CECJ Legal Speed Networking

8 May 2019, England

Law Society of England and Wales
113 Chancery Lane, London WC2A 1PL


CECJ Legal Speed Networking is a unique format of the events for the lawyers from all over the world which is focused on establishing business connections and discovering the opportunities for mutually beneficial future cooperation.

It was introduced by CECJ during the preparation work for the networking events in Moscow and Saint-Petersburg in June 2016. We expected to have some guests from the few European countries. However, we received the applications from the lawyers from (!)25 countries all over the world in Asia, Europe, North and South America. Each foreign applicant willing to come to Russia wanted to get acquainted with each and every Russian lawyer in person and discuss various opportunities for mutually beneficial business cooperation. We faced a rather difficult task back then. How to make the event interesting and useful for over 100 Russian lawyers and 70 foreign lawyers coming from 25 different countries and regions speaking different (sometimes, only native) languages? What should we do to make all the participants feel more comfortable and help them speak to each other directly?

A standard approach to make a business event happen (gather together in one big hall, open talks and business card exchanges) in such case wasn’t satisfying at all for several reasons:

  1. By default Russian mentality doesn’t allow to approach random people and be the first to say hello, to introduce oneself, to always say thanks, to switch attention frequently and to start speaking to the other guests… And do so the whole evening. It is quite common in America where the society has the absolutely different networking culture.
  2. An event with the Russian participants usually looks the following way. All the people start to mingle and form up small groups of talk. The whole communication goes within such randomly formed up small groups of people while such small groups do not tend to interact with each other.
  3. In such an environment only few mostly active, mostly skilled and open minded lawyers (those who can speak some English at least) spend these 3-4 hours effectively and get in touch with 20-25 lawyers in average out of 100 people present. And what a great fortune would it be to find among those 20-25 lawyers some common professional interests.
  4. At the same time an absolute majority of Russian lawyers in 3-4 hours given will hardly get acquainted with the 10% of the participating lawyers.
  5. What we usually have is that all the participants look for the opportunities to get acquainted with all the others. Everybody decided to attend the event with such an objective and has something to offer. The question is - how to make first contact? It often happens that the company arranging the event as well as all the participants play the so-called game of luck. The game where a winning bid is having a small chance that someone will approach you first and give you his/her business card. And that person will luckily be the one you would love to cooperate with, someone useful, or the other way around, you yourself will be lucky enough to approach someone like that and give him/her your business card.
  6. However, considering a long-term basis for communication a proper business card of a certain person in your pocket doesn’t guarantee a correct perception of that person in your memory afterwards. And the other way around, it doesn’t guarantee the correct perception of your personality by the others via your business card in years to come. Time passes by and newly received contacts may be forgotten. A regular business card (usually) doesn’t have your photo and doesn’t contain enough details about your services, and hardly has any traces of the last talk the people had with you.

We clearly knew all that and found it inadmissible in our event project.

  • Interactive format that will allow the participants to ascertain your professionalism and your assets very quickly. During 4 hours you will have a unique chance to meet Russian professionals interested in establishing direct contacts with foreign lawyers for future projects. You will be able to present your law firm, detailed information about which will also be available in the Directory of Foreign Lawyers.
  • Round tables enable all participants to get acquainted to one another, as well as to understand each other’s professional interests, specializations and strengths.
  • Meticulous preparatory work on the dossier for each participant that includes the analysis of their work experience and specializations to find the best Russianspeaking interlocutors for this Event.
  • Publication and distribution of a Directory that will be distributed within the lawyers from Russia, Ukraine and Kazakstan.
  1. 5-6 round tables with 5-6 lawyers from from England and 5-6 lawyers from Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine
  2. Change tables every 30 minutes.
  3. Each table is chaired by a moderator
  4. Each participant makes a brief presentation
  5. Throughout the event, the attendees will get information about each other, so that everyone will listen to one another in turns and hear each other’s answers to questions and learn about their respective specializations, professional experience, professional interests in relation to all the jurisdictions represented at the Event, so that cooperation possibilities with those lawyers were well-addressed and clear.
  6. Through a structured dossier of each participant and integration of all lawyers in the event, you will understand very quickly with whom you have the best opportunities to collaborate and will be able to discuss it separately at coffee breaks that are scheduled within every work session.
Therefore, we have set the following objectives:
  1. To help all the foreign lawyers (from 25 countries worldwide) to get personally acquainted with ALL the Russian lawyers;
  2. To provide the detailed information about each and every participant in some form of consolidated handouts;
  3. To give all the participants an opportunity to use various native languages and openly communicate with all the others. Make the participants feel more comfortable at our event and build up a better level of mutual understanding.

