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Chairman’s Update – July 2020

8 July 2020

On behalf of the Executive Committee, I wanted to reach out to provide an update on some of the highlights from around LEI since we last connected at our “Global Virtual Conference” at the end of April. While our usual cycle of logistical planning for the two global and three regional conferences has been displaced in the various states of lockdown and travel bans, I think we can be very proud that that our network has continued to connect and remain close and that the flow of referrals between members firms has been strong.

I know we are all eager to get together again soon and share in the fun and excitement that only the in-person conferences can bring. With that said, the widespread experimentation with different meeting formats that is occurring throughout our network will serve us well long after we’ve returned to our regular meeting schedule.

The first major event since our global conference was the European Regional Conference which followed the trend of record setting attendance for a regional meeting. Colin Jones led attendees through a fantastic agenda. It is also noteworthy that Margarida Marques Bom facilitated the attendance and participation of a number of the LEI young lawyer contingent. The young lawyers brought excellent content to the table and demonstrated that we are doing a good job of identifying future leadership for LEI.

Continuing with the theme of young lawyer engagement, there have been two additional young lawyer networking events which have been well attended regularly by 35 young lawyers from around the world with a broad spectrum of geographic participation from our network. The next networking event is scheduled for this coming Thursday (July 9th). A big thanks to Margarida for her work on this project!

In May, the Asia Pacific Regional Conference was organized by Holding Redlich who did a bang-up job bringing together representatives from the firms throughout the region. There was an open sharing of COVID strategies and a fruitful dialogue that continued among the attendees long after the conference.

A big shout out to Gould & Ratner’s Fred Tanenbaum, who with the help of others quickly identified the need to create a weekly drop-in ‘war-room’ to discuss COVID related challenges for law firms. These meetings have been a real value to many member firms looking to share the challenges and solutions of operating firms in this unique environment. Special thanks as well to Jim Perkins who has spent considerable time and efforts with this initiative. As always, Jim’s brilliant strategic mind has been an real asset to our members throughout this challenging time.

On July 13th, LEI is hosting an intimate European Managing Partners Forum with a 1 attendee per firm format to try to increase the opportunity for dialogue on matters of strategic importance. This is another great example of experimentation with different ways of connecting and collaborating globally.

On the expansion front we have granted observer status to Praxio Legal in Luxembourg and based the positive experience of on our numerous meetings with them and their enthusiasm to join LEI, we are very hopeful that we’ll soon have a new member in a very important jurisdiction for any of us that deal in complex tax structures that often involve Luxembourg as a financial intermediary jurisdiction. Big thanks to Fred and others who have worked to bring this along. We had our most recent meeting with Praxio on July 1st in which observer status was officially granted with a view to having them attend our next physical conference which we expect to be in Berlin in the Spring of 2021.

In addition, we are moving forward well with our initiatives in Paris and Switzerland. Kris Caluwaerts will be in Paris to meet with candidate firms and we are very excited about the options we have there.

On the marketing front, our new website is in beta testing currently with a view to a launch concurrently with our fall virtual conference. Kristiaan has led this initiative with Kate Van Engeland and we are pleased to see the project coming in on time and on budget. The new website will be an exciting refresh and will include more client facing elements that will help showcase our network not only within our members but to our clients.

We continue to build our social media presence with daily posts across social media platforms which has resulted in ever increasing engagement with the content. These engagement metrics are a leading indicator that our efforts to increase awareness of LEI internally and externally are moving in the right direction.

We will be in touch shortly with dates and content for a virtual conference in the early autumn. We are building up the content for what would we hope will be an excellent and valuable conference.

Allan Ritchie

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