of the firms he has worked for have been as important, if not more important, to him than their strategies and focus.

Nigel Rea

Head of Strategic Development, Olswang

Technology is great.  So is process.  Add resourcing into the equation and you get a recipe for something very interesting.  Nigel focuses his time on helping Olswang develop ways to exploit opportunities that present themselves when these three things meet.

Outside of this Nigel also specialises in projects centered around strategic growth and operational effectiveness.

Prior to Olswang Nigel worked as a strategy consultant for global technology and consultancy firm Accenture, where his areas of focus included process improvement, outsourcing and business and portfolio planning.

Erica Handling

General Counsel EMEA, Barclays

Erica Handling is a Managing Director and General Counsel for EMEA for Investment Banking at Barclays.

Based in London, she is a member of both the EMEA Executive Committee and the Corporate and Investment Banking Global Operating Committee.  She is also Co-Chair of the Investment Bank’s Women’s Initiatives Network in Europe, the Middle East and Africa and leads the Retention Workstream for the Global Infrastructure Committee of Corporate and Investment Banking.

Erica joined Barclays in 2011 from private practice where she established and was head of the Securities and Structured Finance Practice at Ashurst.  Erica started her legal career at Allen & Overy and worked in both London and New York before moving to Weil, Gotshal & Manges in London where she became a partner in 1998.  Her specific area of focus in private practice was derivatives and structured finance, in particular collateralised debt obligations.  She was awarded Partner of the Year by The Lawyer Magazine in 2003.

Erica takes a particular interest in diversity and, in addition to her responsibilities at Barclays was a founding member of the Diversity Committee at Ashurst.

Fergus Payne

Joint Head of Partnership & LLP, Lewis Silkin

Fergus Payne is a partner of Lewis Silkin LLP and joint head of the firm’s Partnership and LLP group. He advises on and negotiates documents for the constitutional arrangements of partnerships and LLPs, LLP conversions, joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions.

His LLP and partnership clients include law and accountancy firms and other professional services and consultancy businesses.

Fergus is recommended in both Chambers and Legal 500 directories as a leading practitioner in the area of partnerships and LLPs. The latest edition of Chambers refers to him as having “exceptional experience in LLP matters”.  He is a regular writer and speaker on issues affecting professional services, particularly the legal and accountancy sectors.  He is also a co-author of the book, “Employment, Partnership and Discrimination Law for Professional Partnerships“.

Eamon Devlin

Managing Partner, MJ Hudson

MJ Hudson is a boutique law firm and dedicated to the Alternative Assets industry. The Firm represents over 200 private equity and hedge funds, with offices in London, Jersey and Hong Kong.

Eamon Devlin, Managing Partner at MJ Hudson, has a transactional practice focusing M&A, spin-outs of asset managers and formation of funds.


Tina Williams

Chair, Partner, Fox Williams

Tina Williams is widely recognised as one of the UK’s leading partnership experts. She represents professional services firms, commercial firms and individual partners.

One of her main practice areas is professional advisory work for international firms. She is also the leading adviser of foreign law firms setting up multi-national practices in London and other major commercial centres and has advised on numerous UK and international mergers of law firms.

She managed Fox Williams LLP for 8 years and, as its chair, is now responsible for its international strategy. Tina speaks and writes widely on partnership law topics.

Victoria Brackett

Managing Partner, Thomas Eggar

Vicky is the Managing Partner at Thomas Eggar LLP and leads the strategy for the law firm.

Prior to her appointment as MP on 1 May 2012, Vicky was head of the commercial dispute resolution practice group. She has represented a wide range of clients, including large multi-nationals, insurance companies and financial services institutions and specialises in resolving complex High Court disputes. Vicky also leads the insurance team at Thomas Eggar.

Vicky joined Thomas Eggar in 2004 following 10 years in the dispute resolution team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.

