Case Study – Allen and Overy
Allen & Overy describe themselves: “as an international law firm, our overriding goal is to work alongside our clients as a trusted adviser, providing the support they need to thrive in this dynamic economic environment. And as our clients have moved to maximise commercial opportunities in new markets, so have we. We continue to invest in a growing network of international offices that covers Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East, the Americas and most recently Africa. With 42 offices in 29 countries, our presence is amongst the largest of any legal practice. Nearly 70% of our work involves Allen & Overy offices in two or more jurisdictions and more than 50% involves at least three.”
Laurie Young advised Allen & Overy on innovation for some years, and Allen & Overy decided to use scenarios to help their forward thinking. During the spring and summer of 2012, Nick Jackson of SAMI helped A&O with a scenario project to develop a view of the challenges A&O faced to 2020. The objective was to develop scenarios about how their future, and that of their clients, might be different in 2020. The aim was not to forecast but to understand a range of possible scenarios that might happen, how they could happen, what the implications may be for A&O, and to identify the early signals that they are happening. It was an outward-looking exercise, with an emphasis on speaking to clients and gathering and transforming information of strategic significance from a wide range of sources into fresh insights : not designed to produce strategic recommendations, rather to identify threats and opportunities for A&O.
The process involved 5 regional panels of Partners and a central panel led by the Senior Partner. The process is described in the Figure above, from the project manager Michael Michaelides. The scenarios helped to inform and test the firm’s existing strategy at the joint Board/management team meeting in September 2012.
For more on the outcomes, see http://www.allenovery.com/publications/en-gb/annualreview/introduction .