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The 22nd Annual Law Firm COO & CFO Forum

Nov 02 - 03, 2023

In November 2023, the Thomson Reuters Institute is proud to present the 22nd Annual Law Firm COO & CFO Forum in the heart of Washington, D.C. The premier (inter)national summit for eponymous title holders and their executive peers, our program continues its storied tradition of comprehensive professional education and networking opportunities for the Am Law 200 and beyond. Please join us for our maiden voyage to the District of Columbia.

Our 2023 program consists of the following:

Pre-Conference Workshop (11/1)
The 2023 Law Firm Financial Performance Forum 

This half-day workshop offers an interactive setting for law firm executives to engage peers in discussion and debate.

Wednesday Welcome Dinner (11/1)

Join us for a festive evening at RPM Italian DC, located in the Mount Vernon neighborhood mere blocks from our conference venue. RPM Italian offers a modern and stylish approach to classic Italian fare featuring homemade pastas and contemporary flair. Seating is limited to the first 75 registered law firm guests.

The 22nd Annual Law Firm COO & CFO Forum (11/2 – 11/3)

Please join us for our day-and-a-half program devoted to key trends and developments impacting the business of law.


Sign up today!  Online registration now available.

Event Details

Washington, DC

$2395 USD (Law Firm Attendees)

For questions about this event, please call 1-800-308-1700, extension 1 or email us at

Why You Should Attend

  • The Law Firm COO & CFO Forum is the premier gathering of eponymous title holders and their executive brethren across the Am Law 200.
  • Our forum addresses key developments and trends impacting the business of law.
  • Our content offers robust, substantive, and unequaled insights into the state of the North American legal market.
  • Conference attendees are able to network and engage with colleagues throughout three days of (in)formal dialogue and debate.
  • As a takeaway, attendees can expect practical advice for improving one's productivity and anticipating firm needs in 2024 and beyond.

Who Should Attend

  • Law Firm Chief Operating Officers
  • Law Firm Chief Financial Officers
  • Law Firm Executive Directors
  • Law Firm Directors of Finance
  • Law Firm Directors of Operations

Chair(s) and Faculty

Chair(s) Faculty
James W. Jones
Senior Fellow, Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession, Georgetown University Law Center
Gretta Rusanow
Head of Advisory Services, Law Firm Group, Citi Private Bank
Jeffrey Connor
Chief Financial Officer, McGuireWoods LLP
James W. Jones
Senior Fellow, Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession, Georgetown University Law Center
Gretta Rusanow
Head of Advisory Services, Law Firm Group, Citi Private Bank

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Event agenda

(all times local)

Thursday November 02, 2023

8:00 AM - 9:00 AM ET Breakfast and Registration
9:00 AM - 9:15 AM ET Opening Remarks
9:15 AM - 10:45 AM ET Of Mountains and Valleys: The State of the US Legal Market

On a cautious descent from the prosperous peaks of the past few years, the legal market seems to be settling back into a timid yet resilient pace. Declining demand enjoined with record-low productivity have created crevices in profitability. Posed against rising expenses and the impact of inflation on rates, is the industry now facing unfavorable conditions in its trek through the tumultuous economy?  If so, how long should law firms expect such conditions to last? Join us for our annual, data-driven examination of the threats and opportunities impacting the legal landscape.


James Jones, Senior Fellow, Center on Ethics and the Legal Profession, Georgetown University Law Center
Gretta Rusanow, Head of Advisory Services, Law Firm Group, Citi Private Bank

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM ET Morning Break
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM ET Thursday Keynote Panel - “Oh, What Tangled Webs…”: Instability on the World’s Political Stage

In the early morning hours of February 24, 2022, Russian forces attacked the sovereign nation of Ukraine.  Initial analyses anticipated a fateful and abrupt end to the attack given the imbalance of resources between the nations, but more than a year later, Ukrainians, along with their NATO supporters, remain dedicated to the fight for their free nation. Mixed with the embers of the pandemic, a sustained strain on supply chains and rising global inflation, the attack has fractured the delicate mantle of international accord.  Join us as we welcome a panel comprised of political journalists and analysts in a conversation around the on-going conflict in the region and the potential effects on the business landscape resulting from new political tensions between the world’s more influential nation-states.

