Welcome to the Australian Legal Leaders’ Forum

The legal industry is evolving, and evolving rapidly. Demands and pressures on firms continue to increase - heightened competition within the sector has resulted in a record number of law firm mergers and a drive toward greater operational efficiency; clients are demanding more from their panel firms, not just in terms of price innovation and transparency, but broader social metrics. And, perhaps most significantly, the rise and adoption of innovative technologies is pushing the boundaries of legal service delivery and the consumption of legal information.

Firms need to adapt and flex to those changes and develop appropriate strategies to ensure the sustainability and growth of their business. The future will belong to those firms that are most responsive to these drivers of change.

The Australian Legal Leaders’ Forum, taking place on 8 November at Pier One Hotel in Sydney, will address these issues in detail during the course of one high-impact day. The content has been curated to address the most business-critical issues for law firm CEOs, COOs, Managing Partners, CIOs and all those who have an interest in the future direction of their firm.

We are delighted to announce our two international keynotes:

  • David Flavell, Senior Vice President, Deputy General Counsel and Managing Attorney at PepsiCo (USA)
  • Joseph Raczynski, Technologist and Futurist, Thomson Reuters (USA)

Some of the key topics the conference will address include:

  • A global perspective and discussion on innovation and how innovation is being practically adopted by global and US firms.
  • A ‘beyond the hype’ look at the realities of innovation and legal technology application, and how LegalTech continues to disrupt the practice of law.
  • How the role of banks in financing growth of and driving efficiencies of law firms is significantly evolving to support law firms’ future growth strategies.
  • The transformational shifts in law firm and industry-wide culture to promote diversity and inclusion.
  • The changing role of a global GC, managing external law firms and effectively engaging an expanding millennial workforce.
  • Are Australian clients really expecting law firms to change the ways in which they deliver their legal services – the true client-lawyer relationship.
  • The reality of being hacked - cyber-security risks and vulnerabilities for law firms, considered at a policy and practical level, and illustrated by a law firm case study.

The Forum will be held under the Chatham House Rule, to promote open and frank discussion throughout the day.

We look forward to meeting you at the Forum.

Date & Location

8th November 2018
Pier One, 11 Hickson Road, Walsh Bay, Sydney


Standard Price
$795 + GST



For any event enquiries email eventsau@thomsonreuters.com




Carl Olson, Head of Proposition and Market Development, Legal Professionals, Asia & Emerging Markets, Thomson Reuters




INTERNATIONAL KEYNOTE: The reality of innovation – a global perspective

Technological, economic and market pressures are increasingly impacting the legal sector globally and in Australia. This pressure trifecta will continue to reshape the way the sector and law firms function. In our opening keynote, futurist and technologist Joseph Raczynski will give us insight into:

  • how leading global firms are implementing various technologies to unlock growth
  • the practical realities, risks and opportunities associated with these technologies and strategies
  • how partnership and collaboration can drive opportunities for firms

Joseph Raczynski, Futurist & Technologist, Thomson Reuters (USA)


PANEL: The rise of the machines: How LegalTech continues to disrupt and change the practice of law

Much has been made of the impact that technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics is having on the legal sector. However, how do you separate hype from reality, and understand what changes will become mainstream and when? This panel will examine some of the key technologies that are reshaping the legal sector in practice.

  • Predictive analytics: a new way forward for legal research?
  • Legal Diagnostics: Analysing legal problems and offering advice
  • The importance of trust and transparency: What can be learnt from other industries to encourage consumer trust?

Michelle Mahoney, Executive Director of Innovation, King & Wood Mallesons
Anna Collyer, Partner and Head of Innovation, Allens
Athol Birtley, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Settify
Nick Abrahams, Partner & Global Technology & Innovation Practice Leader, Norton Rose Fulbright
Moderated by: Dr Philippa Ryan, Senior Lecturer and Barrister, UTS Law School


Refreshments and networking break


Financing growth and driving efficiencies - The evolving role of banks in supporting law firms

This session will explore the funding challenges for law firms, trends in working capital and partner capital financing and the challenges (& opportunities) associated with the funding of innovation. Financial institutions are increasingly designing innovative structures and looking beyond just banking solutions to assist law firms in their growth strategies.

