The 18th Annual Law Firm COO & CFO Forum Leading Transformation Across the Enterprise

Event Details

Oct 24 - 25, 2019

New York, NY

$2295 USD

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For questions about this event, please call 1-800-308-1700

The Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute is pleased to present the 18th Annual Law Firm COO & CFO Forum this October in New York City. The premier national summit for eponymous title holders and their peers, the Law Firm COO & CFO Forum continues its tradition of comprehensive professional education and networking opportunities for the Am Law 200 and beyond.

The 2019 Law Firm Financial Performance Forum (10/23)

This half-day program offers an interactive slate of timely topics devoted to financial performance and management of today’s law firms. Registration is capped to accommodate an educational environment where law firm executives can interact with colleagues and esteemed law firm clientele.

The COO & CFO Forum Welcome Dinner (10/23)  – WAIT LIST NOW AVAILABLE

We are pleased to announce the return of our Wednesday Welcome Dinner to Michelin star-awarded restaurant Del Posto, located in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood. Presided over by restaurateur Joe Bastianich, this sophisticated establishment provides creative and beautifully crafted Italian cuisine that aims to delight every palate. Register today and join fellow law firm professionals for a festive evening at one of New York’s most revered institutions.

The 18th Annual Law Firm COO & CFO Forum (10/24 – 10/25)

This year’s conference takes a comprehensive look at change management initiatives across the firm. As the legal services market continues to welcome new entrants and the ongoing encroachment of the Big Four into global markets, law firm executives face myriad challenges around rethinking legal service delivery and addressing firm culture in ways few may have initially imagined.  Register today and hear from a diverse and distinguished faculty representative of the modern legal services market.

Hotel room block information is accessible here

Registration now open!


NASBA CPE Accreditation Pending!


Learning Level: Beginner

Prerequisites: None

Field of Study: Specialized Knowledge

For more information regarding administrative policies such as refunds and cancellations, please contact the Legal Executive Institute at (800) 308-1700.

West Professional Development is registered with the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA) as a sponsor of continuing professional education on the National Registry of CPE Sponsors. State boards of accountancy have final authority on the acceptance of individual courses for CPE credit. Complaints regarding registered sponsors may be submitted to the National Registry of CPE Sponsors through its website:

Special Offers

Group discounts available. Please call 1-800-308-1700 for details.

Why You Should Attend

  • The Law Firm COO & CFO Forum is the premier gathering of eponymous title holders and their executive brethren from throughout the AmLaw 200.
  • Our forum addresses key developments and trends impacting the business of law.
  • We leverage industry-leading Thomson Reuters analytics to offer robust and substantive portraits of the North American legal market.
  • Conference attendees are able to network and engage their colleagues throughout three days of (in)formal dialogue.
  • As a takeaway, attendees can expect practical advice for improving one's productivity and anticipating firm needs in 2019 and beyond.

    Who Should Attend

  • Law Firm Chief Operating Officers
  • Law Firm Chief Financial Officers
  • Law Firm Executive Directors
  • Law Firm Directors of Finance
  • Law Firm Directors of Operations

    Conference Highlights

    Check out highlights from last year’s conference!

  • Event Co-Chairs

    James Jones

    Senior Fellow, Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession, Georgetown University Law Center

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    Meredith Mendes

    Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer, Jenner & Block LLP

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    Gretta Rusanow

    Head of Advisory Services, Law Firm Group, Citi Private Bank

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    Event Keynote Speakers

    William Dudley

    President & CEO of The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (2009-2018)

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    William Pietersen

    Professor, The Practice of Management, Columbia Business School

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    Event Details

    Thursday, Oct 24

    8:00 AM
    Breakfast and Registration
    9:00 AM
    Opening Remarks
    9:15 AM
    The State of the US Legal Market

    In Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” a solo traveler stumbles upon a sylvan crossroad and faces an agonizing dilemma: “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both….” Filled with intense curiosity about what lies ahead, the narrator ultimately elects for the path less traveled—a decision, so (s)he muses, “that has made all the difference.” Frost’s contemplation of change and its profound ramifications holds contemporary echoes in today’s legal services marketplace. Trepidation, consternation, even perhaps elation, may be said to have crossed the minds of many law firm executives. And while growth, however tepid, is cause for celebration, observations shared in this year’s “State of the Legal Market” paint a decidedly more nuanced portrait of health. Please join us as two of the industry’s most respected voices share data-driven intelligence on performance, productivity and profitability heading into 2020.

    James Jones, Senior Fellow, Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession, Georgetown University Law Center
    Gretta Rusanow, Head of Advisory Services, Law Firm Group, Citi Private Bank

    10:30 AM
    Morning Break
    10:45 AM
    What is Strategy?

