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We are pleased to announce the speaks for the conference this year. Find out more below:
Headline speaker Christina Blacklaws- President of the Law Society of England & Wales.
Christina studied Jurisprudence at Oxford and qualified as a solicitor in 1991. She has developed and managed law firms including a virtual law firm. In 2011 she set up the Co-operative Legal Services family law offering, later becoming their Director of Policy and more recently was the Director of Innovation at top 100 firm Cripps LLP.
She holds a range of public appointments including member of the Family Justice Council, trustee of LawWorks and member of the Judicial Diversity Forum.
Christina is the President of the Law Society of England and Wales and as such performs a range of ambassadorial and representative functions both domestically and internationally.
She is passionate about diversity and inclusion, technology and access to justice and uses every opportunity to advocate and progress positive change in these areas.
On access to justice, Christina leads on a number of high profile campaigns to protect and empower some of the most vulnerable in our society.
On innovation and the future of legal services, Christina chairs the Law Society’s Legal Technology Policy Commission and has also been asked by the government to chair their Lawtech Delivery Panel. She is heavily involved in the technological issues relating to supra-national legislative and regulatory frameworks as well as the need to demystify lawtech and empower all lawyers to embrace relevant technology. Christina leads on the Society’s relationship with Barclays to develop lawtech incubators.
On diversity and inclusion, Christina has developed and leads on a programme focussed on women in leadership in law. The project has already produced the largest ever global survey on the issue and a toolkit to support the 100 roundtables which are taking place to over summer 2018. A global academic literature review and men’s roundtable in Autumn 2018 will follow and the work will culminate in an international symposium in June 2019. Christina represents the Women Lawyer’s Division and is an active committee member. She also sits on the Thomson Reuters Women in Law Advisory Board and on the advisory boards for women in law (Legal Week) and for LawSmart (a social mobility collective).
Christina is an award winning (for innovation and diversity and inclusion) published author, speaker and lecturer and frequent media commentator.
CEO, BCL Legal
In 2003, after a catastrophic injury put a halt to James’s professional rugby career, and as an experienced legal recruiter with ambitious plans and plenty of vision, BCL Legal was born.
James knew that motivated people in an inclusive team environment would be the key to BCL's success. Since it was established in Manchester, the business has rapidly expanded to other locations and continues to grow today; where BCL’s teams fulfil the ambitions of lawyers and clients across all sectors and disciplines.
James has created a culture around core values, which is reflected in BCL’s listing as a Sunday Times Top 100 Companies to work for (2016, 2017, and 2018).
James is also well known within the North West legal community for his strategic input, including team moves and merging practices.
Senior Partner, JMW Solicitors
Joy joined JMW in 2010, in the role of Senior Partner, to assist with the continuing development of JMW. Her particular areas of expertise are Management and Business Development. Joy previously presided over the impressive growth of Pannone LLP as Managing Partner and spent two valuable years there as Senior Partner. Joy surprised the market by taking a role with entrepreneurial law firm JMW in September 2010.
Joy has been professionally recognised throughout her successful career having been recognised as one of the Women of the Year 2010 and most recently received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2017 Manchester Legal Awards.
Director, Sara Hutton ConsultingSara Hutton is an independent adviser to law firms. With 20 years as a Bank Manager specialising in support and advice to law firms, her unique experience has been built working with over 60 law firms. She has valuable insight into reporting and management of financial performance and now advises law firm leaders on finance structuring, risk management and ensuring appropriate bank support to achieve business objectives. Her knowledge spans firms from sole traders to 20+ partner firms operating across the full breadth of activities from niche family and PI to more traditional high street.
Management Consultant, McCrum & Co
Simon qualified as a Commercial Litigation solicitor in 1990 at Pannone.His role gradually evolved into a mixed fee-earning / marketing / management role and then into a solely marketing and management role.
He became Head of various teams, Marketing Partner, Director of Business Development, and part of the Management Team at Pannone. He also launched the Connect2Law network for law firms.
In 2007, Simon became Managing Partner at Darbys Solicitors. Based in Oxford, the firm made a trading loss in 2007 but after going a long way backwards - and during the credit crunch - the firm emerged to have its most successful year ever in 2010. In 2013 it was the country's fastest-growing law firm.
In 2016 Darbys was acquired by Knights Professional Services. Simon joined the merged organisation as Client Relations Partner. He later exited to form McCrum & Co, a management consultancy for law firms. He helps firms facing issues or opportunities, and helps firms to strengthen what he calls the "Foundations for their Future" and then uses those foundations as a platform for real growth.
Carter Corson Session
Business Psychologist, Carter Corson
Aidan is a performance psychologist and mentor who has joined Carter Corson having worked for the last three and half years with Chimp Management. During this time he applied the principles and understanding of neuroscience, behaviour and psychology with clients from multi-nationals to SMEs and individuals; working with CEO and boardroom level through to front-line operations, and clients including emergency response teams, retail giants and athletes, helping them achieve their goals.
Aidan’s unique blend of occupational experience and academic training has equipped him with an array of skills which supports his desire to make psychology accessible to all, and to assist individuals, teams and organisations to manage stress and change, cooperate and communicate effectively and to achieve successful outcomes.
Business Psychologist, Carter Corson
Sara is the ultimate people person. An award-winning people director, qualified business psychologist and executive coach. Sara applies psychology in combination with her industry experience and expertiseto help individuals, teams and organisations get the best from themselves and each other. A regular conference speaker and industry contributor, Sara has consolidated her reputation as a respected thought-leader and HR disruptor in the legal world. Sara is a qualified executive coach and has a strong commercial and operational HR and learning and development background. She is passionate about making a difference to clients, both with their people and their bottom line.She splits her time between London and the North West.