The Law Firm Change Management Summit

Transforming the Business and Practice of Law: Embracing Disruption and Overcoming Inertia to Manage Change, Adapt, Innovate and Excel


  • 03 May, 2018
  • 08:30 - 08:30
  • 450 N Cityfront Plaza Dr, Chicago, IL, 60611, United States (View Map)

Additional taxes may be applicable


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Download the full event program

8:30AM Registration & Networking Breakfast

9:00AM Opening Remarks - Conference Chairperson
Patrick J. McKenna, McKenna Associates, Inc.

9:15AM KEYNOTE The Great Legal Reformation
Mitchell E. Kowalski M.A. LL.M. ICD.D., Barrister and Solicitor, Gowling WLG, Visiting Professor in Legal Innovation, University of Calgary Law School and Author of Avoiding Extinction: Reimagining Legal Services for the 21st Century

Tech and Disruption in the World at Large

Ron Friedmann, Partner, Fireman & Company

10:45AM Morning Networking & Coffee Break

The Client’s Perspective...

Susan Hackett, CEO, Legal Executive Leadership, LLC

12:00PM Networking Luncheon
LUNCHEON SPEAKER: James Klotz, Secretary-General, International Bar Association & Chair of the Global Task Force on Future of Legal Services

Law Firm Leader’s Discussion: Lessons From Leaders Who Have Executed Significant Changes

Elliott Portnoy, Global Chief Executive Officer, Dentons
Maurice Watson, Chairman, Husch Blackwell
Stephen Poor, Chair Emeritus, Seyfarth Shaw LLP
Moderated by: Patrick J. McKenna, McKenna Associates, Inc.

The Science of Innovation Diffusion—and How It Applies to the Legal Sector 

Prof. William Henderson, Indiana University Maurer School of Law; Editor, Legal Evolution

2:30PM Afternoon Networking & Coffee Break

The Subtle Aspects of ‘Nudging' Change

Patrick J. McKenna, Principal - McKenna Associates Inc.

Effectuating Change Through Collaboration

Susan Saltonstall Duncan, President, RainMaking Oasis, LLC

4:30PM Wrap-Up/Closing Remarks
Patrick J. McKenna, McKenna Associates, Inc.

Full Description

What is the risk or cost of not anticipating change?

The successful law firm of 2030 will emerge from the choices made by law firm leaders today. In order to create competitive advantage and deliver superior financial returns, law firms need to understand and adapt to the changing ecosystem in which they now live, as well as forecasting what that ecosystem will look like 10 or more years down the road. Long-term vision and strategy have therefore never been more important for law firms.

According to the latest Law Firms In Transition Survey, law firms are changing but very slowly. “We see firms making only cursory investments where they should be aiming for broader, deeper transformation.“

There are currently over 1400 LegalTech start-ups listed on AngelList, with an average $3.9 million valuation and many of these companies are coming after your clients to provide an alternative to what you have traditionally been doing.

The world is littered with disrupted industries: newspapers, brick and mortar retailers, travel agents, even taxis. And Tech is seemingly behind it all. Is law next? Consider what’s involved in convincing your partners and gaining the internal support and enthusiasm required to pioneer the application of any untested, emerging technology or methodology.

Ark Group’s upcoming Law Firm Change Management Summit will provide an ideal platform for discussion and debate while addressing change in the profession from a futuristic, technological and client perspective—while also exploring ways to manage or drive specific change impacting culture and/or encouraging collaboration.

This forum will offer attendees cutting-edge insights to help you better understand the nature of the changes taking place and some tools and insights to help you effectively promote change in your firm. If you believe that your firm, department or practice group must change in order to succeed, this forum will prove to be invaluable insofar as what you can do to effectively promote necessary change—helping to transform best intentions into best practices!

We hope you will join us-along with your peers this May 3rd in Chicago!

Top industry speakers

Patrick J. McKenna

Internationally recognized author, lecturer, strategist and seasoned advisor to the leaders of premier law firms. One of the profession's foremost authorities on law firm leadership, Patrick has authored more than a few pioneering texts, including his book (co-authored with David Maister), First Among Equals: How to Manage a Group of Professionals, (The Free Press) — which topped business bestseller lists in the United States, Canada and Australia, has been translated into nine languages, and has been widely described as the essential guide to practice group leadership. McKenna’s published articles have appeared in over 50 leading professional journals, newsletters, and online sources; and his work has been featured in Fast Company, Business Week, The Globe and Mail, The Economist, Investor’s Business Daily and The Financial Times. His consulting expertise was acknowledged in 2008 when he was identified through independent research compiled and published by Lawdragon as “one of the most trusted names in legal consulting" and his three decades of experience led to his being the subject of a Harvard Law School Case Study entitled: Innovations In Legal Consulting (2011). An example of that innovation was launching the first instructional program designed to specifically address the issues that new firm leaders face in their First 100 Days, which has thus far graduated over 70 new leaders many from AmLaw 100 and 200 sized firms. His latest work is entitled, The Changing of The Guard: Selecting Your Next Firm Leader and was released by Ark Group Publishing in April 2015. McKenna has consulted with at least one of the largest law firms in over a dozen different countries. 

William Henderson

Professor of Law and Val Nolan Faculty Fellow, Maurer School of Law, Indiana University; In conjunction with other Indiana law faculty, Henderson introduced a new first-year course in 2009 called The Legal Profession. This mandatory four-hour course covers the ethics, competencies, and economics of the legal profession. Inspired by the 2007 Carnegie Report on Legal Education, the course uses legal ethics and the law of lawyering as the spine of a course that immerses students in a variety of practice settings and that educates them on the competencies they must develop to succeed in their professional lives.

Mitchell E. Kowalski

Mitchell E. Kowalski M.A. LL.M. ICD.D., Barrister and Solicitor, Gowling WLG Visiting Professor in Legal Innovation, University of Calgary Law School and Author of Avoiding Extinction: Reimagining Legal Services for the 21st Century

Ron Friedmann

Ron Friedmann is a consultant with Fireman & Company.  He advises law firms and law departments on improving law practice efficiency and law firm business operations. 

Susan Hackett

CEO, Legal Executive Leadership, LLC

James Klotz

Secretary-General, International Bar Association & Chair of the Global Task Force on Future of Legal Services

Elliott Portnoy

Global Chief Executive Officer, Dentons

Maurice Watson

Chairman, Husch Blackwell

Stephen Poor

Chair Emeritus, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

Susan Saltonstall Duncan

President, RainMaking Oasis, LLC