Amy Clowrey, JLD executive committee member, reviews the JLD annual conference and ball 2016

This year’s JLD annual conference and ball was held on 16 April at the Law Society, Chancery Lane, London and greatly received. The day began with a welcome from the JLD chair, Leanne Maund, who welcomed all those in attendance and handed over to Robert Bourns, vice president of the Law Society. Robert Bourns spoke about the excellent work of the JLD, and suggested that the Law Society along with the JLD could build a ‘spine of learning’ for future working.

Robert also discussed the Law Society’s Governance Review and informed delegates of vacancies on the Law Society Committees. He encouraged delegates to get involved with the JLD both at a local and national level, and gave an insight into his own experience being part of the Law Society.

We then welcomed Ros Kellaway, partner and head of the Competition, EU and Regulatory Group, Eversheds LLP, our keynote speaker who discussed Brexit – the impact on the legal sector. Despite the title of the talk, Ros considered both political factors and the impact that Brexit would have upon the legal sector. It was an extremely informative session.

Thereafter, we heard from district judge Keith Etherington, family and county courts at Stoke-on-Trent and Telford, who gave an inspiring talk about overcoming adversity and achieving career goals. Keith focused on his personal experiences and gave attendees useful tips and guidance whilst also ensuring that the audience was continually engaged.

We heard from Christopher Stoakes, director of Knowledge Management and Technical Training, Hogan Lovells and author on the topic ‘Legal project management: dealing with client expectations, adding value, and standing out in your firm’. This session was aimed towards our more experienced members and gave particular insight into what firms are looking for in an employee, how to pitch and understanding clients’ needs.

Two breakout sessions were scheduled throughout the day with a range of options for delegates, which included:

  • Know your rights! An overview of employment rights for junior lawyers , Kevin Poulter, partner in the employment team, Child & Child
  • The Investigatory Powers Bill - The impact of the ‘snoopers’ charter’ on the right to privacy , Scarlet Kim, legal officer, Privacy International
  • Dealing with vulnerable clients - How to take accurate instructions and protect your clients , Andrew Brookes, partner, Anthony Gold, James Parry, partner, Parry Welch Lacey LLP, Sarah Richardson, partner, Russell-Cooke
  • Private practice is not the only way - Alternative career paths within the law , Karen Braganza, senior counsel, Warner Bros, Major Andy Farquhar, Army Legal Services, Duncan Toole, regulatory enforcement and appeals lawyer, Ofsted
  • Developing an international career - Pathways to a career working abroad , Christina Jeong, associate, Norton Rose Fulbright, Raymond Xu, director, Cruickshanks Solicitors, Hui Zheng, counsel, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

The final session was delivered by Deborah Cobb, senior business psychologist at ETS, who guided attendees with an interactive soft skills session on how to give and receive feedback effectively. Deborah focused on the point that all feedback is good feedback and should never be taken negatively and directed delegates on how to manage negative feedback.

Throughout the day, we also heard from two JLD executive committee members who provided an overview of the work the JLD has been undertaking on behalf of its members since the last annual conference.

Bryan Scant, vice chair of the JLD then closed the day by thanking attendees and informing them of the upcoming Law Society Excellence Awards. The closing date for nominations is the 27 May and further details can be found on the Law Society website .

Later in the evening delegates returned to the Law Society for the JLD ball, an evening full of wonderful food, music, dancing and of course, the ever entertaining photo booth.

The JLD would like to pay thanks to our speakers, our sponsors TM Lewin and Wesleyan, all the organisations who donated prizes for the raffle in aid of the JLD’s chosen charities for this year - Help for Heroes - which raised £957 and the Law Society staff who made the event possible.

A huge thank you for to all delegates that attended, we hope that the annual conference and ball was both informative and enjoyable. We look forward to seeing you next year!

Amy Clowrey, JLD executive committee, 2016