    There is great confusion around what truly constitutes strategy in modern legal services. Technological investment and world-class client engagement are table stakes in a modern buyer’s market. “Strategy,” for better or worse, exists outside this paradigm. But are law firm leaders truly aware of what this means? Or, perhaps more importantly, fully cognizant of what outcome(s) each is managing for? This lively discussion examines the evolving parameters of strategic vision within regional and global organizations. Key discussion points include prioritizing drivers of change and identifying areas for improvement, building a “safe” culture where change is encouraged and rewarded, recognizing how and when to seek diverse perspectives on change management, and establishing benchmarks to measure one’s progress.

    Meredith Mendes, Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, Jenner & Block LLP

    Arthur G. Armstrong, Executive Director, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP
    T. Mark Flanagan, Jr., Chief Operating Officer & Partner, Dentons
    Sally F. King, Chief Operating Officer, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP
    Meagan N. Newman, Chief Operations Officer, Bartlit Beck LLP
    Steven Petrie, Americas, Chief Operating Officer, White & Case LLP

    12:00 PM
    Networking Luncheon
    1:15 PM
    Breakout #1: Building Consensus: Persuading Partners to Change (Breakout)

    A recent survey over change efforts within the Am Law 200 yielded a number of startling conclusions. Not only were over 90% of respondents convinced that their firm viewed changing the legal service delivery model as only a “low” or “moderate” priority, but well over 60% pointed to ingrained ennui amongst the partnership as the primary point of friction. Law firm executives must build firmwide consensus in order to transform their business. But recognizing this need, and actually succeeding in doing so, are two very different propositions. This session offers candid advice on how to overcome organizational pockets of resistance and build a groundswell of enterprise support.

    Jeremy Linehan, President, Profit Recovery Partners, LLC

    Robert K. Burger, Chief Operating Officer, Sterne, Kessler, Goldstein & Fox PLLC
    Truda K. Chow, Chief Operating Officer, Michael Best & Friedrich LLP
    Ken Johnsen, Executive Director Finance & Chief Operating Officer, Shearman & Sterling LLP
    Barbara Mica, Chief Operating Officer, Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP

    Breakout #2: Castles Made of Sand: Leading Change through Law Firm Combinations (Breakout)

    Thanks to ongoing pressures around shrinking market share and long-term growth, law firm combinations reached record highs in 2018. Throughout the profession, merger activity between large, midsize, and small firms underscored the profound unrest still roiling a dispersed market. Law firm combinations are obviously complex engagements. But perhaps the most challenging facet of a successful merger is in the implementation and cultural work still to come. This session addresses change management strategies across two or more disparate cultures. How do law firm executives succeed in aligning their business in the wake of profound transformation?

    Bill Johnston, Founder, W. Johnson Associates & Affiliated Partner, Fairfax Associates

    Steven Bell, Director of Client Service, Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP
    Lee S. Dixon, Chief Operations Officer, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
    Susan C. Olson, Chief Operating & Chief Financial Officer, Hawley Troxell Ennis & Hawley LLP
    Madhav Srinivasan, Chief Financial Officer, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP
    Keith R. Whitman, Chief Operating Officer, Thompson & Knight LLP

    Breakout #3: The Mirror Crack’d: Perception vs. Reality in Reputational Management (Breakout)

    For all the talk of industry transformation and practice innovation, the legal profession will forever be defined by performance, reputation and relationships. Myriad media headlines suggest that any number of unforeseen developments, including partner and practice group defections, controversial clientele, or alleged ethical misconduct, can have a deleterious impact on a firm’s overall reputation and finances. And while some within the profession might discount the repercussions of reputational harm, savvy executives recognize why aligning perception with reality is critical for long-term success. This conversation offers candid thoughts on facilitating reputational awareness across the enterprise.

    Gretta Rusanow, Head of Advisory Services, Law Firm Group, Citi Private Bank

    Ralph Allen, Chief Operating Officer, Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP
    Paul R. Boken, Chief Operating Officer, Dykema Gossett PLLC
    Michael Ellenhorn, Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Decipher
    John Hellerman, President & Founder, Hellerman Communications LLC
    Nick Kalm, Founder & President, Reputation Partners

    2:30 PM
    Afternoon Break
    2:45 PM
    Thursday Keynote: Building Sustainable Change

    The rules of success have changed. Sustainable competitive advantage no longer lies simply in a new product or service. It is an organizational capability to be adaptive. The new role of strategy is to provide the practical process and tools to help us build and lead adaptive organizations. Thomson Reuters is pleased to welcome Willie Pietersen, a renowned business executive, consultant and Professor of the Practice of Management at Columbia University Graduate School of Business, for a provocative presentation on engineering sustainable change in today’s business environment.

