The sixth Innovative Lawyers Summit hosted by the Financial Times and RSG Consulting was a three-day festival exploring themes of speed, sustainability, trust and collaboration.
The summit covered three geographical regions: Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America. While the themes were common to each region, the speakers and angles differed.
The pandemic accelerated underlying trends such as the move to digital, the need to be resilient and sustainable and the dangers of misinformation undermining trust in institutions and processes. The rise of stakeholder capitalism, which believes business should serve customers, suppliers, workers and communities as well as shareholders is both a challenge and an opportunity for the commercial legal profession. But as the chief executive Lebecome more politicised, the role of commercial legal leaders, who have traditionally been apolitical, becomes unclear.
Should legal leaders intervene to make a difference? And if so, what does that intervention look like? What strategies and tools are available to them to be effective as leaders in this complex environment?
This virtual summit gathered law firm leaders, general counsel, academics and other business innovators, to discuss the role commercial lawyers should play in addressing some of the dilemmas facing business and society in 2021.
In-house teams shake off ‘stuck in legal’ stereotype.
Plus: How Bank of America’s David Leitch learnt to be nimble in a crisis.
Trust and Transparency
Against the backdrop of a loss of public trust in government, democratic process, mainstream media and professional experts, the leaders of law firms and corporate legal functions find themselves in the crosshairs of competing forces. Numerous studies confirm that companies who are truthful, trusted and transparent are better long-term performers. Being the trusted advisor has been a natural role for lawyers.
But what does it mean now in a 2021 context? Could and should lawyers use their privileged roles and status to play a bigger part in helping to restore confidence in business and public institutions? What is the remit of legal leaders – general counsel and law firm leaders – in generating trust and transparency in their organisations, their clients and in business and society more broadly?
Covid-19 dramatically accelerated the digital transformation of global business. The speed at which products get to market or contracts are signed give competitive advantage and, in some cases, mean the difference between staying in business or failing. Corporate legal teams are a central part of business processes and ultimately a critical component in commercial success.
For both branches of the profession, the pressure to change working methods is acute. From streamlining the commercial contracting process to working agilely to including non-legal talent in teams, lawyers have had to become digital and flexible overnight. Find out how the legal industry sped up during the pandemic and the implications for law firms and corporate legal departments.
The environmental, social and governance agenda is becoming a central part of the lawyers’ remit. Numerous law firms have set up dedicated ESG practices and in-house legal teams are leading their companies’ ESG agendas.
But the legal profession is still in the nascent stages of knowing how best to use its position, passion, knowledge and acumen to impact the ESG agenda. Hear from general counsel and law firm leaders who are using their status and influence to forge a path for lawyers to take a leading role in the most pressing business and social challenges of the decade.
A showcase of the current finalists for the Collaborative Innovation Award.
Using expert judges, finalists for the collaborative innovation award will be invited to present their ideas before a panel of judges in a ‘dragon’s den’ type scenario who will question them and give tips for how they can develop their prototypes over the coming months.
The Break-Out Debate and Discussion covering the key questions:
Will Blockchain revolutionise legal practice?
To what extent is the third pillar of the legal ecosystem (law companies, the big 4, legal technology and consulting firms) disrupting in-house and private practice lawyers?
How do law firm leaders balance obligations and permissions in an increasingly complex world?
Group General Counsel & Group Executive, Sustainability, External Affairs and Legal
Chief Executive Officer
US Financial Editor
Management Editor and Associate Editor
The big picture, not just the individual strands of the business you work in
And build relationships with some of the biggest names in your industry
New approaches and strategies to help win market share
"An incredibly well-curated event. Agreat combination of thought-provoking discussions and networking."
FT Live 2020: The Year in Review
We would like to take this opportunity to look back and reflect on some incredible moments from last year. Thank you for being a part of the FTLive community and for your continued support.
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RSG Consulting was set up in 2001 by Reena SenGupta, the ex-Publishing Director of Chambers and Partners and the creator of the Chambers rankings and research methodology in the mid-nineties.
Initially, the company focused on client relationship management projects, working for the magic circle law firms and top US firms. In the course of that work, RSG realised that the profession was on the brink of tumultuous change and founded a ranking of lawyers on innovation which became the Financial Times Innovative Lawyers programme.
Today, RSG is a leading innovation agency for lawyers and works with law firms, in-house legal teams and law companies to help them innovate and build a culture of innovation. It has a unique position in the legal market globally as a connector and its networks of lawyers, built up over 25 years, are unrivalled. It works in emerging markets such as India to help drive up standards of professionalism and client care. All its work is underpinned by robust research and it is the author of many thought-leadership studies.
The team at RSG are an active part of the leadership at the Digital Legal Exchange, a non-profit global learning and membership organisation dedicated to driving digital transformation in corporate legal departments.