12:00 PM - 1:00 PM ET Networking Luncheon
1:00 PM - 2:15 PM ET Breakout Sessions

In these facilitated breakouts, Forum participants will have the opportunity to share practical ideas with leading firms and industry peers.

Breakout #1: Winding Vines of Ivy: Exploring Trends in Continued Partnership Growth (Breakout)

Though costs are rising, and business opportunities have been squeezed, the competition for top talent continues to entwine itself around the legal industry.  Per the Citi Law Firm Leaders Survey, firms have reported the anticipation of growth among their equity partners, which marks a shift from years past. Such growth is expected primarily via internal promotions with lateral moves coming in a close second. These trends might be attributed to the ability of making more informed hiring decisions or an increased focus on the integration of laterals. Yet is it possible that this is simply a ‘catch up’ from promotions paused during the pandemic? Is growth being seen in non-equity positions as well? What will this ultimately mean for firm budgets should a predicted recession come to fruition?

Breakout #2: The Forest Through the Trees: Navigating Data Privacy Regulation Changes (Breakout)

California’s consumer protection law went into full effect on January 1st with other states following suit in the enactment of their own protections. With the US Congress’ consideration of the American Data Privacy and Protection Act last year and expectations that a bill will be passed soon, a national mandate on data privacy could be on the horizon. Given the rise in cyberattacks in the legal industry, increased privacy investigation continues to weigh heavily on law firms. Under such mounting pressure, how are firms reacting to increased regulation in this space? Given that domestic changes to data privacy fall alongside those already mandated by the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), what additional actions are firms pursuing to balance regulatory pressures from two differing fronts? Join us in a discussion about the evolving changes within privacy regulation and ensuing effects for law firms.

Breakout #3: A Climate Changed: Exploring Improvements in Billing and Collections (Breakout)

According to TR’s Financial Insights, though they had made steady progress upwards, realization rates have either leveled or dropped in different areas of the market over the last year. In a related observation, the Citi Hildebrandt Client Advisory found that collection cycles have lengthened by 3.7%, due, in part, to client payment delays. Though some firms are falling back into pre-pandemic billing and collections behaviors, others are exploring potential improvements such as increased headcounts in billing and collection staff or inviting progress payments from clients to boost realization numbers. Join us as our expert faculty discuss improvements being made in billing and collection efforts, how new AI tools may make things better (or worse) for firms when it comes to pricing pressures and explore other ways firms are focusing on boosting realization rates.

2:15 PM - 2:30 PM ET Break
2:30 PM - 3:30 PM ET River Deep, Mountain High: Navigating Strategic Pathways to “Future Proofing” Law Firms

In between the rocky heights of an unstable geopolitical stage and uninhibited economy, law firms are riding in a river canyon of rapid changes, all while navigating swells of unbridled technological growth and ever-evolving workforce trends. While smaller firms found themselves in smoother currents, larger firms found it more difficult to navigate their titan-sized operations around the rocky waters of the past few years. Given the continued swift shifts in the industry currents, should firms be looking towards the shore of specific strategies like focusing on specialization, hiring highly skilled staff, reducing office spaces and retooling technology or would it be wiser to immediately insulate their vessels from unseen economic undercurrents? Join us in a strategy-focused discussion on balancing current issues of urgency alongside the greater goal of ‘future proofing’ one’s organization.

3:30 PM - 3:45 PM ET Break
3:45 PM - 5:00 PM ET Breakout Sessions

Please join us for three simultaneous roundtables intended to foster robust conversation among attendees.

Breakout #1: The Money Tree: Investments in Professional Talent Development (Breakout)

For the past several years, the competition to attract top legal talent has been nothing short of fierce.  Law firms have been forced to adopt costly and creative methods in attracting laterals and associates to the firm, but what changes, if any, are being employed around law firm staff? The 2023 State of Legal Market Report noted a decline in total number of staff positions, an increase in the total cost of professional staff and an increase in cost per staff, suggesting that firms may be cutting support staff to invest in those with targeted skills. Given such shifts, what roles are firms targeting for new hires and how are firms approaching investments in professional talent development, especially if they are elevating staff to new roles from within? In what ways, if any, are these investments expected to save firms money in the long run? Join us in an exploration of hiring trends and talent development focused on professional staff, aimed at creating greater efficiency for the firm.

