Ex-senior partner of law summit sponsor Allen & Overy admits regret that ticket price ruled out students

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By Alex Aldridge on

Over 50s discuss the future of law without a young person in sight


The ex-chief of the global law firm that is “lead sponsor” of the Global Law Summit has revealed his disappointment at the £1,750 per head ticket prices for the event.

Guy Beringer, who led Allen & Overy from 2000-2008, appeared yesterday at a panel session about the future of the legal profession at the controversial event, alongside the firm’s current senior partner David Morley and author Professor Richard Susskind.

During the chat between the trio of baby boomers, Morley reflected on the “absolute explosion of opportunity for young people entering the law”.

Unfortunately, the huge cost of entry to the event meant that not a single young person hoping to enter the law was there to hear his words.

To Beringer’s credit he acknowledged the problem, stating in comments reported by delegates on Twitter:

“The future of the legal profession isn’t us … Sadly the ticket price meant that a lot of students couldn’t be here.”

The show of dissent towards the tightly-controlled event by such a high profile figure is an embarrassment for the government, which is the driving force behind the summit. When contacted by Legal Cheek yesterday, the Ministry of Justice declined to comment, referring us to FTI Consulting, the contractors which are handling communications for the event.

A spokesperson for FTI said:

“The ticket rates are industry standard for an event of this length, quality and breadth of first class speakers and delegates which include Ministers, Attorney Generals, business leaders, legal experts, and NGOs from across the globe.”

Allen & Overy, meanwhile, declined to issue a response, while Beringer did not respond to Legal Cheek‘s request for an elaboration on his words.

However, Professor Susskind, who wasn’t speaking from notes, took the trouble to summarise the gist of his talk to us:

“Key messages — law students are often surprisingly conservative and react to my stuff by saying ‘Why did nobody tell us?’ The future of law is not Grisham, Rumpole, or Suits. It is technology, new ways of sourcing work, new competitors, diversification (eg. law firms offering consulting), online dispute resolution, Big Data, AI. Our law schools need to take the future seriously. We need them to produce 21st and not 20th century lawyers.”