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US coastal meetings bring members together to share, collaborate and learn about Alliott Group

Strong turnouts at the 2019 East and West Coast meetings resulted in highly collaborative and immersive sessions in Sacramento and Boston.

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53 members from across the US and Canada attended the alliance’s US East and West Coast meetings last month held firstly in Sacramento, CA and then a few days later in Boston, MA.

Both meetings drew a crowd of partners and future leaders who do not typically attend Alliott Group events but who were curious to meet colleagues from their side of North America and to meet Alliott Group’s leadership team.

In both cities, COO Giles Brake and Head of Business Development Damien McMenamin led sessions that explained the purpose of the alliance and how members can get more value in terms of not only potential referrals in and out of their firms, but also the exchange of information and best practice, educational benefits, staff exchanges and the formation of a non-competitive peer group that would benefit their careers. Case studies were shared and more senior members explained how alliance membership contributes to the growth of their firms, their clients and the careers of their staff.

John Jones discusses what keeps delegates awake at night!

An update on firm niches

It was not just the Executive Office staff doing all the talking. Delegates all had the opportunity to give a presentation on their firms, including on their niches and what makes them different. Some real gems were uncovered on the West Coast including Santa Rosa lawyers Carle Mackie Power & Ross who shared more information about their niche in trademark law, with partner John Dawson commenting: “Trademarks are now more valuable than ever. US rules are probably the most substantive and difficult to manage and basic errors of judgment have been made in the past.” John explained that the firm has been involved in a significant number of trademark matters for domestic and foreign companies, notably in California’s wine and food and beverage space.

Former Alliott Group Board member Dave Wilson (Grant Bennett Associates, Sacramento) advised the younger professionals in the room to “get a niche” and to “get active in an association so that you become an expert.” Citing his own expertise with title companies, Dave added “Companies in the title and escrow industry have to be audited. We became experts and this has been a lucrative niche for us.”

At the East Coast meeting, Walter & Shuffain’s Eric Gashin explained that 40% of their business comes from involvement in real estate, mostly in the New England area, but also across the US and globally, while Warren Goldenberg of Hahn Loeser & Parks updated the group on the services he provides to emerging growth tech companies, even acting as part-time interim CEO when needed. Meanwhile, Mike Blanski of Graff Ballauer & Blanski discussed his firm’s experience in working with professional trade associations, adding that this enabled them to meet many business owners.

Isabelle Pare discusses the niche services available from Hardy Normand et Associes in Montreal

Member led sessions

On the West Coast, John Jones of Linkenheimer (Santa Rosa, CA) facilitated a very well received discussion forum on what keeps partners and future leaders awake at night, with subjects including retention of staff at senior supervisor level, hiring high quality candidates and the difficulties in  performance measurement. This was followed by a fascinating presentation from Ron Klein of CAMICO who had everyone on the edge of their seats when he spoke about how to reduce malpractice risk exposure. 

Over on the East Coast, the meeting closed with a panel on trends and issues in M&A transactions which was led by Jeff Berger, Chair of the North America region. Panel members from Farkouh, Furman & Faccio, Walter & Shuffain, Hahn Loeser & Parks, Golenbock Eiseman and SobelCo all demonstrated the sophisticated level of M&A expertise that is available within the alliance to members and their clients around the world needing advice in the US.

Alliott Group discuss M&A during a panel session led by Jeffrey Berger

Meeting feedback

Both meetings scored an average satisfaction rating of over 4 out of 5 from attendees, with feedback including:

“A great introduction for my colleagues to the present and future of Alliott, and a nice summary for me about current developments.”

“I thought the condensed meeting was an excellent way to get the West Coast firms together. I would be in favor of more of these.”

Giles Brake, COO, commented: “I would like to thank all those who attended and our North America Advisory Committee whose members collaborated with us to put these meetings together. We have received useful feedback which indicates the meetings were enjoyed by our attendees from both sides of the North American continent. We will now explore the ideas shared in the post-event survey to ensure these events are even better next year.”