From the Desk of the Director – SWW Conference 2022

18th November 2022Anthony Belcher0

Whilst chatting with some members at the SWW Conference this year it was requested that I bring back a series of blogs once penned by the late Brian McMillan titled From the Desk of the DG. DG of course refers to the title Director General, a title passed to me in 2020, although not one which I use. In truth, it never really felt like one which suited me, and more so out of respect, it felt far more appropriate to retire its use anyway. So instead, I’m pleased to welcome you to my first instalment of From the Desk of the Director (see what I did there) and it’s my aim through these blogs to give you a more personally written insight into the day-to-day of running the SWW, as well as wider Society updates and goings on, and of course relevant things happening within the profession too.

To kick the series off, I’d like to devote this first instalment to the success that was the 2022 SWW Conference. With this year’s being the 25th running it was set to be a very special event already, and whilst I can’t speak for any of them before my time here, I can say with absolute certainty it’s been the best SWW Conference out of the 7 I have been present for. Every year we strive to improve things over the last, whether it be the speakers, exhibitors, entertainment or even the venue itself and this year’s ended up being an amalgamation of some of the very best that not only the SWW had to offer, but also the wider legal sector.

I truly enjoy our conference, it’s been my privilege to open it for the last couple of years now and even though I’m usually a bag of nerves on the day, it’s great to get up there and recap the year behind and map out the year ahead for the SWW. I try to do the rounds at regional groups to do the same, but it’s the end of the “conference year” as we call it that’s really when we announce the plans for the year ahead. It’s not about me though, and really it’s the other speakers I get to introduce which make both days worthwhile attending, including both the breakfast slots. This year’s event was themed around the topics of capacity and vulnerability and each of the speakers brought their own expertise, advice, and knowledge on the subjects to really make the talks feel cohesive. I can’t thank all the speakers across both days enough for their efforts this year, and I know from speaking with members and looking over the feedback that what each speaker had to offer has been very well received. You can read a little more about some of the speakers in our speaker feature series, found under the conference category in the news section.

To the exhibitors, I also extend my gratitude. It’s not without the support from both those who come along in person and those working behind the scenes that we’d be able to run the event on the scale that we do. I know there’s a lot that goes into organising a stand, including supplying materials and content, and I appreciate at times we ask a lot of you so thank you for working with us. I know the members and other delegates who come really look forward to meeting with you, whether you’re revisiting or exhibiting for the first time, and I trust you each found attending beneficial. If you’d like to know more about this year’s exhibitors, you can read all about them and explore their products and services on our dedicated conference page.

Whilst speaking with members over the course of the event the feedback was already overwhelmingly positive and looking over the forms we’ve received since there’s more of the same. I’m very grateful to each and every one of you who bought a ticket, thank you for attending and I truly hope you enjoyed it. We organise the conference for the benefit of SWW members and other legal professionals, and to have so many of you join us over the course of the 2 days makes all the hard work and planning worthwhile. It’s our best opportunity to catch up with you all, and I know many of you look forward to seeing us and other members every year too. This year was our highest-ever attendance and it’ll take some doing to beat next year, so I’d like to ask you to make sure you do all you can to encourage your colleagues to attend in future too!

My final thanks have to go to the teams at both the SWW head office and the Hilton. There’s an unbelievable amount of work which goes on behind the scenes and organising the conference may well be the most stressful thing we do over the course of the year. I joked a couple of times whilst we were there about not really having anything to do with its organisation, and perhaps I don’t give myself enough credit, but in all honesty, it’s because largely the rest of the team here and there make it work. There would honestly be no conference without them all pulling together as they do and I’m very proud of everyone for what they manage to achieve year after year.

So, what next then? 2023 is looming and believe me when I say we’re already planning next year’s event for which we’ll confirm dates and additional details shortly. We’re pouring over the feedback to make sure the 26th is every bit as good as the 25th, and to those of you who bought tickets this year, we’ll have a little surprise for you before the year is out as well!

That’s it for now, although I could go on as I’ve got plenty else to write about including some upcoming projects and recent events and meetings, so I’ll be back soon with another instalment rather than rambling on endlessly here.

Until next time, thank you for reading.

Anthony Belcher

Anthony graduated from the University of Lincoln with a first in Audio Production in 2016. Deciding to pursue an alternative career, he started as the Society’s graphic designer that same year with his appointment to the board of directors coming later in 2019. Outside of the Society he is still a keen musician and avid collector of vinyl records.

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