Disputes Day

2024 date TBC | The Brewery, London

The event designed for in-house legal teams working on actual or potential contentious matters is back for the third year. Whether you’re a specialist litigation professional working in-house, or inherited a portfolio of disputes and feel out of your comfort zone – this event is for you!

2024 tickets

Tickets for Disputes Day will be going on sale later this year.

Pricing tiers

Early bird: £50 + VAT

General admission: £75 + VAT

Last chance: £100 + VAT

Event season pass

Unlock access to multiple Crafty Counsel events for your team. With an exciting line-up of events planned for this year, we’ve introduced the season pass to make planning your calendar with us a breeze by only going through the budget approval process once.

2023 Agenda

Registration & breakfast

08.30 - 09.00

Breakfast and networking for the early birds. And pick a coloured lanyard to signal how experienced a litigator you are (or not!).

A Crafty welcome & crowd-sourcing the unconference agenda

09.00 - 09.35

Join Crafty Counsel’s Founder, Ben White, for a welcome address on what to expect during the day. Followed by a surprise group session - where Toby Hornett, Crafty Counsel’s Head of Community, gets you moving to help programme the “unconference” session later in the day.

What’s “fair game” when lawyers are protecting their client?

09.35 - 10.05

Join us for our keynote on what’s “fair game” when lawyers are protecting their client? The Post Office Scandal has been the UK’s most widespread ever miscarriage of justice, involving the wrongful prosecution of hundreds of managers of post offices across more than 20 years. Nick Wallis has arguably done more than any other journalist to cover the story and in particular shine a light on the catastrophic personal impact on the victims. Among other things, Nick covered the civil claim brought by 555 sub-postmasters against the Post Office in the High Court, leading to a settlement in 2019; the subsequent referral by the Criminal Cases Review Commission to the Court of Appeal for the quashing of multiple convictions; and the ongoing Post Office Horizon IT Inquiry. We have invited Nick to share his perspective on law, lawyers, and how it feels to be on “the other side”.

Nick Wallis, Freelance Journalist and author of the Great Post Office Scandal

Theme: “Let’s get practical” - how to manage disputes as an in-house lawyer

How to avoid CEO panic

10.20 - 10.45

A practical guide for in-house lawyers working on a dispute for the first time.

Alex Bishop, National Head of Dispute Resolution & Litigation, Shoosmiths (Chair) Holly Dobbins, Legal Counsel, Canary Wharf Group Tess Saunders, Group Legal Counsel, Reed Simon Woods, Head of Legal, UNIPEC UK

Navigating senior executive exits: settlements, risks and NDAs post-Me Too

10.45 - 11.10

A senior exec departure can quickly spiral into a nasty dispute unless carefully managed - and draw the in-house legal team into the process. Meanwhile, lawyers need to be increasingly careful over what is appropriate to include in a settlement agreement in the context of well publicised instances of “NDA abuse” in recent years. Our panel explores how in-house legal can help navigate their business through these business critical and emotionally charged moments.

Florence Brocklesby, Founder, Bellevue Law Bill Smith, senior employment counsel EMEA, Oracle

Crisis, what crisis? What comms leaders really want from their lawyer colleagues in emergency situations

11.10 - 11.35

We welcome a senior communications professional to discuss both good and bad examples of Comms and Legal teams working together in corporate crisis situations.

James Acheson-Gray, Apella Advisors Toby Hornett, Head of Community, Crafty Counsel

Small group workshops

11.45 - 12.15

Join your peers in smaller groups as we break into three workshops to discuss the morning's sessions. Meet the speakers up close, share your concerns with peers who "get it". Chatham House Rule applies.


12.15 - 13.15

Build connections and relationships over a delicious lunch.

Theme: “Let’s get technical” - diving into some hot disputes trends

Avoiding ESG disputes: more than just legal

13.15 - 13.40

As highly publicised cases such as Glencore, Yorkshire County Cricket Club and Client Earth have shown, stakeholder activism is increasingly responsible for high-profile claims brought against businesses. This panel will consider how increased stakeholder activism is shaping the litigation landscape and outline why risk management is crucial in avoiding ESG disputes in the first place. You can also expect to hear war stories from the front line – what went wrong and how to get it right.

Lydia Christie, Legal Director, Howard Kennedy Vernon Dennis, Partner, Howard Kennedy Kyle Phillips, Partner, Howard Kennedy Chris Young, Litigation Consultant, Lloyds Banking Group through Vario

Mediation: a survival guide

13.40 - 14.05

From “do your homework” to “how to prepare your business colleagues” and “don’t make plans for the evening”, our panel discusses their experience of mediation and what they wished they’d known earlier.

Ainslie Cranwell, Litigation Counsel, Volvo Peter Hardy, Reed Smith Sam Kay, Principal Legal Counsel, Kier Bratin Roy, General Counsel, Ripjar

Managing privilege in cross-border disputes - the latest best practice

14.05 -14.30

We discuss the evergreen topic of legal privilege for in-house legal, taking an international slant. How to manage cross-border disputes across a dispersed legal team, when the approaches to legal privilege vary substantially across jurisdictions?

Airlie Goodman, Partner, Mayer Brown Shohta Ueno, Assistant General Counsel, Regeneron


14.30 - 14.45

Take a quick break between content to re-caffeinate, gather your thoughts, and chat with new friends.

Small group workshops

14.45 - 15.15

Join your peers in smaller groups as we break into three workshops to discuss the afternoon's sessions. Meet the speakers up close, share your concerns with peers who "get it". Chatham House Rule applies.

"Unconference” session

15.25 - 16.05

End the day with a bang by attending the unconference session! Toby Hornett, our Head of Community, reveals the big themes and urgent questions identified by you in the morning's group exercise. If you want to know what is top of mind on managing disputes for your in-house legal peers, don't miss this

Wrap up and reflections

16.05 - 16.30

A chance to hear from the stage on how the day went, big learnings, and what happens next for Crafty Counsel and your community.

Afterparty with Howard Kennedy

17.00 onwards

All Bar One, Moorgate

Continue the conversations and connecting with the peers at the afterparty hosted by our event partners, Howard Kennedy.