Move over legal conferences, legal festivals is where it's at

3 Mins Read

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Last updated: July 22, 2022

LOD's Legal Service Lead, Caroline Slettengren has been converted to the new age of legal conferences after attending the very first Crafty Fest.

When I was asked to go to a legal conference to talk about the SQE and LOD Trainee, it was not the concept of a legal conference which made me immediately say “Yes, of course, I would love to.” In my view (or at least it was then), legal conferences are dull affairs, usually executed with zero commercial or human flare.

The reason why I wanted to go to Crafty Fest in Regents Park was so that I could be part of the conversation surrounding the SQE. It was a fantastic opportunity to chat about the new way of qualifying as a solicitor in England and Wales. But as it turns out it was also an inspiring day all round.

The sun was shining, the setting was beautiful and the relaxed and approachable atmosphere which had been evoked by the Crafty Fest team made us legal folk get into the prescribed festival spirit with complete ease. I spent the day chatting to likeminded lawyers and legal service providers about how to do things differently and listening to some excellent talks. To see people IRL after so long being locked up, of course, added to the excitement.

I was on the panel to discuss the topic of 'Unlocking Talent From Within.' Whilst we faced some challenging questions, it was so special to be part of the SQE conversation. People, lawyers especially, do not like change. But it was obvious from the audience that many were understandably worried about the concept of having an in-house trainee system.

In-house lawyers are busy, juggling too many balls. So it was no surprise that many in the audience struggled to see how they were meant to find time to upskill, mentor and support a budding lawyer. Having spent the majority of my legal career in-house, I could see this.

So that is why I am so very excited to be part of developing the LOD Trainee programme.  Not only as I believe the SQE breaks down antiquated barriers of entry into the legal system. But also, because the SQE gives the in-house legal industry an enormous opportunity to mould, train and nurture the next generation of the in-house lawyer. With LOD Trainee, in-house legal departments can reap the benefits of this without having to manage, train, mentor or manage their junior talent as this is done by LOD.

It was also fascinating and inspiring to hear the views of my co-panellists, Natalie Salunke and Lucie Allen, as they gave excellent insights into why the SQE is the best thing to happen to the legal industry in our lifetime. That is why I loved being part of the SQE conversation at Crafty Fest.

Ok, so I had fun, a lot of fun.  I am a legal conference convert.

Thank you Crafty Fest!