We will discuss how this is evolving and what role this will play in the firm of the future.

Ian Marshall, National Head of Legal Segment, Macquarie Business Banking, Macquarie Bank


PANEL: Diversity in action: transforming law firm culture

Recent allegations of sexual harassment in the legal profession, and across professional services generally, have highlighted the disconnect between policy and culture in many firms. The challenge is to develop a culture that meaningfully promotes equal opportunities for diversity, inclusion and success. What have been the key organisational and cultural changes within firms that have bred positive outcomes for victims of victimisation and harassment? What more must be done to create safe working environments for all legal practitioners?

Heidi Roberts, Partner – Diversity & Inclusion and Chair – Corrs’ Diversity Council, Corrs Chambers Westgarth
Professor Margaret Thornton, Professor, Australian National University
Aaron Goonrey, Partner, Lander & Rogers
Moderated by: Peta Stevenson, Partner & LINK Ally, King & Wood Mallesons


Lunch and networking break


AFTERNOON KEYNOTE: In conversation with David Flavell

In this interview-style session, David Flavell, SVP, Global Deputy General Counsel & Managing Attorney at PepsiCo will share his global insights as a General Counsel leading a team of over 400 professionals and will share experiences on issues he has grappled with, which similarly seem to be grappled with by law firm partners.

  • How the evolving nature of work and the workforce has changed the way legal teams are constituted and managed
  • The next generation: engaging and managing the millennial workforce
  • Global brands, global outlook – differing cultures within European-based corporates, US-based corporates and AU-firms
  • How has the role of a Senior GC and legal team evolved – and how will it continue to develop?
  • The In-house lawyer as a business partner – an analogous theme for the lawyer/client relationship

David Flavell, SVP & Global Deputy General Counsel & Managing Attorney, PepsiCo USA


PANEL: The reality of being hacked – your risks and vulnerabilities

Cyber-security is one of Australia’s national security priorities and law firms are increasingly at risk of attack. As law firms are fundamentally in the business of trust and protection of sensitive information, there is no margin for error. This session explores the current information security challenges for firms, along with discussing strategies to reduce risk exposure and address an incident in the event one occurs.

  • What did we learn from WannaCry and other ransomware attacks?
  • Current trends in attacks and the vulnerabilities of firms
  • What can you do when your biggest risks aren’t external – but the staff’s adherence to IT security policy?
  • When the worst happens: Cases studies of pre- and post-crisis comms

Cheng Lim, Partner and Global Lead, Cyber Security Initiative, King & Wood Mallesons
Shane Watt, CISO, NewsCorp Australia
James Turner, Cyber Security & Risk specialist, CISO Lens
Amber Matthews, General Counsel & Partner, DLA Piper
Moderated by: Alexandra Wedutenko, Partner, Clayton Utz


Refreshments and networking break


PANEL: Do clients really expect law firms to change the delivery of their legal services?

In a rapidly evolving legal marketplace, we hear frequently of disconnects between law firms and clients but what exactly are those disconnects, and are clients really changing their buying behaviours and expectations of law firms?

  • global surveys indicate that buyers of legal services are increasingly demanding more from law firms, as a result of greater options and buying power. What is the Australian experience?
  • how are clients approaching issues of social responsibility, environmental and diversity policies in their relationships with law firms?
  • what metrics might law firms and clients adopt to a demonstrate a successful alignment of interests and measure long term health of relationships?
  • are Australian law firms evolving their service delivery in response to the demands of in-house teams for price certainty and commercial judgment, as well as in response to the increased capabilities of in-house lawyers?

Rachel Besley, General Counsel, Deloitte Australia
Adrian D’Amico, General Counsel, Department of Defence
David Flavell, SVP & Global Deputy General Counsel & Managing Attorney, PepsiCo USA
Moderated by: Steven Walker, Founder and CEO, Gen2Law


Closing remarks from the Chair

Jackie Rhodes, CEO, Thomson Reuters



Meet your International Keynotes

Joseph Raczynski

Joseph is an innovator and early adopter of all things computer related. His primary bent is around the future of technology. He also focuses and speaks on several fields including Cryptocurrency, Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, and Robotics (drone technology).

