Law firms from over 60 countries and US states converged on London to attend SCG Legal’s mid-year meeting. We are the UK representative of SCG Legal, the global network of over 11,000 lawyers providing an effective and trusted resource for identifying local lawyers worldwide.
Delegates heard from former Lord Mayor of London, Sir David Wootton, about Brexit and the future of London, and from Professor Richard Susskind who described how artificial intelligence (AI) will assist law firms of the future.
Tom Pickthorn, Partner at Mills & Reeve said: “The future of the legal sector will be hugely affected by new technology and big data. We have a choice to work with it or fight it. Richard’s comments certainly rang true with what our clients expect. Utilising AI is less about copying the way we work and more about harnessing technology to help us think differently and work more effectively.”
The second day of the conference gave lawyers the chance to discuss a wide range of topics, including developments in global life sciences, GDPR and driverless vehicles.
James Fry, Mills & Reeve’s Head of Life Sciences, moderated an impressive panel from BioCity Group, MedImmue, MAP Biopharma and Candesic which discussed new drugs, trends and regulations, and the challenges and opportunities arising from personalised medicine.
James said: “Many life science organisations face very real challenges in the current economic and political climate; accessing talent beyond the UK and securing the diversity of skills needed to develop new drugs is a real issue for these companies and it was interesting to discuss this and other trends with other lawyers from around the world.”
There was also a lively discussion about how GDPR affects global businesses, particularly from the US lawyers whose clients deal with the EU.
Peter Wainman, a Privacy and GDPR specialist at Mills & Reeve, led the session with lawyers from Van Benthem & Keulen in Holland, Mason Hayes & Curran in Ireland, Graf von Westphalen in Germany and Robinson+Cole from the US.
Peter commented: “There’s been a huge amount of hyperbole in the headlines about the new EU regulations and this was a chance to explore how organisations outside the UK and EU have reacted to the new legislation and how they are advising these global business where different regulations apply according to the countries they operate in.”
Claire Clarke, managing partner at Mills & Reeve, hosted a session with in-house lawyers from Domino Printing Sciences, JMJ Associates, Iron Mountain and the British Council, organisations with business interests all over the world.
Claire said: “ We posed the question ‘What keeps you awake at night?’ and the answers reflected many of the discussions during the conference. In-house lawyers work in multiple jurisdictions every day and face a proliferation of regulations on everything from data privacy to real estate investment. It was a great opportunity for over 100 lawyers to hear how they can support and work with organisations to make sure they are delivering what their clients need and also to look for business opportunities ad valuable connections for the these global companies.”
A particular highlight was the presentation by Stephen Hamilton, Mills & Reeve corporate partner, on driverless cars and the challenges, opportunities and remarkable changes ahead.
The conference concluded with a fascinating tour of Westminster Abbey and a gala dinner in the Abbey cloisters.
SCG Legal’s Chairman, Graeme Menzies from Mills & Reeve, commented "This was the most popular mid-year meeting in the Group’s 30 year history, and feedback confirmed that delegates were delighted with the programme content, quality of the presentations and the opportunities to network with global businesses."
Click here to see photographs from the two days.