The 19th Annual Law Firm COO & CFO Forum Weathering the Storm: New Directions in Law Firm Management

Focused Firms

Event Details

Oct 29 - 30, 2020


$1800 USD (Law Firm Attendees) - Special Virtual Pricing

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

For the first time in its history, the Thomson Reuters Institute is pleased to present the 19th Annual Law Firm COO & CFO Forum as an immersive, two-day, virtual experience for our loyal conference partners and guests. The premier (inter)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.

Plan to join us for all three program segments:

The 2020 Law Firm Financial Performance Forum (10/28) 

This virtual half-day program offers an interactive slate of timely topics devoted to financial performance and management of today’s law firms.

The COO & CFO Forum Welcome Dinner (10/28)*  

We are actively exploring an al fresco dining experience for this year’s Wednesday Welcome Dinner at American Cut – Tribeca NYC, the stylish and award-winning steakhouse from Iron Chef Marc Forgione, hailed as one of the “Top 5 Steakhouses in America.” Seating is limited to the first 40 law firm guests in order to accommodate social distancing guidelines.

*To request more details, please email

The 19th Annual Law Firm COO & CFO Forum (10/29 – 10/30)

This year’s program takes a comprehensive dive into law firm management and financial health in the age of COVID-19.

Save the date! Online registration now available.

Early Bird registration ends August 31, 2020.

At Thomson Reuters, the health and well-being of conference attendees is of paramount import. Please contact with any questions or concerns.

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 2020 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
  • Event Co-Chairs

    James W. 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

    View Faculty Page
    Gretta Rusanow

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

    View Faculty Page

    Event Keynote Speakers

    Martin Neil Baily

    Bernard L. Schwartz Chair in Economic Policy Development, The Brookings Institute

    View Faculty Page
    Mara Liasson

    National Political Correspondent, NPR & Contributor, Fox News Channel

    View Faculty Page

    Event Details

    Thursday, Oct 29

    10:00 AM EDT
    Doors Open/Virtual Networking
    10:30 AM
    Partner Talks

    Please join us for a series of fifteen-minute executive presentations from some of our conference partners.

    12:00 PM EDT
    Opening Remarks
    12:05 PM EDT
    The State of the US Legal Market

    Ten months ago, buoyed in large part by a vibrant US economy, law firms and their peers held high hopes that 2020 would further contribute to the positive, albeit cautious, recovery of the global legal profession. Since then, and for obvious reasons, such optimism may have precipitously waned. This year’s presentation offers an earnest take on what year-to-date industry data portends for legal service providers across the nation.  Can the Am Law 200 maintain momentum despite unexpected setbacks? Or will the COVID-19 pandemic’s financial ramifications prove a death knell for law firms and their non-traditional brethren?

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

    1:20 PM EDT
    Networking Break
    1:40 PM EDT
    The Risen Deep: Assessing Law Firm Operations in the COVID-19 Era

    Even before the global health crisis thrust markets into chaos, cracks in the very foundation of a prevailing law firm-centric business model were already present as clients continued to exert greater influence over legal matters and forced firms to adapt in kind. Enter 2020. And with rote competition coalescing behind the Next Normal’s strange vicissitudes, one can easily appreciate the daunting task law firm executives face today. This session considers new operating guidelines in place across the profession. Our panel will address changes to organizational infrastructure, technology, remote working, real estate, and talent amidst such heightened uncertainty.

    Ralph Allen, Chief Operating Officer, Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP

    2:55 PM EDT
    Networking Break
    3:15 PM EDT
    Keynote Conversation: Drums of Autumn: Economic & Business Implications of the US 2020 Election

    The socioeconomic and political implications of the 2020 US Presidential election are profound and manifold. Prior to COVID-19’s arrival, Donald J. Trump’s hopes of a November reelection were buoyed by a dynamic US economy and historically low unemployment rate that cast his Democratic challenger at a sizable disadvantage. Since then, winds of change have reset the political landscape, adding tremendous tension to an already combustible situation. This keynote offers a timely exploration of the US economic outlook under a Republican or Democratic administration. What clues do current market conditions augur for the remaining calendar year and beyond?

    4:15 PM EDT
    Networking Break
    4:30 PM EDT
    Breakout #1: Hidden Paths: Reevaluating Firm Practice Matrices in the Current Market (Breakout)

    Recent events have yielded a waxing and waning of practice group activity at firms across the globe. For every narrative of growth and opportunity, a corresponding instance of muted performance seems to follow. Such is life in the COVID-19 era. This panel invites perspectives from law firm leaders on how each is guiding firmwide profitability amidst uneven practice group performance. How concerned should executives be about current trends? What short- or long-term strategies are firms deploying to generate business?

    Breakout #2: Adaptive Design: Evolving Law Firm Client Service Models (Breakout)

    The COVID-19 pandemic has inspired firms to rethink their client service model in any number of creative ways, including enhanced client service or practice teams, amended pricing strategies, or more comprehensive client feedback and listening initiatives. Whether in large or small organizations, client service innovation has proven itself a critical growth lever, and law firm executives play key roles in establishing focus, accountability, and quantifiable measurables to engineer success. This breakout highlights agile behaviors at prominent firms known for their outstanding client service commitment. What lesson(s) have recent events provided in our new economic reality?

