This event is now available on demand - book below and you will receive all the session recording links via email.
It’s been a year, and more, unlike anything we have ever seen. As we emerge from the COVID period, firms will need to capitalise on all the lessons learned whether staff, technology, economy or compliance related. Our one day Solicitors Conference is designed for professionals who want to do just that, so that they and their clients can thrive in the years ahead.
- Hear from the SRA how the pandemic has impacted on compliance within law firms, what practical problems remote working has highlighted, and the best solutions the SRA have seen that will help firms move forward and adapt to what is expected to be a more hybrid working environment in the future
- With law firm mergers on the rise, this Q&A session with Knights will look at the key drivers that influence the valuing of a law firm from the acquirer’s perspective
- Find out about the rapid increase in the use of technology in firms and the latest developments
- Learn how to support staff and partners to build their mental resilience and maintain wellbeing as we gradually return to the ‘new normal’.
- Get yourself fully updated on any changes; developments in SRA and ICAEW guidance; testing and reporting issues for the Reporting Accountant; as well as any common problems and breaches
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The opinions expressed by external guest speakers in interviews or other publications included on this website are, by their nature, those of the speaker. They are not necessarily fully endorsed by the ICAEW or purport to reflect the official policies and views of the ICAEW or its members.
Please note that the programme is subject to change
M&A in legal services businesses - value drivers, deals done and prices paidJames Sheridan, Partner at Knights, will explore some of the deals that have been done over recent times, what makes a law firm attractive to an acquirer, the characteristics of those businesses that drive value and the steps to take if law firm owners want to realise capital value in their businesses.
Life after lockdown; The challenges and opportunitiesRachel Wesley from CABA will explore various themes that may arise as we continue our journey out of lockdown and will give reflections, tips, and strategies to help us navigate these challenges and embrace new opportunities.
Financing and bank relationships for law firms post CovidMike Stevenson, Iceberg, will be exploring the lessons that we can learn from Covid and how to deal funds from with the Government loan schemes, CBILS and BBLS will also be discussed. What the financing opportunities available from the Government, banks and elsewhere are now, as we move out of the pandemic, will be considered, and options available for law firm funding into the future will be looked at. There will also be an explanation of the effects of the new Insolvency Regulations regarding the change in Crown preference which came into force in December 2020.
Delivering a return from investments in IT and TechnologyAlex Hutchinson, Strategic IT Consultant will highlight some of the main reasons law firms (and other Professional Services businesses) feel they never realise the expected returns on any investments in IT and Tech, but they certainly increase their costs! He will then provide some insight on to early key elements of running a successful IT / Technology project to ensure focus on the right areas and includes key components to ensure project success, user adoption and a clear R.O.I.
Turning the tide: how to take a data-driven approach to employee well-being Julian Bryan at Quill will be looking back over the most bizarre nineteen months and biggest mental health crisis we’ve experienced in our lifetime, Julian presents a tried-and-tested two-part plan to promoting employee well-being in your business.
SRA Accounts Rules Update Janet Taylor, PKF Francis Clark will be looking at any recent rule updates and/or developments in the SRA and ICAEW guidance including the work of the Reporting Accountants, this involves:
Andy Harris, Partner, Hazlewoods Andy has worked closely with law firms since he joined Hazlewoods LLP as a trainee back in 1997, and is one of three partners in Hazlewoods Legal Team. The team of 35 sector specialists works with around 170 law firms on a retained basis, and many more each year on projects such as structure changes, mergers and acquisitions, benchmarking, valuations and succession planning. Andy writes and produces the Law Society’s LMS Financial Benchmarking Survey and is the current Chair of the ICAEW Solicitors Group. He is also a former director of the Institute of Legal Finance and Management.
Sean Hankin, Head of Forensic Investigation and Intelligence, SRASean has been with the SRA and previously The Law Society for over 20 years. His Forensic Investigation teams conduct on-site investigations with a focus on compliance with the Standards and Regulations including the Accounts Rules. The Intelligence team liaises with other regulators, law enforcement and various government departments. Sean specialises in the Accounts Rules, Anti-money laundering and financial stability. As a Chartered Accountant, Sean has previously worked with EY and PKF
Jonathan Forensic investigation manager, SRAJonathan is a Forensic Investigation Team Manager at the SRA. His Team investigate a range of regulatory issues including compliance with the Accounts Rules and other conduct issues. Solicitors can be targeted as professional enablers in dubious activities. This continues to be a risk to the profession, as does the largely uncertain impact of the Pandemic. Prior to the SRA Jonathan worked as a finance director. Combined with his accounting background, gives Jonathan a useful insight into the business challenges faced by law firms.