We have reviewed many options. Rather often we thought that we made a perfect picture, however, a certain element was still missing. We were changing this and that for many times, starting everything from scratch, over and over again, being very near to the perfect solution and… bumped again into a shortcoming. The forced compromise wasn’t something that we were ready to accept. We continued to dig it in order to find our own Perfect Solution. It was somewhere in the ground and we just needed more time and extra efforts to find it. And then a modern concept of speed dating (so popular in USA) came to our mind. We decided to apply some parts of that concept to our business events management.

We added the following elements to our business events:
  1. Round tables (with 8-12 people each max);
  2. An interpreter working at each table where different foreign languages are to be spoken;
  3. A screen projection with the clocks in the main hall counting down the minutes left. The time slot given to one session at every round table is 30-40 minutes. Once the time is out the session is over and the rotation process starts (the participants take the seats at the other tables);
  4. Inform all the participants that they have only 2 minutes to present themselves at each round table. Everyone should effectively use these minutes to introduce themselves to 8-12 lawyers sitting at the same table. Explain what exactly are you searching for at the event, what kind of projects and what legal areas are you interested in, which kind of business partners and which countries are you focused on? All the others can open relevant pages in the CECJ catalogue during your presentation and scan your CV. In case there is some time left (all the lawyers at the table have finished to present themselves in less than 30-40 minutes) the participants can openly discuss whatever they wish before the time runs out and the clock rings;
  5. Once the time of the session runs out the clock in the hall starts to ring. A clear signal to everyone indicating the end of one session. The administrator announces the start of the rotation process and tells the participants to switch the tables clockwise in order to start the next session;
  6. The rotation process goes till the moment when all the participants from Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan are acquainted with each and every foreign lawyer. The number of the sessions depends on the total number of the participants;
  7. A coffee-break between the sessions allows the participants to have some extra open discussions. The participants are free to use the services of the interpreters present at the event if necessary.
The results achieved:
  1. CECJ Legal Speed Networking proved to be very efficient. Hardly any other regular networking event could demonstrate even 20% of such efficiency;
  2. The fields of expertise of the lawyers participating in CECJ Legal Speed Networking are significantly wider than officially announced. The majority of the areas of legal practice correspond to potential interests of the clients from Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan;
  3. Establish first contacts in an easy way. Be forced to break the barriers. Be the pathfinder, speak up to the people, learn how to interrupt the people speaking. We know that it may be something very difficult to do for some people. All the lawyers participating in CECJ Legal Speed Networking - those who can easily get acquainted with the strangers as well as those who feel more comfortable when the others are the first to approach them - would be pleasantly surprised by the volubility of communication being created at our events;
  4. Each minute spent at our event becomes efficient;
  5. Our special glossy catalogue containing the CVs and the photos of all the participants helps to instantly and effectively establish new business contacts. It also guarantees that later on it would be easier to recollect the information about all the participants of the past event and find certain people you may suddenly be in need of;
  6. The connections you get at our event form up your personal professional resource. A solid number of international business contacts you can get during CECJ Legal Speed Networking are usually built in several years by the people having permanent life and work abroad. The clients in search of legal assistance would rather refer to you when they learn about your exclusive knowledge, useful skills and international contacts in various cities and countries.

It is extremely difficult to arrange such an international event. You need to find a proper venue and an equipment. You need to find highly qualified interpreters. You need to find the supervisors to keep the track of time. You need to collect and consolidate all the information about the participants, make it intelligible. You need to select only those foreign lawyers who are truly interested in business cooperation and can fully share their professional experience (not just any lawyers in the country where the event takes place). You need to react immediately and look for the solution in case the actual number of the participants doesn’t correspond to the officially registered number. You need to reconfigure the whole scheme of the seats and all the round tables in seconds in order to keep the rotation system working smoothly and avoid any unnecessary waste of valuable time of the participants. This is truly a challenge. However, the result that we achieve at the end of the day and the feedback and the words of thanks that we receive from the participants motivate us to proudly go through all these obstacles!

We manage to solve an uneasy puzzle: involve each and every participant in an active and interesting networking process during our events and make them feel more comfortable and their time useful.

The reaction of the participants and their emotions are well seen on our photos as well as in our video footage demonstrating open discussions and sincere interest. The feedback that we receive from the participants is full of words of thanks for such a useful and convenient format for business networking.

CECJ Legal Speed Networking has an international dimension. It makes our events unique and unlike any other legal events in the world. You are welcome to take part in our events uncovering new professional opportunities for growth!

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In order to participate in CECJ Legal Speed Networking in London it is necessary to fill in the registration form on our website. After receiving an e-letter confirming your registration you will be provided with all additional information.

All questions can be addressed to info@cecj.co

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