Celebrate

2017 Winners - Business Development: Event Management

First Place

DLA Piper

DLA Piper Global Technology Summit

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Summary: DLA Piper wanted to host a signature event to build greater brand awareness and reputation for DLA Piper’s Technology Sector while helping partners forge stronger relationships and drive new business from both current clients and new business prospects. The central challenge was creating an event that was appealing to two very different segments of the firm’s client base: inside counsel and legal “buy” decision makers from large public companies; and C-level executives from emerging growth technology companies and investors in the space. The firm developed a single signature event with the theme, “At the Intersection of Business, Law and Technology,” to target two different audiences over the course of two days and showcase the firm’s core legal offerings for technology companies. Day one, titled Garage2Global, was dedicated to providing entrepreneurs, emerging-technology professionals and investors from all stages of the investment community insights into the legal and business foundations needed to drive sustainable growth and take companies from "garage to global." Day Two, titled TechLaw, was dedicated to providing in-house counsel and leaders from technology companies updates on the latest trends impacting legal departments.

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The objective was to build greater brand awareness and reputation for DLA Piper’s Technology Sector while helping partners forge stronger relationships and drive new business from both current clients and new business prospects. The central challenge was creating an event that was appealing to two very different segments of the firm’s client base: inside counsel and legal “buy” decision makers from large public companies; and C-level executives from emerging growth technology companies and investors in the space. To address these objectives and challenges, DLA Piper created a single signature event, targeting two different audiences over the course of two days and designed to build greater brand awareness and external attendance among a broader audience.

The theme, “At the Intersection of Business, Law & Technology,” showcased the firm’s core legal offerings for technology companies. Day One was dedicated to providing entrepreneurs, emerging-technology professionals and investors from all stages of the investment community insights into the legal and business foundations needed to drive sustainable growth and take companies from "garage to global." The second day was dedicated to providing in-house counsel and leaders from technology companies updates on the latest trends impacting legal departments. They promoted the event with a full digital campaign via a responsive website www.dlapipertechsummit.com, a signature hashtag (#DLAPiperTech16), and a steady stream of posts to Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook & Instagram, including targeted social media pieces, keynote speaker announcements and summit Q&As. DLA Piper attendees were briefed on the background of registered guests and potential opportunities with key clients before the event.

There were 455 attendees, a 46 percent increase from the 2014 event. The event was well attended by the firm’s desired target audience, which included individuals who make the legal hiring decisions. Day One had 93 percent of attendees in the firm’s target audience (41 percent SVP/Director/Department Head, 39% C-level, 13% In-house legal). Thirty-six percent were clients. Day Two had 94 percent of attendees in the firm’s target audience (68 percent in-house legal, 34 percent SVP/Director/Department Head, 19 percent C- level). Fifty-two percent were clients. The firm has already opened new matters for attending entities, and the event generated many new business relationships for DLA Piper. The firm was also able to leverage new speaking and writing opportunities for its attorneys. Its social media promotion throughout the lifecycle of the event included 189 posts published across all social media channels, resulting in 785 engagements, 255 shares, 522 likes and 692 clicks, reaching 3.4 million people to help build greater brand awareness and reputation for DLA Piper’s Technology Sector.

This is a great example of how to create a value-added event that provides insight on important legal issues for clients in the technology community. DLA Piper evaluated a previous event to pinpoint what was and was not working, then made the necessary adjustments to create something new of true value. When all was said and done, the firm generated more interest, attendance and satisfaction from attendees than in any of its prior summits.


Second Place

Baker & Hostetler LLP

BakerHostetler Labor and Employment Master Classes

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Summary:  Since 2014, BakerHostetler has hosted an annual, three-city “master class” series to discuss trending issues in labor and employment law. The primary objective of the series is to attract new clients, while also providing valuable information to and cementing relationships with existing clients by creating awareness of our strong capabilities in labor and employment. Each series offers attendees a choice of six hour-long classes to attend (out of 12 offered), which are taught by BakerHostetler lawyers with particular strength and subject matter expertise in that area. While geared toward companies that have unionized workforces, the classes cover a wide range of employment topics, including wage and hour matters, social media and the NLRB, conducting workplace investigations, ACA compliance, and more. We look outside the box of typical legal marketing initiatives to promote the event via social media and seek out the email contact lists of applicable interest groups.

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With the primary goal of attracting new clients, Baker & Hostetler created specific benchmark goals to

  • Increase attendance by 20 percent
  • Attract at least 30 percent non-client attendees
  • Gain business from non-client attendees

To accomplish all goals, the firm

  • Branded the series as a multicity, multiyear event, with a visual identity incorporating the firm’s branding and messaging
  • Hosted the event in three different cities
  • Launched social media campaigns on Twitter and LinkedIn to promote the event to a wider audience, with easy-to-access links to class topics
  • Obtained current mailing lists of key interest groups through the NLRB and other trade associations
  • Promoted the event using testimonials from past attendees
  • Launched a vigorous internal promotion campaign, especially to lawyers with clients that do not use the firm for labor and employment matters. Because of the sensitive nature of the discussions at the event, the firm did not invite the media.