Patricia Coia

Director of Marketing & Business Development, Thomas Eggar

Tricia worked in Banking for nine years on business process re-engineering and large IT projects. She then moved to Cap Gemini as a Business Process Consultant and worked for clients in Banking, Telco, Public Sector and Pharmaceuticals. Whilst at Cap Gemini she moved into the Marketing function as the Marketing Manager for Banking & Insurance in the UK. After 2 years in this role, Tricia then returned to the Consultancy arm of the company as Head of Retail Banking Consultancy. Having taken time out out from this role to assist the company in pitching for a £500m IT project with the MOD, she elected, on success of that tender, to stay with this project for the next three years as well as acting as Marketing Manager for Aerospace & Defence in the newly acquired Ernst & Young consultancy practice.

After 9 years at Cap Gemini, Tricia moved to CMS Cameron McKenna LLP as their Head of Client Relationship Management, with responsibility for the firm’s Key Accounts, Client Feedback programme and CRM systems. She joined Thomas Eggar in March 2008.


James Hanratty

Head of Legal,

James is Head of Legal at  James joined in 2009 after 4 years at Travers Smith LLP where he was an Associate in the Commercial, IP and Technology team.  James manages a team of 5 in-house lawyers at which supports all functions of the business.  Recent highlights include overseeing the legal and regulatory aspects of the international expansion of the business and supporting a major internal IT re-platforming.  James has led initiatives to introduce KPIs and other measures of delivering value to the business.

Denise Nurse

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, Halebury

Denise is CEO and one of the co-founders of Halebury, an alternative law firm specialising in the TMT, Sports and Finance sectors. Inspired by her experience as an in-house lawyer, Denise set up Halebury in 2007 with her business partner Janvi Patel, the aim being to provide clients with access to the best lawyers with City and in-house experience; lawyers who could act as external in-house advisors on a flexible, cost effective basis.  Halebury’s current clients include BT, BSkyB Ericsson, Royal Mail and Expedia.

In her role as CEO for Halebury, Denise focuses on strategy, management and client service.  Together with Janvi she has built a team of first class legal consultants and an excellent operational team.  Having attracted a leading commercial TMT and employment team her continued focus is on supporting and leading that team and ensuring the best customer service for clients

Denise started her legal career at London City firm Charles Russell, as part of their corporate/commercial team. Realising that she wanted to work much closer to the business, she made the move in-house to work as a business and legal adviser for BSkyB in 2001. Whilst at BSkyB she worked across several key areas of the business including marketing and new products, sports, technology and outsourcing contracts with a particular focus on new media.  Her particular love is working with the business teams and negotiating complex deals and relationships.

Denise is also a broadcaster who has presented for Sky News, Sky Travel and hosts Escape to the Country for the BBC.  She hosts and speaks at corporate events on subjects relating to Intellectual Property and Entrepreneurship.


Christina Blacklaws

Director, Blacklaws Consulting

After studying Jurisprudence at Oxford University, Christina qualified as a solicitor in 1991.

As a lawyer, she specialised in children and family work and accredited as a member of the children panel, mediator and higher rights advocate.

Since 1992, Christina has run and managed a succession of legal businesses. Initially with J B Wheatley, a community- based law firm in South London before establishing her own firm, Blacklaws Davis LLP in 2006. Blacklaws Davis grew to become the largest independent family law firm in England and Wales and Christina developed both its traditional High St practice (over seven offices across the South East) together with an innovative virtual law practice.

Christina was briefly business development partner at TV Edwards before joining the Co-operative Legal Services in 2011 to set up their family law service.

After developing and launching this innovative, fixed fee national service with her colleagues, Christina took on the role of Director of Policy with responsibility for firm wide business development initiatives and all external and representative work.

Since April 2014, Christina has run her own consulting business supporting legal practices with insight, market scanning and strategic advice.

For the last 12 years, Christina has undertaken some high profile representative roles. She is currently the Women Lawyer’s Division representative on the Law Society Council and sits on its Regulatory Affairs Board. She holds a public appointment as an executive member of the Family Justice Council and sits on the Ministerial Taskforce for Mediation. She is a published author, well known speaker and frequent commentator in all forms of media.

