Law Firm’s International Strategy To Take-Off Following Successful Event
Concorde’s iconic delta wings provided a stunning backdrop to the finale of First Law International’s (FLI) latest Spring Conference which was recently organised and hosted in Manchester by Irwin Mitchell.
The Gala Awards Dinner at ‘The Hangar’ at Manchester Airport’s Concorde Conference Centre brought to an end the successful two-day conference (19-20 May) which was attended by over 200 guests, including lawyers and large corporates from nearly 60 countries.
Summarising the event Bryan Bletso, Irwin Mitchell’s Head of International, said:
Expert Opinion“The Gala Awards Dinner was a superb and fitting way to bring this year’s conference to an end. Having a Concorde above you was an interesting talking point for guests but it’s also a great example of what can be achieved through international cooperation. Concorde was built as part of a joint venture between France and the UK and without the two countries working closely together during the 1960s, one of the greatest man-made engineering design projects of the twentieth century may not have ever happened. Making the most from our global connections was a theme that ran throughout the conference and I am looking forward to exploring new and existing partnerships now that it is over.
"International business is a huge opportunity for us and our clients, and FLI gives us the ability to connect clients and colleagues globally to firms with a shared culture and ethos.”
Bryan Bletso - Partner
Re-introducing the UK
Ahead of the gala dinner on Friday, Irwin Mitchell and FLI organised a packed two-day programme of speakers, strategic workshops, presentations from renowned industry experts, and networking opportunities with other member partners.
Irwin Mitchell’s Chief Commercial Officer, Vicky Brackett, opened the conference on Thursday morning at Manchester United’s football stadium, Old Trafford.
Here she set out her main aims for the conference. These were firstly to re-introduce the UK after the pandemic and secondly, in a post-Brexit world, how do we build a responsible, sustainable and inclusive way of working across the world.
Following a discussion about Irwin Mitchell’s International strategy, FLI CEO and founder Orlando Casares summarised the key trends affecting the legal industry. Wrapping up the morning session, Daniel Casares (FLI’s Chief Business Development Officer) and David Neal (Chief Technology Officer at FLI) discussed the changing face of law and the part technology is playing in this.
The afternoon session saw presentations from new members of the FLI network and the Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, join via video call and welcome the FLI delegates to the city region. In doing so he shared the 16 year plan that Manchester has set to move to net-zero led by science based targets, creating a better place for its residents. The first day finished with a practical networking advisory session from Irwin Mitchell Business Development Manager, Rob Cowling, and Russell Wardrop, CEO of Kissing With Confidence.
Brexit and ESG
Following an opening address to start day two by Irwin Mitchell’s Group CEO, Andrew Tucker; Laura Harper, Commercial Partner, led a fascinating discussion about what's driving growth and attracting foreign direct investment in the Manchester City region. Laura was joined by our clients Caroline Roberts-Cherry (Saffron Cherry Productions) and Graham Ankers (Playstation), along with Tim Newns from Midas (Manchester's investment agency).
Vicky Brackett then chaired a debate about the UK post-Brexit with Bryan Bletso; Sir Hugo Swire, Deputy Chair at the Commonwealth Enterprise And Investment Council (CWEIC); Andy Burwell, International Director at CBI; Anne-Marie Martin, Director of Global Business Markets at British Chamber of Commerce; and Orlando Casares of FLI.
Later, Steve Kenzie, Executive Director at United Nations Global Compact, launched the ESG section of the agenda which involved a panel discussion led by Kate Fergusson, Head of Responsible Business at Irwin Mitchell. Delegates then moved into break out rooms to discuss specific industry sector issues and market opportunities including financial services and data protection & privacy amongst others. The second day was concluded by Orlando Casares who alongside FLI clients, including Bray International and TransUnion UK, focused on best practice partnership with legal firms.
In addition to the two day conference, delegates had the opportunity to experience the roof top terrace at 20 Stories, Manchester’s Museum of Science & Industry, the set of Coronation Street and a stadium tour at Manchester United.
Summing up her views about the conference, Vicky Brackett said: “It’s been so useful to reconnect with colleagues across the world – and a reminder of how important that interaction and networking is.
"It’s also been a great opportunity to reintroduce the UK. And to learn how strong business development and technology is when combined around clients’ needs and the efficiency and value this brings when we move away from talking about what we do to focusing on finding solutions for them.”
Established in 2001, FLI is based in Brussels and has created a global network of over 85 leading independent national law firms, representing over 18,000 lawyers.
Irwin Mitchell joined FLI in October 2018 as part of its international growth strategy. Since being appointed, Irwin Mitchell has become a key member of the network - highlighted by its appointment to FLI’s Advisory Board. In addition to playing a key role in supporting FLI’s priorities and growth strategy, Irwin Mitchell has received numerous work referrals in the areas of corporate, commercial, restructuring & insolvency, banking, real estate, data protection, employment, litigation, IP, tax, trust and estates, family, wills, trust and estates disputes and immigration law.
Other strategic international networks that Irwin Mitchell is a member of include CWEIC - a network of around 100 business and government members from around the Commonwealth.