    William Pietersen, Professor of the Practice of Management, Columbia Business School

    3:45 PM
    4:00 PM
    Breakout #1: A Long December: Lawyering & the Wellness Imperative (Breakout)

    A recent study of white collar professionals concluded that lawyers, in addition to scoring lower than every other profession in terms of health and overall wellbeing, have the highest rate of alcohol and substance abuse on a global scale. Suffice to say, such findings seem par for the course. But perhaps a more intriguing question is how much productivity—and, by extension, profitability—is lost when lawyers fail to account for their health? This session examines the growing imperative of wellness initiatives at law firms today. Participants are asked to discuss what conversations and/or formal employee programs are proving most effective at their respective organizations.

    Jan Anne Dubin, Founder & Chief Executive Officer, Jan Anne Dubin Consulting

    Mark H. Goldberg, Senior Manager, Global Health & Well-Being, Latham & Watkins LLP
    Ann Rainhart, Chief Operating Officer, Briggs and Morgan, PA
    Dr. Larry Richard, Founder & Principal Consultant, LawyerBrain LLC
    Lisa Smith, Author, Girl Walks Out of a Bar

    Breakout #2: All Roads Lead Home: Mastering Small Data Within the Firm (Breakout)

    Reimagining business process around AI and big data generates considerable buzz across industries. In the legal sector, one hears often about the extraordinary inroads firms with large operating budgets have made when it comes to deeper, more transformative ways of leveraging business intelligence. But less is said about how firms saddled with more modest budgetary constraints are leveraging small data for various ends. This conversation offers real-world guidance on how to collect, catalogue and harness proprietary data to transform business operations and strategy. Our panel will address why small data is increasingly becoming a vital leyline for thriving in a slower growth environment.

    Dave Whiteside, Director, Client Growth & Success, CLIENTSFirst Consulting LLC

    Dr. Andrew J. Cook, Director of Data Analytics, Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, P.C.
    Peter Geovanes, Head of Data Strategy and Analytics, Winston & Strawn LLP
    Adam Karasick, Senior Manager, EisnerAmper LLP
    Dr. Evan Parker, Founder, Parker Analytics LLC

    Breakout #3: Agile by Design: Rethinking Law Firm Staffing Models (Breakout)

    Thanks to ongoing technological breakthroughs and evolving client expectations, law firm staffing models face heavy scrutiny throughout the profession. Recent Peer Monitor data reveals not only the continued popularity of talent outsourcing as a means of controlling costs, but also the introduction of more specialized roles (pricing, legal project management) to help drive profitability. This discussion considers a number of innovative ways firms are reimagining their legal and professional people strategy in order to remain agile and competitive in the market.

    Carlos Pauling, Managing Director, Law Firm Management, Major, Lindsey & Africa

    Frederick O’Malley, Chief Operating Officer, Shutts & Bowen LLP
    Linda Novosel, Chief Innovation & Value Officer, Blank Rome LLP
    Scott A. Ross, CPA, Chief Financial Officer, Tarter Krinsky & Drogin LLP
    Brent Turner, Manager, Peer Monitor, Thomson Reuters

    5:00 PM
    Thursday Night Reception

    Please join us for canapés and cocktails as we wrap up the day’s proceedings

    Friday, Oct 25

    8:30 AM
    Breakfast & Partner Talks

    Partner Talk #1:
    Selling Legal Services: Differentiate, Articulate Value and Avoid Commoditization in the Legal Market
    The recent changes in the legal landscape are profound and permanent. BigLaw keeps getting bigger, the boutiques are fragmenting the market and the middle is being squeezed. Compounding the problem, the advent of alternative legal service providers has forever changed the legal profession. There is, as they say, no going back. So how does a law firm (of any size) combat these market forces? In a word: selling. Or better put, articulating value. What role do front line staff play in communicating the value their firm provides beyond the practice of law to both existing and prospective clients? How can firm management help convey the importance of articulating value as a tool for differentiation? How can we teach our lawyers to sell more than their legal expertise, and what are the ramifications if we don’t?

    Rob Stote, Director – North America, BigHand

    Partner Talk #2:
    A Star is Born: Developing & Retaining Top Talent
    Competition for talent is fierce, and it is increasingly difficult for firms to develop and retain their high-potentials. As senior partners retire in big numbers, developing future leaders is more critical than ever. But are firms doing enough to nurture top talent? This presentation leverages years of consultative experience to discuss how leading professional services firms are successfully molding “rising stars” into the growth leaders of tomorrow.

    Rick Davis, Growth Acceleration Leader, RSM US LLP
    Pat Nunley, Growth Acceleration Leader, RSM US LLP

    Partner Talk #3:
    Launch Point: Transforming Business Intelligence within the Firm
    Measuring profitability can be a tricky proposition. Indeed in an era where “new analytics” and “evolving business models” continue to generate buzz, law firms are investing heavily in business intelligence (“BI”) to drive a sustainable growth strategy in a volatile market. Leveraging highlights from a new survey produced by Iridium Technologies and LawVision Group, this talk offers a compelling take on where law firms can improve the accuracy of their business intelligence and maximize BI’s intrinsic value vis-à-vis intelligent, exponential technology.