Frances Swaine

Managing Partner, Leigh Day

Frances Swaine is Leigh Day’s first managing partner and a partner in the human rights department. Leigh Day is a leading human rights and personal injury claimant firm whose main office is based in London, with 32 partners and a total of 300 staff.

Frances started her career working in clinical negligence and still maintains a clinical negligence practice today, with over 20 years’ experience in that field, but her practice has now developed into the field of human rights and medical ethics. Frances specialises in securing the health and social care rights of those with learning disabilities and mental health problems through judicial review, as well as pursuing free-standing Human Rights Act claims on a wide variety of issues. She has a particular interest in inquests and inquiries into the deaths of individuals who have not had the mental capacity to take decisions for themselves.

Tony Brown

Owner, AGB Legal

Tony Brown created AGB Legal in 2010 specifically to work with traditional (and non-traditional) Law Firms, specialising in business improvement, performance management, organisational design, finance & business structures.

Tony has a wealth of experience and knowledge gained at board/senior level in the legal services sector having previously been CEO with full service regional law firm who gained one of the first 50 Alternative Business Structure (ABS) licenses granted in the UK and now works with a select number of Law Firms in an advisory/consultancy capacity.

In addition Tony is a member of the Advisory Panel of Partners Club, the largest legal networking group in the UK, and is a regular contributor to The Solicitors Journal, The Partner Magazine, and Modern Law Magazine and is a regular presenter at Legal Sector events focusing to the commercial aspects of Law Firm management and development.

Through Tony’s career he has the ability to adapt across a wide range of business sectors building a real understanding of issues and challenges to provide client centric solutions and real business improvements.

Prior to the creation of AGB Legal Tony enjoyed a successful career with Lloyds Banking Group in both Commercial and Retail leadership roles.

Simon McCrum

Managing Partner, Darbys

A Commercial Litigation solicitor by training, Simon moved away from client-facing legal work whilst at Pannone LLP in Manchester.  As  a non-fee-earning partner and then Equity Partner there, he was Head of Commercial Litigation for a period and at times was also the Head of Construction and Head of Crime/Fraud too. He worked with other teams to help their business. He was Marketing Partner, Head of Business Development, and part of the Management Team. While he was at Pannone he launched the national Connect2Law referral and support network for law firms in the North West and then packaged this so it could be franchised in other regions around the country. In late 2007 he joined Darbys, a Top 200 law firm in Oxford, as Equity Partner and as managing Partner. A reconstruction of the firm was required so the last 5 years has seen fevered activity during still difficult times, but the firm has long since turned the corner and 2012 is seeing some 30% year-on-year growth in turnover. The firm has just had its first £1m billing month. Since joining Darbys, Simon designed and launched the PURPLE LEGAL brand which now has 17,000 households involved, and this year saw the acquisition by Darbys  of Legal Assistance Direct – a high-quality legal helpline and call centre operation which is a legal resource for some 5 million people.


Guy Vincent

Consultant, Bircham Dyson Bell

Guy Vincent has 15 years of practical experience managing law firms. As Managing Partner of Bower Cotton in 2000 he merged the majority of that firm into Bircham Dyson Bell. After working in a number of management roles at BDB Guy spent nearly 8 years as Managing Partner. As MP Guy oversaw an increase in turnover from £24m to £36m before the crash. A period of stabilisation followed during which financial systems were reviewed, partner appraisal and remuneration systems upgraded and the business rebranded. A strategic merger was considered but did not proceed. Guy advises partnerships and LLPs on legal and management issues. He writes and blogs regularly on management topics and has tackled a range of subjects including surviving mergers and Zombie firms. In addition Guy has practiced as a corporate lawyer for 30 years and sits on the boards of several businesses and community groups.

David Laud

CEO, Samuel Phillips

“We’re experiencing an extremely challenging period within the legal sector.  Law firms can no longer adopt a passive approach to business development, expecting reputation and location to deliver a regular stream of work.  Success and thereby survival will require strong leadership, a sharp focus on business direction and a thorough understanding of and ability to consistently satisfy clients’ needs.” David Laud

David Laud is the Chief Executive of Samuel Phillips Law Firm, Managing Partner of professional service marketing consultancy i2i Business Solutions LLP and MD of digital content and app development company R2b Media Ltd.

