The immense disruption already caused by COVID-19 has catapulted individuals and business alike into unchartered territory. At home and abroad, financial markets and hitherto buoyant economic sectors have experienced significant fluctuation, replicating the uncertainty inherent in a global pandemic of this nature. On both sides of the Atlantic, political norms have been shattered and democratic constructs challenged in new and often alarming ways. And of course, the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union will soon begin to play out in real time, bringing more disruption and change.

Many of the recent changes necessitated by COVID-19’s impact are well understood now. Foremost amongst these is broader acceptance of the fundamental significance of our own and each other’s wellbeing. This is indicative of some of the subtle changes afoot, changes reflected in our choices and personal behaviours.

All these factors combine and compound, bringing a whole new set of challenges requiring careful navigation. This year’s annual conference will look at some of these changes – both obvious and subtle, and all points in-between. Participants can expect to hear from some of the leading experts and commentators able to contextualise and articulate these changes.

And we will look forward positively, encouraging conversations amongst members by using the online format to bring people together in symposium style sessions, to share best practice and winning strategies.

Conference sessions will run over five days. Monday 26 April to Thursday 29 April will consist of short optional panel discussions and workshops, and Friday 30 April a full day of keynotes. Each day will focus on a major theme:

Day One, Monday 26 April: Diversity, Inclusion & Wellbeing (2 hours 15 mins CPD)

Amanda Millar
President, Law Society of Scotland

Yvonne Brady
Partner and Head of Diversity, Development and Inclusion, Shepherd + Wedderburn

Amanda Millar
President, Law Society of Scotland

Musab Hemsi
Partner, LexLeyton

Naeema Yaqoob Sajid
Solicitor, Founder Diversity+, Co-founder, SEMLA


Olivia Moore
Careers & Wellbeing Manager, Law Society of Scotland
  • Compassionate cultures for working parents
  • Wellbeing – walking the walk
  • Discrimination and unconscious bias
  • Equality within the profession: many miles left to travel?
Workshops 11:30 - 12:15

Emma Bell
Coach, Resilience Expert, Author of ‘9 secrets to thriving
Workshops 14:00 - 14:45

Gary Young
Founder, The Mindful Enterprise

Book now - Monday 26 April only

Panel discussion and workshop on diversity, inclusion & wellbeing.


Day Two, Tuesday 27 April: The Economy (2 hours 15 mins CPD)

Tracy Black
Director, Scotland, Confederation of British Industry

Tuesday’s session will focus on the economy. Our panel of business leaders and economists will contextualise the current economic situation, what trends there are emerging and look at the best way for rebooting the economy – is this the best chance we will get to positively disrupt and reshape the economy and how should law firms position and ready themselves for the ‘new economic reality’?

  • Current and future business environment in Scotland
  • Lessons from 2009 and past recessions for today
  • How the pandemic has rearranged the board: airlines v zoom, consumerism now. Winners and losers and opportunities from positive disruption
  • What the economy needs from legal community (and vice versa)
  • Support for youth employment and PACE support
Workshops 11:25 - 12:10

Austin Lafferty
Partner & Director, Austin Lafferty Solicitors & Estate Agents

Tracey Campbell-Hynd

Ally Thomson
Consultant, Glasgow Law Practice


Jim McKay
Head of CPD, Law Society of Scotland
  • Innovations within profession
  • Time for change: defining characteristics of successful firms of the future
  • Helping leaders succeed

Scott Foster
Financial Consultant, Professional Services
Workshops 12:20 - 13:05

Mark Bell
Co-Founder and Partner, Anderson Anderson & Brown Consulting

Lesley Fordyce
Co-Founder and CEO, Anderson Anderson & Brown Consulting

This participative session from Anderson Anderson and Brown Consulting will focus on the change of pace necessitated in recent months to stay competitive in the race. Drawing an analogy with Formula One, and sharing on AAB’s intimate knowledge of other industries, AAB will explain why law firms are not immune to the challenges. 

Michael Fleming
Business Development for Lawyers, Kissing With Confidence
  • Business Development in lockdown and the new virtual world – what’s changed?
  • Getting comfortable with “selling” – avoiding the “hard sell” and the “never sell” lunch loop
  • Why optimists outsell pessimists and why you need to re-chip your thinking
  • Learning to embrace rejection: “no” is the second best answer to “yes”!
  • The opportunities for developing more trust in the virtual business world – the power of small talk, “intimacy” and appropriate self, disclosure
  • Time: making time for Business Development and prioritising it
  • Systems: getting more organised and systematic in your approach to Business Development
  • Following-up with and keeping in touch with contacts and clients

Book now - Tuesday 26 April only

Panel discussion and workshop on the economy.


Day Three, Wednesday 28 April: EU Withdrawal & International Law (2 hours 45 mins CPD)

Dominic Grieve QC
Temple Garden Chambers

Christine O'Neill QC
Partner & Chairman, Brodies LLP

Elaine Motion
Chairman, Balfour+Manson

Dominic Grieve QC
Temple Garden Chambers


Michael Clancy OBE
Director of Law Reform, Law Society of Scotland

The United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union will proceed on January 01 2021, at the end of the transition period. Of immediate significance, the UK will automatically drop out of the EU’s main trading agreements. What we will have learnt by April 2021 that will help inform the Scottish legal profession in the months and years ahead?