Janet Taylor, Director, PKF Francis Clark. Janet joined PKF Francis Clark as part of the firm’s specialist legal team in 2018 having been part of Taylor Mowbray LLP for the last 12 years. Prior to that she spent over 10 years with another top 20 accounting firm heading up their specialist solicitors’ group. A highly experienced presenter Janet provides relevant and practical training on a number of financial issues for lawyers. Over the last 18 years she has regularly presented training on the SRA Accounts Rules to a wide range of accounting and law firms through in-house and public seminars. Clients have included several major international and national law firms as well as their reporting accountants. Janet is the current Subject Matter Expert for the ICAEW’s Solicitors Community Advisory Group and is the co-author of A Practical Guide for COFAs and Finance Professionals.
Alex Hutchinson, Strategic IT Consultant (Freelancer) Alex Hutchinson, a Freelance IT Consultant, will highlight some of the main reasons law firms (and other Professional Services businesses) feel they never realise the expected returns on any investments in IT and Tech, but they certainly increase their costs! He will then provide some insight on to early key elements of running a successful IT / Technology project to ensure focus on the right areas and includes key components to ensure project success, user adoption and a clear R.O.I.
James Sheridan, Knights plcJames is Client Services Director at Knights plc, the listed UK mid-market professional services business. Prior to this role, James worked as an M&A lawyer in regional, national and global law firms both in the UK and overseas. Having joined Manchester independent law firm Turner Parkinson in 2011 and led its sale to Knights plc in 2018, James has worked on a number of Knights’ acquisitions since its IPO, most recently those in Leeds and Sheffield. He has been one of North West England’s top ranked deals lawyers for the last 15 years, having advised on some of the region’s best-known deals across a wide variety of business sectors. James is also Senior Independent Director at Lancashire Cricket, a Director of Manchester Originals the new Hundred team and was previously a non-executive director of drug development company Phosphate Therapeutics, moving on after its successful GBP30m disposal as part of a GBP180m IPO. Away from business, James spends most of his time with his family either travelling or pursuing their sporting interests across cricket, rugby and hockey.
Mike Stevenson, Managing Director, IcebergMichael Stevenson qualified as a chartered accountant with Arthur Andersen, and then worked as an insolvency practitioner for many years, mainly with Smith and Williamson, where he was the National Head of Insolvency. More latterly, since 2009, Michael has been instrumental in the development and growth of Iceberg, the business that lends money to UK law firms and their clients. He is currently Joint Managing Director of the Iceberg business, which since 2017 has been part of Paragon Bank plc, the Footsie 250 challenger bank, based in Solihull. Iceberg lends in excess of £100 million per annum to UK law firms, hence providing the sector with a very significant level of PII loans, tax loans and other working capital loans
Julian Bryan, Managing Director, QuillJulian Bryan has been Managing Director of Quill since 2012. Julian brings a passion for the legal industry as well as 36 years of software experience, strength of commercial thinking, a successful track record of managing change and executing strategy, and the ability to motivate a diverse organisation. Julian’s ultimate goal is for Quill to gain widespread recognition as an ethical, responsible provider of transformative, future proofed software and outsourced services to the legal sector.
Rachel Wesley, Trainer, CABARachel's career started in human resources where she worked as an HR director for 2 of the top 10 firms of accountants in roles ranging from strategic HR, employee relations to management development and senior leadership coaching. Realising how important mental health was for society in general and organisations, Rachel decided to retrain and specialised in mental health qualifying as a mental health therapist in the NHS. She now runs a private practice in the North West specialising in psychological trauma and works for a variety of EAPs as well as running mental health and wellbeing workshops in both the public and private sectors. Rachel's corporate clients describe her style as "user friendly and pragmatic". Rachel practices mindfulness and compassionate mind therapy personally to maintain emotional resilience as well as running a charity that rescues St Bernards and provides pet therapy services to vulnerable people.
Gareth Winters, Relationship Development Officer, CABAGareth joined CABA in November 2019 and works in the relationship team at CABA. Gareth engages with firms/businesses and the institute, delivering presentations and raising awareness of how CABA can support members. Being a previous actor, communication and building relationships is a natural part of who he is. Prior to working for CABA, Gareth’s experience has been in B2C and B2B sales, Management and Performing Arts.
Quill helps law firms streamline and run practices better by providing simple and easy-to-use practice management and legal accounts software, as well as outsourced legal cashiering, bookkeeping, payroll and typing services
Iceberg is a brand that understands the financial needs of the legal profession. As part of Paragon Banking Group they can offer market leading rates across a variety of products, providing finance solutions for professional indemnity premiums; partners, members and corporation tax, through to practicing certificates and VAT
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