    Tom Jones, Chief Executive Officer & President, Iridium Technology

    9:30 AM
    Swords to Plowshares: Managing Senior Partner Transitions in the Firm

    Senior partner succession planning has long been a delicate topic for law firm executives. According to Altman Weil, nearly 65% of law firm equity partners are in their late fifties or early sixties, and over 60% of partners aged sixty or older manage more than half of their firm’s book of business. Increasingly, firms are recognizing the need to establish transition plans for partners that meet the needs of clients, the firm and the partner, including educating senior colleagues on life after legal practice.  This conversation offers candid advice on how to initiate and lead often challenging discussions with senior-most members of the firm.

    Bob Seabolt, Chief Operating Officer, IST Management Services, Inc.

    LeeAnn Black, Chief Operating Officer, Latham & Watkins LLP
    Lisa J. Braun, Managing Director, Partner Affairs, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP
    Jamie Hutchinson, Chief Administrative Partner, Alston & Bird LLP
    Gina M. Kastel, Vice Chair and Chief Operating Partner, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP

    10:45 AM
    Morning Break
    11:00 AM
    Friday Keynote: A Fireside Chat with William Dudley

    The Legal Executive Institute is honored to welcome William C. Dudley for a closing keynote conversation with Axel Threlfall, Reuters Editor-at-Large. Dr. Dudley served as the 10th President and Chief Executive Officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and Vice-Chairman of the Federal Open Market Committee from 2009-2018. He joined the Federal Reserve on the eve of the 2008 financial crisis, following a 20-year career at Goldman Sachs – where he served as the firm’s chief US economist for a decade. While at the Federal Reserve, Dr. Dudley earned a reputation as a champion for prudent regulation and supervision of globally systemic financial institutions. He continues to serve as a highly respected authority on US fiscal policy, global financial markets and tax reform.

    Axel Threlfall, Editor-at-Large, Reuters
    William Dudley, 10th President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of New York & Vice-Chairman, The Federal Open Market Committee (2009-2018)

    12:00 PM
    Closing Remarks
    Steven M. Bell

    Director of Client Service, Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP

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    LeeAnn Black

    Chief Operating Officer, Latham & Watkins LLP

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    Rick Davis

    Growth Acceleration Leader, RSM US LLP

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    William Dudley

    President & CEO of The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (2009-2018)

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    Michael Ellenhorn

    Co-Chief Executive Office & General Counsel, Decipher

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    Jan Anne Dubin

    Chief Executive Officer & Founder
    Jan Anne Dubin Consulting

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    T. Mark Flanagan

    US Chief Operating Officer, Dentons

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    Peter Geovanes

    Head of Data Strategy, AI and Analytics, Winston Strawn LLP

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    Mark Goldberg

    Senior Manager, Global Health & Well-Being, Latham & Watkins LLP

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    Jamie Hutchinson

    Chief Administrative Partner, Alston & Bird LLP

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    Kenneth W. Johnsen

    Executive Director Finance & Chief Operating Officer, Shearman & Sterling LLP

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    Tom Jones

    President, Iridium Technology LLC

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    Sally King

    Chief Operating Officer, Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP

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    Pat Nunley

    Growth Acceleration Leader, RSM US LLP

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    Frederick B. O'Malley

    Chief Operating Officer, Shutts & Bowen LLP

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    William Pietersen

    Professor, The Practice of Management, Columbia Business School

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    Steven R. Petrie

    Americas, Chief Operating Officer, White & Case LLP

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    Ann Rainhart

    Chief Operating Officer, Briggs and Morgan, P.A.

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    Larry Richard

    Founder and Principal Consultant, LawyerBrain LLC

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    Scott Ross

    Chief Financial Officer, Tarter Krinsky & Drogin LLP

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    Lisa F. Smith

    Author, Girl Walks Out of a Bar

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    Madhav Srinivasan

    Chief Financial Officer, Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP

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    Axel Threlfall

    Editor-at-Large, Reuters

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    Brent Turner

    Manager of Peer Monitor, Thomson Reuters

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    Dave Whiteside

    Director, Client Growth & Success, CLIENTSFirst Consulting LLC

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    New York Marriott Downtown

    85 West Street
    New York, NY 10006

    W New York – Downtown Room Block

    Please be advised, although the deadline for our overflow room block at the W New York – Downtown has passed, interested parties may email to inquire about available rooms at our negotiated rate of $459/night plus taxes. Our negotiated rate expires on October 7, 2019.

    Please contact with any additional questions.

    More Info

    Nearby Hotels

    Club Quarters Hotel, World Trade Center


    Conrad New York Downtown


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