Last week marked the Meritas® – 2023 EMEA Regional, Firm Management Forum (FMF), and Board of Directors meetings, held in Madrid. Bringing together lawyers from across the network of independent law firms, the three-day meeting featured working sessions with members, as well as industry speakers.
Boughton’s Luca Citton attended the event on behalf of the firm. As the FMF chair, Citton also helped organize the meeting’s agenda—in addition to moderating sessions—and provided a quick recap on some highlights from the heart of Spain.
Looking to the future
A recurring topic across both the EMEA and FMF meetings was turning an eye towards the future of the legal profession. Long lamented as being slow to react to larger market trends, several roundtable discussions focused on how firms can react to changes impacting professional services across the globe, including AI, DE&I and strategic planning during uncertain economic times.
“The meetings in Madrid were a great opportunity to validate what many firm leaders have been thinking,” explains Luca Citton, president at Boughton, Meritas® board member, and chair of the FMF and Canadian Management Forum (CMF), “Mainly, the importance of a strong firm strategy.
“Many firms put strategic planning on hold during the last few years, instead focusing on weathering the near-term pandemic,” continues Citton. “Now that we’re beyond the immediacy of the pandemic, firms are putting a renewed focus on strategic planning, while trying to remain nimble, so they can respond to new developments in the industry and uncertainty in the economy.”
Another topic directly related to strategic planning is planning for the for the make-up or composition of law firms over the next few years. Partner to associate ratios, stable laddering of different years-of-call, pending retirements, along with training new lawyers were all covered in the three-day meeting’s agenda.
“The breadth of ‘people’ related topics at this year’s meeting was interesting,” says Citton. “Often, firm leadership discussions are heavily focused on the ‘business of law’ topics. But this year saw a focus on how the ‘people’ aspects interact with the ‘business’ aspects, making for some fascinating discussions.”
According to Citton though, despite the uncertainty and changes facing the industry, the overall sentiment among attendees was overwhelmingly positive.
“Even though there’s a lot going on in the industry right now, the majority of firm leaders I spoke with were excited,” explains Citton. “They see real opportunities in some of pressures facing firms and were eager to tackle them. That optimism—that interest in leading the change—was energizing.”
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