Breakout #2: The New Temperature of a Cold War: Cybersecurity Concerns in Turbulent Times (Breakout)

Cybersecurity has been a top priority for law firm C-suite officers for some time, but such threats constantly evolve. Fraud tactics have become more sophisticated and are targeting sensitive areas, such as payment systems, with more fervor than ever. Given the polarized geopolitical stage, analysts warn of the possibility of increased threats such as cyber espionage, but in what ways, if any, are new threats expected to target law firms specifically? Join us as we welcome C-suite leadership and cybersecurity experts in a frank discussion around the current landscape of potential threats within the legal industry.

Breakout #3: Shifting Glaciers: Exploring the Increasing Trend of Pay Transparency Laws (Breakout)

In 2019, Colorado required employers to make a “reasonable effort” to disclose salary for position openings.  Since then, major US legal sectors like New York and California, as well as Connecticut, Maryland, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Washington have followed suit.  Several cities have also passed similar mandates which signal the potential for a snowball effect, prompting further adoption by other cities and states. The European Union is also considering similar regulations. As the frequency of these laws begin to mount, it begs the question, how are law firms adopting their operational and fiscal policies to adhere to these changes? What wider repercussions are these laws expected to have for law firms who have staff both within and outside of areas of regulation?

5:00 PM - 6:00 PM ET Thursday Night Reception

Please join us for cocktails and canapés as we wrap up the day’s proceedings.

Friday November 03, 2023

8:30 AM - 9:30 AM ET Partner Talks & Breakfast

Please join us for consecutive 12-minute presentations designed for law firm executives.


9:30 AM - 9:45 AM ET Break
9:45 AM - 10:45 AM ET Neural Networking: The Growing Influence of Artificial Intelligence in Law Firms

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been on the horizon for several years, but with the wider trial of Chat GPT, almost everyone with a connection to the internet can now utilize it.  Though developers note that the technology is still in its infancy, most are saying that we should expect AI solutions to fall alongside everyday tech like search engines in matter of months (not years). However, some firms have already flagged security and ethical concerns over using AI tools on client matters. Given the frustrations of on-going fits and starts within legal tech and challenges to compete for top tech talent with the rest of the market, is the legal industry ready and willing to adopt AI, especially as its presence becomes more pervasive within current industry tools?   If so, how are firms utilizing the technology and where do considerations such as the crossroads between ethical use and implementation meet?

10:45 AM - 11:00 AM ET Break
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM ET Winds of Change: Exploring the Continued Evolution of a ‘New Normal’ Legal Workforce

Earlier this year, the Biden Administration ended federal emergency pandemic supports, signaling an unofficial ‘return to normal’ in the US. Yet the very definition of ‘normal’ has been vastly altered by the pandemic. Two years later the legal industry, like others, is still trying to navigate issues of security and space alongside cultural changes and new client needs, continues to grapple with challenges inherent to new ways of working. With the pressure to mentor and train associates, create collaborative client teams and remain attentive to work/life balance, firms still find themselves navigating employee relation roads never traveled. Join our expert faculty as they explore issues and solutions of human capital management in a continuously evolving ‘new’ workplace.

12:00 PM ET Closing Remarks

Conrad Washington, DC

950 New York Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20001

The Thomson Reuters Institute has secured a room block at the Conrad Washington, DC at a negotiated rate of $449/night plus taxes for the dates of Tuesday, October 31, 2023 through Friday, November 3, 2023. Guest may secure their room online through the following link:

Online Reservations

Please be advised, the room block cutoff date is October 11, 2023.

Room requests received after October 11 are not guaranteed our discounted rate. A deposit of one (1) night’s stay is required to hold each reservation. Guests who depart earlier than their reserved checkout date will be billed an early checkout fee equal to one night’s room and tax at the room block rate.

All rooms are subject to availability.

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