    Breakout #3: A Fell Clutch of Circumstance: Navigating the New Risk Environment (Breakout)

    As businesses push for a return to normalcy, many will encounter a new risk environment colored by apprehension and uncertainty. At firms around the world, building a multi-disciplinary COVID-19 resource team is merely the first in a series of comprehensive risk mitigation techniques incorporated across the enterprise. Additional considerations include client intake and conflicts procedures, evolving court deadlines and statues of limitations, data privacy and security guidelines, or even escalating employee health and business insurance costs. This breakout offers a tactical dive into key pressure points and strategic approaches leveraged at leading firms.

    5:30 PM EDT
    Thursday Night Reception

    Friday, Oct 30

    10:00 AM EDT
    Doors Open/Virtual Networking
    10:30 AM EDT
    Partner Talks

    Please join us for a series of fifteen-minute executive presentations from some of our conference partners.

    12:00 PM EDT
    Pattern Recognition: Predicting Matter Leakage and Driving Client Profitability through Data Analysis

    This workshop offers a robust examination of law firm predictive analytics’ role in creating proactive insights around matter profitability and financial risk. Leveraging a real-world case study, our presenters will address the challenges associated with pre-engagement financial diligence, client matter intake and selection, risk profiling, partner risk assessment, and data-driven systematic monitoring in all types of legal work. Attendees will gain valuable insights around matter monitoring (based on conditional alerts), how to selectively engage partners and coach them for improved profitability, and how to create and manage profit playbooks or life cycle profitability.

    1:15 PM EDT
    Networking Break
    1:30 PM EDT
    A History of Silence: Race and Inequality in the Practice of Law

    George Floyd’s death at the hands of police brought to the fore deeply rooted tensions surrounding racism and racial inequality in the US judicial system and broader society. In response to the killing, many legal service providers offered powerful messages denouncing racial inequality and vowing change amidst a sea of public protests. And yet, even as well-intentioned platitudes made their way across the media, the actions of a profession long plagued by its lack of diverse talent struck many as disingenuous or hypocritical. The Legal Executive Institute is pleased to present a closing keynote on the state of racial diversity and inclusion in law firms today. Our presenters will offer important guidance on historical lessons learned and pathways forward for law firms to improve upon a history of diverse underrepresentation.

    2:45 PM EDT
    Networking Break
    3:00 PM EDT
    Special Interest Roundtable #1: The Pains of Progress: Recalibrating Talent Acquisition & Employee Recruitment (Breakout)

    An important consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic is the impact on the normal cadence—indeed parameters—of law firm recruitment efforts and employee assessment across the Am Law 200. On the one hand, opportunistic firms are taking advantage of COVID-19-induced salary cuts to sell greener pastures to lateral talent and entire practice groups. On the other hand, the unprecedented and largely unique nature of the pandemic portends a fundamental shift in what firms look for when evaluating core skill sets in prospective and current employees a shift realized in part by the struggle to evaluate employee performance amidst almost exclusively remote work arrangements. This conversation offers an important philosophical and practical exploration of changes to law firm hiring proclivities amidst the new frontiers of talent acquisition and talent management.

    Special Interest Roundtable #2: Scaling the Summit: Fiscal Strategy & Business Growth at Midsize Firms (Breakout)

    Across the legal profession, the financial fallout from the global COVID-19 pandemic has been swift, decisive, and for some, uneven. Whereas some legal service providers find themselves able to ride out the proverbial storm, others face the peril of stranger tides with scant if any safe harbors in sight. This conversation offers a comprehensive dive into how recent events have specifically impacted the midsize law firm community. How have firms succeeded in maintaining business continuity while engaging customers throughout the past few months? Attendees are invited to share their own experiences as we look forward to brighter days ahead.

    Special Interest Roundtable #3: Stark Revelations: Reassessing Technological Investments After COVID-19 (Breakout)

    Like all businesses, the COVID-19 pandemic forcibly pushed the legal profession to leverage a wide swath of technology to meet organizational and customer demands. At many firms, virtual meeting platforms and remote access technology offered an initial reprieve in the early weeks of the crisis. Yet, with the stark realities of the COVID-19 era still continuing to emerge, many firms are beginning to revisit their technological investments in anticipation of a dreaded “second wave.” This session offers an earnest look at evolving technological needs and priorities across the Am Law 200. Our panel will address new and ongoing cybersecurity concerns, remote working models, emerging technically enabled time and billing efficiencies, and the growing importance of cloud-based solutions to help accelerate the ways lawyers work.

    Gillian Power, Chief Information Officer, Lathrop GPM

    4:00 PM EDT
    Martin Neil Baily

    Bernard L. Schwartz Chair in Economic Policy Development, The Brookings Institute

    View Faculty Page
    Mara Liasson

    National Political Correspondent, NPR & Contributor, Fox News Channel

    View Faculty Page


    New York Marriott Downtown

    85 West Street
    New York, NY 10006

    Thomson Reuters has reserved a block of guest rooms at the New York Marriott Downtown over the nights of Tuesday, October 27 through Friday, October 30 at a negotiated rate of $384.00 USD/night plus taxes. Rooms are subject to availability. For additional assistance with reservations, please contact the hotel directly at 212.385.4900.

    Online registration coming soon.

    Complimentary high speed internet access is available within all guest rooms under our room block.

    Please be advised, the room block cut-off date is October 7, 2020.

    More Info

    Nearby Hotels

    W New York - Downtown


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