Joseph founded wapUcom, LLP, consulting with companies in web and wireless development. As a side project DC WiFi was created to help create a web of open wireless WiFi access points across cities and educate people about wireless security.

Currently he is with Thomson Reuters Legal managing a team of Technical Client Managers for both the Large Law, Corporate, and Government divisions. Joseph serves the top law firms in the world consulting on legal trends and customizing Thomson Reuters legal technology solutions for enhanced workflows. He graduated from Providence College with a BA in Economics and Sociology and holds a Masters in eCommerce and MBA from the University of Maryland, University College.

David Flavell

David manages the legal teams supporting PepsiCo’s business units across the globe and is based in PepsiCo’s global headquarters in New York. David spent the first 11 years of his career with Corrs Chambers Westgarth and was a corporate and anti-trust partner in Melbourne. Leaving Australia in 2005, David has spent the last 13 years in a variety of global in-house roles with Fonterra Co-operative Group, Danone and PepsiCo and has been based in Auckland, Shanghai, Dubai, Dallas and New York. In this time David has specialised in managing M&A transactions in developed and developing markets and managing legal departments and legal issues across Asia, Europe, Africa and North and South America.

David joined PepsiCo in 2011 in Dubai as SVP and General Counsel for Asia, Middle East and Africa and has held a variety positions in different locations since. In his current role as Deputy General Counsel & Managing Attorney, David is responsible for management of the legal agenda for PepsiCo’s global businesses as well as its central global functions and leads a team of over 300 professionals spread across the globe. David has been a member of numerous senior executive leadership teams across multiple businesses and has a particular interest in different international cultures, talent recruitment and people development. David graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Economics and Bachelor of Laws (honours).


Local Speakers include:

Anna Collyer Anna Collyer Partner and Head of Innovation,
Alexandra Wedutenko Alexandra Wedutenko Partner,
Clayton Utz
Michelle Mahoney

Michelle is a serial intrapreneur. Michelle has a strong global network and has a track record for maximising technology, transforming business and innovating. She is responsible for legal design, digital strategy, the application of artificial intelligence and innovation thought leadership. Michelle is a member of the firm’s Executive Leadership team and is the Executive Director of Innovation. She designs and delivers the innovation strategy for King & Wood Mallesons. Her career has included many first to market initiatives and she has received global professional recognition. Michelle is a technologist, Prince 2 project manager, Prosci change manager, d.school design thinker and a lean six sigma black belt.

Athol Birtley

Athol Birtley is the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Settify, a client-facing technology that uses Expert System AI to provide intake and induction services in family law and estate planning. Launched in February 2017, Settify has been adopted by over 90 firms around Australia and New Zealand, and has assisted over 10,000 people. Athol holds a combined Law and Computer Science degree with first class honours from Melbourne University. Before starting Settify, he was a corporate lawyer at Allens, and before that, he ran a video game development studio that was subsequently sold to EA Games.

Nick Abrahams

Nick is the Global Head of Technology & Innovation for Norton Rose Fulbright. In addition to his tech and privacy law practice, he co-created Parker, the world’s first AI-powered privacy chatbot. The award winning Parker has provided thousands of hours of legal information to users and has been sold to corporates for internal use.

Separately to NRF, he is a disruptor in his own right, having co-founded online legal service LawPath 5 years ago. LawPath now has over 55,000 users and has the world’s largest legaltech company, LegalZoom, as a significant investor.

Nick is on the board of ASX300 software company, Integrated Research. He is also on the board of global genomic medicine leader, the Garvan Foundation, as well as the boards of the Sydney Film Festival and the Vodafone Foundation. He has been on numerous government boards, including the Commonwealth Government’s Consultative Working Group on Cybersafety, the NSW Government’s Procurement Industry Advisory Board and the NSW Fintech Advisory Board.

He is the author of the Kindle best-selling book Digital Disruption in Australia and some years ago produced the mockumentary Searching for Alison Porchnik featuring Woody Allen and Carol Cane.