Each year, several months prior to the first master class, BakerHostetler discusses topics to be offered at the seminar based on the issues that are top-of-mind for most businesses. The firm consults with most of its 80-plus labor and employment attorneys to determine topics of utmost interest to existing clients and potential new clients. After the subjects, dates and locations of the master class sessions are chosen, the firm undertakes the process of assembling teams of firm attorneys to lead each class. Two attorneys are designated for each of the 12 classes, which requires selecting a diverse group of 10 to 15 lawyers from the firm’s labor and employment team and other practice areas in the firm, including tax, data privacy and litigation. Finally, BakerHostetler spends at least eight weeks vigorously promoting the event. We promote each seminar as a series of three — rather than single events — so we can extract more use from our promotional materials while showcasing our national, multijurisdictional presence.


Third Place

EVERSHEDS SUTHERLAND (US) LLP

Emerging Leaders Program

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Summary: Sutherland’s Emerging Leader Program is an associate-led business development initiative to engage with the emerging leaders across the firm’s entire client base. The program includes networking events; small, industry-specific roundtables/events; and educational programs to benefit the emerging leaders in this industry. Since launching the initiative in July 2015, Sutherland has executed 10 events and programs. The initiative’s four goals are part of a culture shift, which cannot happen overnight. However, the firm has made significant progress against each one of these goals since initiating this program in July 2015. Slowly it is changing the culture among the associates to one of empowerment as it relates to client development. 

Most firms focus their business development team on the firm's partners and the associates get little attention. Sutherland is innovative in its approach to invest in the future firm leaders and clients. This is a long-term play. It will take time to reveal results in terms of revenue. But the firm believes that investing in the emerging leaders is the right thing to do for its clients, associates and the future of the firm.

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In evaluating its business development culture, Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan identified a significant gap in the level of engagement among attorneys at the more junior stages of their careers. The firm then set out to empower its associates to cultivate client relationships through a series of “Emerging Leader” events. The Emerging Leader Program set out to deepen relationships across all levels of its clients’ organizations; develop a strong foundation of relationship cultivation skills at the most junior levels; instill a sense of empowerment and ownership in driving business development efforts among the associates; and provide leadership opportunities to associates, both internally and externally.

Sutherland, Asbill & Brennan has hosted the following Emerging Leader networking events:

  • Real Estate Emerging Leader event – 8/2015
  • Atlanta Office Emerging Leader event – 9/2015
  • Real Estate Emerging Leader event – 6/2016
  • Atlanta Office Emerging Leader event – 9/2016
  • New York Office Emerging Leader event – 11/016

The firm has hosted the following Emerging Leader training programs:

  • Putting the ‘Work’ in Networking – Live in Atlanta / DC and broadcast through video to other offices – 8/2015
  • Emerging Leader in House Panel, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now…” – Live in Atlanta and broadcast through video to all other offices – 9/2016

Sutherland associates have initiated the following additional client events:

  • Women in IP dinners in 2015 and 2016
  • Women in Timber breakfasts at the Who Will Own the Forest? Conference in 2015 and 2016
  • Atlanta Sutherland Women Attorneys Group Client Holiday Reception in 12/2016 (led by associates but all women attorneys participating)

In evaluating the firm’s results as described under each of the four goals highlighted above, it became clear that Sutherland’s business development culture is shifting to be one that is more client-oriented, inclusive of attorneys at all levels, empowering and encouraging of the next generation of leaders.

What Points to Success?

  • Associate leaders are taking the lead in moving the program forward
  • Partners completely support the program and recognize the value
  • Groups of associates are coming together to launch events specific to their area of practice or industry
  • They attract more participation internally and externally each year (see attendee statistics below)
  • There’s a buzz about the events in Atlanta — one of the firm’s competitors held an emerging leader event for its clients in Atlanta this fall

Attendance Statistics:

  • Real Estate Emerging Leader events: 2015 – 12 attendees; 2016 – 28 attendees
  • Atlanta Office Emerging Leader events: 2015 – 22 attendees; 2016 - 50 attendees

Outlined below is the firm’s progress against each goal:

  • Deepen relationships across all levels of the firm’s clients’ organizations – On goal 1 the firm has pushed its associates to be more outwardly focused and invite their clients, contacts and law school classmates to the firm’s Emerging Leader events. They have taken ownership and made these events successful. Into the firm’s second year of this initiative, it now has momentum.
  • Develop a strong foundation of relationship cultivation skills at the most junior levels – Prior to launching the firm’s first Atlanta office-wide Emerging Leader event, it conducted a networking training program that concluded with a “mock networking” event. It sounds unnecessary, but it really helped the firm’s more introverted attorneys get comfortable with introducing themselves and identifying good topics of conversation in preparation for the event.
  • Develop a sense of empowerment and ownership in driving business development efforts among the associates – The associates determine when to hold the Emerging Leader event, the format and venue of the event, as well as who to invite. The decision-making is in their hands, and that leads to ownership on their part. In addition to the five Emerging Leader events hosted since August 2015, associates have taken the initiative to host the following:
    • Women in IP dinners in 2015 and 2016
    • Women in Timber breakfasts at the annual Who Will Own the Forest? Conference in 2015 and 2016
    • Atlanta Sutherland Women Attorneys Group Client Holiday Reception in December 2016 (conceived by and led by associates but women attorneys of all levels were invited to participate)
    • Emerging Leader In-House Counsel Panel, “If I Knew Then What I Know Now…” in August 2016
    • Provide leadership opportunities to the firm’s associates both internally and externally – As the decision-making is in their hands, the associates are leading these efforts. This program has allowed firm associate leaders to surface and shine. The initiatives described under the third goal really illustrate the leadership that has been developed through this program. All of the events highlighted under goal 3 were conceived, designed, organized and led by associate leaders.