Speaking Engagement

The New Romantics: Reimagining Purpose & Compensation in Modern Legal Services

21st Annual Law Firm COO & CFO Forum

The New York Marriott Downtown
85 West St
New York, NY

Blank Rome Chief Operating Officer Shonette Gaston will serve as a panelist at Thomson Reuters Legal Executive Institute’s 21st Annual Law Firm COO & CFO Forum, being held October 26 through 28, 2022, in New York, New York.

Shonette’s session, “The New Romantics: Reimagining Purpose & Compensation in Modern Legal Services,” will take place on Thursday, October 27, from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.


Talent management in a pandemic era persists through divergent and dynamic means. When not defining hybrid working models or (re)calibrating office strategy, many firm leaders find themselves grappling with elevated associate attrition and pockets of existential angst over career trajectory, professional purpose, compensation, or work-life balance. This conversation asks not what (or whom) each firm can afford to pay, but what makes sense for a given organization? How are leaders addressing itinerant talent in modern legal services? How are firms incorporating notions of “culture” and “value” within their own compensation models? Is the current industry arms race truly sustainable for most of the Am Law 200? And perhaps, most intriguingly, are heightened attrition levels emblematic of short-term social disruption or much broader, institutional change?


  • Moderator: Jeffrey Connor, Chief Financial Officer, McGuireWoods LLP
  • Dwight Floyd, Chief Operating Officer, Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP
  • Shonette Gaston, Chief Operating Officer, Blank Rome LLP
  • Laura E. Long, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer, Hanson Bridgett LLP
  • Janet Stanton, Partner, Adam Smith, Esq.
  • William M. Washington III, Chief Financial Officer, Baker McKenzie

Other sessions include:

  • The State of the U.S. Legal Market
  • Nervous Conditions: Stress & Demand in the Global Economy
  • New Sculptures in the Sandbox: Assessing Alternative Business Ownership Models in Legal Services
  • Propulsion Dynamics: Maximizing Value in Strategic Alliances & Business Partnerships
  • Forging Empires: Resource and Fiscal Investment in Law Firm R&D
  • Watchers on the Wall: Managing Changed Risks Across the Firm
  • Expansive View: Developing a Growth-Focused Knowledge Management Strategy 
  • Transformative Measures: Mastering Firmwide ESG Strategy
  • The Attrition Antidote: Anticipating & Preempting Attrition through People Intelligence
  • Terraformed Talent: A Case Study on Law Firm Associate Work Allocation
  • Diamonds in the Rough: Uncovering the Hidden Value of Client Intelligence
  • Diversified Leverage: Enhancing Firm Profitability and Client Alignment through Litigation Finance
  • Purple Haze: A U.S. Political & Foreign Policy Roundtable
  • Into the Metaverse

For more information, please visit the event webpage.

You can read a recap of Shonette’s panel presentation at Thomson Reuters (December 8, 2022).