Dr Philippa Ryan

Dr Philippa Ryan is a barrister and lecturer in the Faculty of Law at the University of Technology Sydney. She coordinates and teaches Commercial Equity; Technology Law Policy and Ethics; and Disruptive Technologies and the Law. Dr Ryan's PhD formulated a new classification for the liability of third parties to a breach of trust. She is currently researching autonomous systems and trust protocols enabled by blockchain technology. She is the Chair of the Standards Australia Blockchain Technical Committee's Smart Contracts Working Group and lead author of the International Standards for Smart Contracts. She is also the Deputy Chair of the Australian Computer Society’s Blockchain Technical Committee. Her co-authored book Blockchain: Transforming Your Business and Our World explores how this innovative technology can help achieve some of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals. In September 2018, she will address the UN in Geneva in relation to these issues. Her forthcoming book is Trust and Distrust in Digital Economies (Routledge, 2019).

Ian Marshall

Ian Marshall is the National Head of the Legal Segment for Macquarie Business Banking. He has 16 years’ experience in banking and financial services, including 14 years at Macquarie, working primarily in banking the professional services sector, specifically the legal industry.

Leading the national sales team, Ian drives business strategy, develops products, provides market insights and builds client relationships across the legal industry. His strong knowledge of the management, structure, dynamics, challenges and opportunities faced by legal practices offer demonstrable value to clients’ businesses.

A key focus for Ian is on the future opportunities associated with the changing business landscape, the evolution of Macquarie’s banking value proposition and the growing influence of technology in the legal sector and how firms can embrace this change to move up the value chain for their clients’.

Cheng Lim

Cheng Lim is a partner in the Melbourne office of King & Wood Mallesons, where he specialises in helping clients navigate complex legal, commercial and regulatory landscapes in telecommunications, technology and infrastructure. He has extensive experience in privacy and data security, and is the leader of KWM’s cybersecurity initiative. He is the author of the chapter on Mandatory Data Breach Notification in LexisNexis’ publication “Practical Guidance Cybersecurity, Data Protection & Privacy

Shane Watt

Shane Watt is the Chief Information Security Officer for News Corp Australia, which forms part of one of the world’s largest and leading global media and information services businesses. Prior to News Corp Australia, Shane was the Global Head of Information Security at Travelex, the worlds leading independent foreign exchange.

Having worked extensively in both the UK and Australia, Shane is an experienced Information Security and Risk Management leader with expertise in building cyber resilience, enabling business growth and inspiring confidence and trust.

James Turner

James Turner is the managing director of CISO Lens, an organisation that facilitates collaboration among the Chief Information Security Officers from Australia’s largest organisations. The purpose of CISO Lens to support the cyber resilience of Australia through collaboration. James is currently on sabbatical from IBRS, and Australian advisory firm, where he was an advisor on cyber security and risk for over a decade. While at IBRS, James authored over 100 advisory papers, interviewed thousands of IT executives, security executives, IT and security practitioners, and vendor executives. In 2017, James created the CIO Cyber and Risk Network, a peer-networking service run by IBRS.

In 2018, James founded the Australian Security Consulting Council, a consortium of Australia’s leading cyber security consultancies, who are committed to collectively progressing Australia’s cyber security capabilities. James also writes a regular opinion piece on cyber risk for the Australian Financial Review.

Amber Matthews

Amber is the firm's international General Counsel responsible for advising the firm on its legal and risks issues across Asia-Pacific, Europe, Middle East & Africa and leads an in-house team of lawyers and risk management professionals. She is also the Office Managing Partner for the Sydney office of DLA Piper. In both these roles Amber played an integral role in the firm's response to the NotPetya cyber attack that affected the firm and many other global organisations in June 2017. On this panel Amber will share her experience of this incident to help other organisations prepare for a similar attack.

Rachel Besley

Rachel joined Deloitte in 2002 from DLA Piper where she practiced as a technology lawyer and became the firm’s General Counsel, Legal Partner and Secretary to the Board in 2012. She leads the internal legal team of 25 corporate, commercial and dispute lawyers who advise the $1.7 billion Australian practice on all professional legal matters. Rachel is a former Deloitte Businesswoman of the Year state winner and national finalist, and featured on the Legal500’s GC Powerlists for 2016 and 2017.

