The AGM of the CIArb London Branch took place on 20th April 2022 and was followed by the Keynote Address given by Christina Blacklaws.
Posted 22nd Apr, 2022
The 32nd Annual General Meeting of the CIArb London Branch took place on 20th April 2022 in person at the Oxford and Cambridge Club in Pall Mall. The AGM was well attended and the 1% quorum was easily reached. Ben Giaretta, the outgoing Chair, reported the the branch held 22 events over the past year, including 11 webinars, 5 hybrid seminars (in-person and online), 3 in-person seminars and 3 workshops. A great range of topics was covered by 89 speakers. Technology played a key role not only using technology to host events but also the topics covered from cybersecurity, crypto assets and remote and hybrid hearings. The branch created a new website thanks to the hard work of Gill Mansfield and Natalia Otlinger. Mr. Giaretta thanked all the Committee Members and bid farewell to the retiring committee members Abigail Day, Kim Franklin QC, and James Clanchy at the end of their terms as well as thanking Paul Rose for his long and committed service to the branch. He will now leave the committee as immediate past Chair as Ben Giaretta will take that position now as his term has also come to an end. The new officers will be elected on 27th April 2022 by the committee. Everyone thanked Ben Giaretta for his outstanding chairmanship and expressed gratitude for leading the branch through the pandemic not despairing but thriving and achieving greatness.
The AGM was followed by the keynote address given by Christina Blacklaws on the topic about ‘The impact of legal technology on legal services’. Mrs Blacklaws highlighted that technology plays a key role in legal matters now and in future. It was very encouraging to see that the UK is the leader in Europe when it comes to law tech. It holds 44% of the lawtech ecosystem which is outgrowing fintech and health tech. Cyber security is a risk and a major driver of lawtech. 77% of employers and employees say they require training however so far only 3% have received it. This is a gap that needs addressing. Mrs. Balcklaws highlighted that one of the obstacles to overcome is the “billing by the hour” remuneration system. THe other obstacle is that the legal department and the IT department are seen as cost centres. Key to success are the right leaders in place, training for staff and empowering people to work in new ways and last but not least to upgrade day to day tools regularly according to Mrs. Blacklaws. She pointed out that nowadays lawyers are data controllers and data collectors. Calculated risk taking is necessary in order to be able to focus on clients. An enlightening figure mentioned in her speech was that Covid has accelerated the focus and investment in law tech by 3 to 5 years. The audience enjoyed listening to Mrs. Blacklaws educating everyone on how important lawtech is and that it will not go away. At the networking reception at the end people exchanged views on their own experience and on how much they appreciated the topic and keynote address.