JD Horizons London 2017

Janders Dean held the third edition of the London series of the JDHorizons conference at the Andaz Hotel on the 10th May. The conference brought together an eclectic and diverse range of speakers in a manner unique to Janders Dean. The central theme to the conference was a step away from traditional ‘same old’ legal conferences, with a message focusing on creativity achieved through prioritising cultures, processes and ultimately people. The tone was set early by Janders Dean with a world record attempt and Bloody Mary kits, shouting one thing – we do things differently at Janders Dean.

Numerous speakers throughout the day emphasised that the ability to innovate and improve processes only resulted from giving individuals the space and freedom to innovate. The day begun with a keynote speech from CMS Partner and head of TMC Worldwide, Chris Watson. Chris began with the question of whether any law firm has truly been transformed by technology, suggesting that no firm has come to a truly different place in the market yet as a result of technology. Drawing on a wealth of experience Watson reminded the audience to challenge assumptions and always be open minded about change. In a keynote that set the pace for the day, further talks highlighted changes in culture with the emergence of Eversheds Sutherlands Consultancy taking a vastly different approach in strategy. Victoria Pickard celebrated how the firm had provided the freedom to the Consultancy team to grow in a truly organic way providing the support necessary to establish a unique practice willing to challenge any previous stereotypes.

Supported by academics John Flood, Gorkan Ahmetoglu an examination of the culture of innovation and legal practice was laid out for the audience in a manner that was previously unseen. Only through identifying these fundamental flaws that are the heart of numerous businesses can a culture of innovation be allowed to rise.

Given the rise of the in house legal team and the innovative work emerging from their practices, the second half of JDHorizons focused on the challenges and emerging views from the in house teams. Maria Passemard head of Legal Operations and projects at John Lewis notably dealt a reality blow to the audience suggesting that ‘if you hadn’t noticed the rise in legal operations, you need to get with the programme.’ It was a battle call, that was continued further by Leah Cooper of Leah Cooper Consulting who suggested that many corporate law firms were now playing catch up with the in house teams.

Despite focusing on culture and creating change within, JDHorizons also served as a showcase for the latest and most exciting developments within the Legal Tech field. Allison Schneider from Human x.ai delivered a talk virtually from New York on their latest AI offering, Amy. Developed as a result of meeting scheduling the bot aims to better schedule meetings to avoid cancellations and overlaps, saving vast amounts of time. Time of the essence continued with timeular’s next generation rubix cube offering, giving lawyers control over their time recording in a manner so simple and efficient that AI and robots will never compete with.

JDHorizons final flourish was a closing speech from philosopher Brennan Jacoby on trust within business. Tying together a unique lineup of talks, Brennan’s TEDesque delivery explored how trust is the most fundamental concept in creating collaboration and innovation at all levels. If there was one message that emerged from the day it surely was that the legal industry is still alive and very much kicking at all levels.

Janders Dean would like to thank all those who attended and presented at JDHorizons. You were all part of creating another unique and memorable day for us all at JDHQ.