Adrian D’Amico

Adrian D'Amico is the Defence General Counsel (DGC). Adrian has responsibility for the provision of high quality, strategic, legal advice on a broad range of issues within Defence including the provision of legal advice on complex and sensitive matters referred by Head Defence Legal, senior management within Defence and the Minister. Adrian is also responsible for the development, co-ordination and maintenance of the Defence legislation program.

Adrian completed a BEC/LLB (Hons) in 1988 at the Australian National University before joining private practice. Adrian spent 23 years in private practice, as a partner at Phillips Fox and Norton Rose, before joining the Department of Defence in August 2012.

Adrian's private practice experience was broad based, acting in both contentious and non-contentious matters. Adrian is a strong proponent of alternative dispute resolution, through which he has resolved a number of complex high-profile disputes. In 2009, Adrian was awarded a CDF Commendation in successfully remediating a disputed Defence logistics contract.

Heidi Roberts

Heidi is Partner Diversity and Inclusion at Corrs and the Chair of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) Council, appointed in January 2017.

In this role Heidi is responsible for leading the Corrs D&I strategy, aimed at increasing and enabling a diverse workforce and fostering an inclusive culture in which all individuals feel connected, valued and empowered to succeed.

Corrs’ commitment to diversity and inclusion is grounded in developing diversity of thought as a driver of improved business performance and enhanced service delivery to clients.

In 20 years at Corrs, Heidi has worked across a broad range of the firm’s activities in legal practice and strategic business roles. A highly regarded workplace relations lawyer, Heidi has been responsible for managing complex litigation and providing the highest quality strategic industrial relations and employment advice to large corporate and public sector clients. Heidi has also presented workplace training programs to educate boards, employers and employees about safety, discrimination, harassment and bullying in the workplace.

Professor Margaret Thornton

Margaret Thornton (FASSA FAAL) is Professor of Law and ANU Public Policy Fellow at the Australian National University. She is a graduate of Sydney, NSW and Yale. Her research areas include legal education, the legal profession, the corporatisation of universities, discrimination law and feminist legal theory. Her current Australian Research Council project on innovative law firms is entitled ‘Flexible Law and Flexible Life’.

Aaron Goonrey

Aaron is a partner at Lander & Rogers and practices in the areas of industrial relations and employment law. He works with clients across various industries and sectors, including banking and finance, media, healthcare, government and professional services.

Aaron provides strategic and practical advice on all aspects of employment, industrial relations, discrimination, and work health and safety. He is also experienced in investigations (workplace and regulatory), restraint of trade matters, restructuring and terminations, and prosecutions involving workplace, safety and regulatory issues.

Peta Stevenson

Peta Stevenson is a partner in the Dispute Resolution team in King & Wood Mallesons’s Sydney office. Peta is actively engaged in KWM’s diversity and inclusion priorities as a lead partner on their national LGBTI Working Group and Gender Working Group. She is also a Sydney ally for the Engaging Women program which celebrated its 10th year last year. Engaging Women brings together a wide range of activities across the firm centred wholly on promoting the advancement of women, underpinned by the key themes of making connections and education and development. In her legal practice Peta specialises in competition litigation, advising a diverse mix of clients on the application of the anti-competitive conduct, consumer protection and access provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) and related state legislation. Peta also acts in a broad range of regulatory investigations and enforcement proceedings, as well as private enforcement proceedings for damages and other relief (including class actions).

Steven Walker

Steven is a 19-year lawyer, having spent 10 years in-house at Hewlett-Packard working in leadership positions across the United States, Europe and Asia Pacific, with several years as Vice President, South Pacific General Counsel and Group Secretary.

In 2017, Steven founded and is CEO of a legal consulting and solutions company, Gen2Law, specialising in helping legal departments, law firms and law companies innovate and transform to the next generation of legal and ops services.

He has pioneered multiple global and regional legal transformations, implementing and managing complex legal services solutions underpinned by cutting-edge legal technology and lean process combined with innovative people strategies and sourcing models, generating quantifiable business savings and quality improvements.