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:
- Compassionate cultures for working parents
- Wellbeing – walking the walk
- Discrimination and unconscious bias
- Equality within the profession: many miles left to travel?
- Law Society of Scotland wellbeing survey trends
- New initiatives in this space, and challenges
- How can we influence for positive change?
- Progress over the past 5 years, and areas where greater focus is needed
- How can we best support wellbeing in a more remote world going forward?
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
- Innovations within profession
- Time for change: defining characteristics of successful firms of the future
- Helping leaders succeed
- Price transparency
- Lessons from 2008 economy
- Current and future economic environment for Scottish law firms
- Cashflow and funding structures
- Seeking advice in uncertain times
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.
- 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
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?
- Trade agreements & WTO perspective
- Civil international agreements supporting business
- Digital conveyancing and property market
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
- 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
- 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?
The speaker will share her journey in the quest of her rights as an immigrant, and how reaching out to tell her story has allowed her to fully integrate into society.
- Holyrood elections May 2021: the likeliest outcomes
- Scotland and the UK
- Westminster voting intentions
- Is Indyref 2 inevitable
Law Society Activity
Opportunities for all: COP26 Principles, Sustainability and Technology
COP26, Climate Justice and delivering a Just Transition
This session is suitable for all levels and requires no special equipment other than yourself and a chair. We will start with some gentle stretches for the neck and shoulders and a calming breathing exercise, before you are guided through a gentle yoga practice which moves and stretches the spine, shoulders and hips. The sequence is designed to be accessible to all, we will start in a seated position, and you’ll have the option to stand for part of the practice, challenging your balance while strengthening the hip flexors, hamstrings and back. The teacher will give clear instructions and offer modifications so that each participant can find a safe stretch.
- Commerciality: balancing legal and commercial considerations
- Trainee talent and development post covid and post Brexit
- Green recovery and sustainability
In this session, Thirdfort's Business Development Manager Steve Taylor will cover:
- Common misconceptions around legaltech
- How legaltech helps firms meet regulatory requirements
- The current solutions out there
- How legaltech lets lawyers get back to legal, without the compliance guesswork
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 TED.com 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