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Leigh Dance has written, published and spoken extensively on many aspects of global legal services, at major global conferences and in business and legal industry publications worldwide, including The Wall Street Journal.  Click here for our extensive archive of past (we believe still insightful!) published articles.

Dance is author of Bright Ideas:  Insights from Legal Luminaries Worldwide, published by Mill City Press and available on Amazon.  Bright Ideas is a compilation of 23 original essays by leaders and influencers around the world.

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Global In-house Conferences Worth Your Time

This is an excerpt from my Global In-house column published in ALM’s Corporate Counsel on May 19th. Many global in-house counsel have a workload that allows little time for deep thinking. One remedy is to participate in conferences or roundtables with peers, where you can reflect as you gather valuable information and views that widen your perspective. If you missed the excellent Association of Corporate Counsel’s Europe conference in Rome May 22-24, there are two international conferences coming up. I’ll be on both sides of pond to speak at these next week (after a great session at ACCE Rome last week). Here’s a preview, with tips on how to get the most out of your next conference.

The Transatlantic General Counsel Summit – June 7, London   This 2nd annual one-day summit, hosted by American Lawyer Media group, is complimentary for invited general counsel in the US, UK and Europe.  More than 150 corporate counsel are expected. According to organizer Rhiannon Van Ross, “The Summit is an opportunity for general counsel to take a step back from the office to strategize internal and external touch points which impact transatlantic legal department leaders. The conference encourages an exchange of ideas, left-field thinking and open discussion.”

KPMG UK’s GC Jeremy Barton, a Brit, a thought leader behind the Transatlantic GC Summit, will co-chair again this year, this time with Debra Valentine, an American who is Chief Legal and Compliance Officer of Rio Tinto. Jeremy believes the conference “is unique in bringing together GCs and senior counsel from both sides of the Atlantic to address pressing legal issues and risks they encounter, as well as emerging challenges.” The agenda looks substantive and with excellent speakers. I look forward to shaking up the delegates with two talented co-panelists, Jonathan Townend of Eversheds, and Sandra Mori, International GC Europe for Coca-Cola, and me. We’ll talk about the 2020 scenario for international corporate legal functions.

The ILO Corporate Counsel Congress – June 9, New York City I’ve been lucky to participate in the International Law Office Corporate Counsel Congress four of the last five years. The diverse cultural perspectives of the impressive delegates always leaves me energized. Pity that ILO changed the Global Counsel Congress’ name, as it’s worth broadcasting this rare U.S.-based conference that brings together corporate counsel from all over. Participants are global partly due to ILO’s global counsel awards, which enter regional award winners (Asia, Middle East, Europe, etc.) into the mix for the global counsel awards, celebrated the evening of the Congress.

Edward Costelloe, conference organizer and Managing Director of Global Business Media Group’s International Legal Division, says this year’s Congress will bring together more than 150 senior in-house counsel from leading multinationals. Costelloe says, “We aim to give counsel an opportunity to dive into hot topics, share best practices and trade tales from the trenches before networking at the gala dinner." I’ll be joining three exceptional General Counsels on the opening plenary session to share tips and insights on how the GC can be the most valuable player in crisis management.

Tips to maximize your conference experience

  1. Try to find out in advance who will be there. Arrange to meet with fellow counsel you would like to know or see again.
  2. Get to know the conference program before you arrive. Decide which topics are most important to you and decide what will be most relevant for your legal function’s agenda. Make sure you’re not distracted during those sessions.
  3. Find others on your team to cover you on the conference day. Turn off your handheld device while in sessions. You found the time to get there, so try hard to avoid constant distractions back at the office—it will diminish your benefits.
  4. Last but not least, think big and enjoy yourself.