Prior to joining Samuel Phillips he spent 10 years with Thomas Cook.  His time with the travel company included roles as Head of Marketing in the Publishing Division and as Project Director in the Global Foreign Exchange Division  responsible for launching the money transfer brand MoneyGram.  Immediately prior to entering the world of law firm management David was a member of the senior management team of US Corporation AT&T.

David has two books published covering the topic of social media marketing for law firms and regularly delivers marketing workshops for the Chartered Institute of Marketing Professional Services Group.  He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and Chartered Marketer.

Ken Woffenden

Managing Partner & Corporate Partner, Stevens & Bolton

Ken joined Stevens & Bolton LLP in 2004.  He was head of the corporate and commercial department between 2006 and 2011 and has been managing partner since January 2012.  He also chairs our international practice group.

Before joining Stevens & Bolton LLP Ken spent over 25 years at leading international City law firm, Simmons & Simmons.  During his career with Simmons & Simmons, Ken spent 3 years as managing partner of the Hong Kong office and 5 years as head of the London corporate and commercial department.

Ken advises many large corporate clients, based in the UK and overseas, on a wide range of corporate matters including M&A, joint ventures, fundraisings, restructurings and corporate governance.  Much of his work is international or cross border in nature.

Ken is listed as a ‘leading expert’ for corporate finance in the current editions of Chambers UK, The Legal 500 and Legal Experts (published by Legal Business).  Chambers UK says about Ken that “you get a lot of quiet confidence and experience from him”.

Isabelle Deschamps

General Counsel for Categories and Trade Marks, Unilever

Isabelle is dual citizen of Canada and Great Britain, also dual-qualified. She is, since the end of 2012, General Counsel Global Categories at Unilever PLC (euros c. 50 bn), with global responsibility for the legal support to the four Global Categories/Division: Personal Care, Homecare, Food and Refreshment and to Group functions such as Sustainability, Marketing, Media, Communication and External Affairs.  In addition she is responsible for Brand Intellectual Property (trademarks) worldwide.

Before joining Unilever, Isabelle was Head of Legal and Company Secretary at Nestle UK and Ireland (£3bn business – foods, beverages, pet food, water, nutrition, coffee systems and medical nutrition).  Over these years, in addition, she has held various other responsibilities, including Chair of the Compliance committee and Trustee Director of pension funds.  She started her in-house career with the Nestle Group (CHF92 bn business) first as Legal Counsel for the Latin American and North American regions, and Global Counsel to a joint venture in breakfast cereals with General Mills, then, Legal Counsel, M&A and joint ventures (North America, Latin America, Asia, Oceania and Africa, Europe).  She started her career in private practice in Montreal, Canada.

Ash Coleman-Smith

Global Marketing Director , Berwin Leighton Paisner

Ash joined BLP, named Law Firm of the Year five times, in May 2010 as Global Marketing Director.

Prior to this Ash was at global Advertising and Marketing agency, Ogilvy, as Managing Director EMEA, running 30 offices across the region, driving new business, financial management plus running his own portfolio of clients such as: Gillette, American Express, General Motors, Unilever, Barclays and General Electric. During his 20 year career in the agency world Ash ran and managed several international network agencies and has headed up teams running projects across 45 offices.

Since joining BLP he has: initiated and rolled out a client relationship programme – new to the firm; overhauled the firm’s approach to sector strategy and marketing; refreshed the brand; introduced a new model for pitching; put in place international marketing and BD campaigns across Asia, MENA and US; and overseen PR and influencer management programmes that have seen national and international media coverage triple. His team have recently been nominated for awards by Marketing Week plus on-line organisations including the prestigious Webby’s (in the words of The New York Times, “the Internet’s highest honor”). Their on-line work for BLP is highly commended by ‘Revolution’ and website nominated number one in the sector. Most recently his team have been nominated for an FT Innovation award for its development of visualisation techniques and were highly commended as runners up in The Lawyer Magazine awards for Marketing Team of the Year 2014.