Workshops 11:30 - 12:15

Gillian McCluskey
Associate, MacRoberts LLP


Carolyn Thurston Smith
Policy Executive, Law Society of Scotland
  • Trade agreements & WTO perspective
  • Civil international agreements supporting business
Workshops 14:00 - 14:45

Krista Johnston
Director, Martin, Johnston & Socha

Laura Irvine
Partner, Davidson Chalmers Stewart


Antony McFadyen
Senior Solicitor Professional Practice Team, Law Society of Scotland

Rachael Kelsey
Partner, SKO Family Law Specialists

Stephen Cullen
Principal, Miles & Stockbridge, Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC

John West
Associate, SKO Family Law Specialists


Janys M Scott QC
Westwater Advocates

Book now - Wednesday 28 April only

Panel discussion and workshop on EU withdrawal & international law.


Day Four, Thursday 29 April: Scots Law - Developments and Changing Nature of Court Practice (5 hours CPD)

Workshops 10:15 - 11:15

Jennifer Henderson
Keeper & Chief Executive, Registers of Scotland

John Sinclair
Convener, Property Law Committee, Burness Paull

Ann Stewart
Property and Professional Development Adviser, Shepherd & Wedderburn
  • Digital conveyancing and property market

Jodie Blackstock
Legal Director, JUSTICE

This workshop will draw upon JUSTICE Scotland’s report ‘Legal Assistance in the Police Station’, which found that there continues to be a lack of understanding of the importance of the right to legal assistance during police detention.

Speakers from across Scotland will provide a thorough and comprehensive exchange of views, and attendees will be invited to ask questions and provide their own observations.

  • Statistics on solicitors present at interview
  • Cadder v HM Advocate – implications and applications
  • Legal representation as a human right
  • Police station phase
  • Attendance and protecting client welfare
  • Major barriers and financial limitations
  • Lessons from pandemic
Workshops 11:30 - 12:30

Simon Allison
Partner, Employment Law, Blackadders LLP

Jack Boyle
Director, Employment Team, Blackadders LLP
  • Practical hints for your Linked In and Twitter professional accounts
  • Five tips and tricks to build up your social media following
  • The three questions you should ask yourself (as a solicitor) when using social media

Manjula Bray
Business Psychologist and Executive/Career Coach
  • Are you inaccurately self-assessing?
  • What qualities do you need to evidence to be successful in a judicial appointment?
  • Five step strategy for success
  • Judicial Appointments Training in Scotland – what does it involve?

Stephen Bennett
Producer and Director
Plenary Panel: Trauma Awareness within Criminal Justice

Callum Hutchison
Development Officer, Scottish Violence Reduction Unit

Iain Smith
Partner, Keegan Smith; and Scottish Lawyer of the Year 2020

Myrna McCallum
Founding Lawyer, Miyo Pimatisiwin Legal Services in North Vancouver, British Columbia

Chris Deerin
Director, Reform Scotland

Iain Smith
Partner, Keegan Smith; and Scottish Lawyer of the Year 2020

James Docherty
Development Officer, Violence Reduction Unit; Advisor to Community Justice Scotland

Dr Caroline Bruce
Honorary Senior Lecturer, University of Glasgow

Ret. Sheriff David Mackie

Book now - Thursday 29 April only

Panel discussion and workshop on Scots Law - developments and changing nature of court practice.


Day Five, Friday 30 April: Full Day of Keynotes (4 hours 30 mins CPD)

Amanda Millar
President, Law Society of Scotland

Deborah Kayembe
Rector, University of Edinburgh

Sir John Curtice
Professor of Politics, Strathclyde University; Senior Research Fellow, NatCen
  • Holyrood elections May 2021: the likeliest outcomes
  • Scotland and the UK
  • Westminster voting intentions
  • Is Indyref 2 inevitable
11:15 - 12:00 Please choose your session

Emma Dixon
Senior Legal Advisor, Oil and Gas Authority

Professor Abbe Brown
MA (Cantab), Dip IP (Bristol), PhD (Edinburgh), FHEA, Solicitor (non practising) England and Wales, Victoria and Scotland, University of Aberdeen

Professor Tahseen Jafry
Director of the Pioneering Centre for Climate Justice, Glasgow Caledonian University


Alison McNab
Policy Executive, Law Society of Scotland
  • Making our practices more environmentally sustainable
  • Advising clients on environmental sustainability and climate justice– challenges and opportunities
  • Standards and metrics
  • Clashes with other values and laws

Allison Harrison
Student, Teacher and Director, Hot Yoga Edinburgh Ltd



Stephen Cullen
Principal, Miles & Stockbridge, Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington DC

Jeff Langlands
General Counsel, BT Global; Director EE Limited
14:35 - 15:15 Please choose your session

Hosted by Locktons.

John Kerrigan
Consultant, Blackadders

Kate Dowdalls QC


Dr Sara Zanovello
Research Officer, Law Society of Scotland

Harriet Beveridge
Executive Coach, Broadcaster and Comic, Will It Make The Boat Go Faster?

In this Olympic year, what business insights can we glean from the experiences of a gold-medal-winning crew? Our speaker, Harriet Beveridge, is co-author of the bestselling business book, ‘Will It Make The Boat Go Faster?’ She’s a and BBC Radio 4 speaker. In this inspirational, but highly practical session, she’ll share Olympic Winning secrets for:

  • Focus: how to ensure we stay focussed on what’s strategically important – as individuals and across organisations; how to make everyday actions and decisions aligned to overall goals.
  • Change: how to mitigate, handle or leverage the ongoing uncertainties (relating to the pandemic, politics, regulatory change and more) to drive business success
  • ‘Bouncebackability’: how to deal with setback and bounce back stronger

Lorna Jack
Chief Executive, Law Society of Scotland

Book now - Friday 30 April only

Full day of exceptional keynotes.