Every PLL Summit has been a success but the  4th Annual PLL Summit, SOS: Shaping Our Success, which was held on July 13th in Seattle,  set a new standard of excellence by all accounts. Due to a combination of jetlag and computer problems, I was unable to write my normal nocturnal dispaces.  As my daughter likes to say, “God made midnight, so Mom could write.”

So I will begin, a week late, to report on the panels, the personalities and the punditry. BloombergBNA hosted the opening reception Friday evening and provided an opportunity for attendees to meet the “celebrity” guest speakers, the sponsors and network with each other.

Jean O’Grady and Bruce MacEwen
(c. Bess Reynolds)

Growth is Dead Now What?

The Summit,, kicked off with an extraordinary presentation by the lawyer, economist, consultant,  Bruce MacEwen, aka Adam Smith Esq.  He is a wizard with charts and data and kept everyone riveted with diagnostics, precautions and predictions for the future of law firms.

 Lean Up! Finding and Seizing Opportunities for Growth”

Bruce MacEwen opened his presentation by stating that the recession had given law firms permission to talk about things that could never be discussed before. We continued discussing “the unspeakable” in the Lean Up Panel. I set the stage with data and trend analysis. Lawyer and consultant Victoria Pynchon,  was both provocative and entertaining in asking us to “reframe” our careers. Bob Oaks and Bill Scarbrough provided insights into the opportunities they created or seized on their way to the C-Suite. Joan Axelroth moderated and provided questions to the panel.

Lunch With “Above the Law”  or How did  a Nice Harvard/Yale Grad Like You End Up Starting “Above the Law?”

Victoria Pynchon and David Lat
(c. Bess Reynolds)

Picture this: David Lat, Assistant Attorney General in Newark meeting with his former boss New Jersey Governor Chris Christie when Christie was Attorney General, in the days after Lat “outed himself” as the author of  a controversial blog. Convinced that his identity was about to be “uncovered,” Lat agreed to be interviewed by Jeffery Toobin for an article in the New Yorker.  Before there was “Above the Law” there was  “Underneath Their Robes”  judicial snark-fest written by  David’s female doppelganger “Article 3 Groupie.”  David  provided a wonderful history of how he developed “Above the Law”  and how it evolved from being every CMO’s nightmare into being an almost mainstream communication channel which now receives advance copies of things like bonus memos from Big Law PR departments.

Afternoon Tracks. Branding, Social Media

The worst thing about tracks is having to choose between “hot topics.” No matter which one’s you pick you are always sure you missed something important and this time it would have been true.

Kathy Skinner and several of her colleagues from Morrison and Foerster provided recaps of the afternoon sessions.

Thanks to the generous sponsorship of Thomson Reuters, LexisNexis, WoltersKluwer, BloombergLaw/Bloomberg BNA and Fastcase.

Summit V Lives

The Summit will continue in 2014. Joan Axelroth and I will step down as co-chairs. Marcia Burris and Cheryl Nemeier will co-chair Summit V.