“Leigh Dance and I have worked together on many projects, facilitating practical exchanges and promoting critical thinking among business lawyers globally. We share the same objective: to advance the structures, management and transparency of corporate legal services to meet the needs of the changing world around us. I have met few individuals that have been as closely involved as Leigh Dance in the many developments in our industry globally— both as they affect corporate legal teams and law firms. Through her consultancy she has contributed significantly to the high quality of international corporate legal advice. The outstanding list of legal luminaries that readily agreed to write essays specifically for this book is the best testimony to Leigh’s talents.”
- Jan Eijsbouts, former General Counsel, Akzo Nobel (from the foreword, Bright Ideas: Insights from Legal Luminaries Worldwide)
For 16 years Leigh Dance has led ELD International, Inc., a consultancy advising global law firms on international expansion and global client development. She has worked with many of the world’s top law firm leadership on creating and executing competitive growth strategies internationally, new market penetration, and improving the performance of existing international offices. Dance has unparalleled international legal services experience, having worked on projects in more than 30 countries in her career. She has lived partly in Europe and partly in the US for the last 15 years.
The concept for Bright Ideas: Insights from Legal Luminaries Worldwide was inspired by Leigh Dance’s ongoing work with top inside and outside counsel around the world. On the occasion of ELD International’s 15th birthday, she decided to invite a number of colleagues from diverse regions to write essays on topics of mutual interest. Each of these individuals had impressed her as ‘big thinkers’ and she wanted to put their diverse perspectives together to present a valued book on the key issues facing global law firms and corporate law departments today. A communicator by training and experience, Leigh assumed the role of the book’s editor.
In addition to its work with global law firms, ELD International also advises global corporate law departments on structuring and managing to achieve better results for their companies. Leigh Dance has worked with dozens of top global corporate legal functions on leadership and training for global counsel, best practices to enhance productivity and reduce costs, cross-border corporate legal services delivery, global law firm partnering and convergence, and compliance and ethics programs. She leads projects with support from the ELD team and a number of strategic allies.
With LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell, Leigh co-founded and organizes the highly-regarded international series Counsel To Counsel: A Forum on Best Practices in Corporate Legal Services. Since 2000 Leigh has moderated more than 75 roundtables of senior corporate counsel in more than 25 cities on all continents. Additionally, ELD International developed and produced the Global Counsellors College with PLC and Howrey, and co-chaired four global compliance conferences in the US and Europe in 2007 and 2008. She developed and co-chaired the 2008 Wake Up to the Future: How Global Corporate Legal Services Must Change conference hosted by Eversheds and ACC in New York City.
Prior to founding ELD International in 1993, Leigh had nearly 14 years of work experience in international development and public policy in Washington and New York, where she worked with the Overseas Education Fund and the Executive Counsel on Foreign Diplomats. During this time she edited a book on credit and women’s economic development. In New York, the UK and France she worked as a Vice President of The Chase Manhattan Bank with corporate communications, strategic planning, investment product management and marketing management assignments in 13 countries. She was then head of marketing for a US Midwest law firm. Leigh has a BA with honors from University of Delaware, Publications Specialist Certification from George Washington University, and an International MBA with high honors from Thunderbird School of International Management. She also studied in Aix-en-Provence. Leigh speaks English, French and Italian.
Insight and judgment are two of the most rare yet critical skills required for global legal management - Leigh Dance has been blessed with both.
Michael J. O'Neill, SVP and General Counsel, Lenovo Corporation
Leigh Dance is the consummate consultant. In helping us with our London launch, she gently guided us through the opportunities and challenges.
Director of Marketing, Schulte Roth & Zabel law firm
LeighDance is a trusted advisor and business partner. She has ensured the success of our Counsel to Counsel series over a long period by establishing a following in the major cities in Europe, North America and Asia.
Derek Benton, Director of International Operations, LexisNexis Martindale-Hubbell
Leigh is the rare industry insider whose access to the upper echelon of leadership is a testimony to the intrinsic value she provides. She has a seat at the table because her insights and perspective are on the leading edge of the change curve. She knows what’s happening on multiple continents ahead of the rest of the crowd.
Nat Slavin, former Publisher of Corporate Legal Times, now with Wicker Park Group
"Leigh is a master of the art of positive communication and has a natural talent for promoting and fostering humane interaction at an executive level. Her ability to connect like-minded people is only surpassed by her generous spirit and genuine care for others. She is an accomplished facilitator and her extensive knowledge of the requirements of corporate counsels and the environment in which they operate has ensured, time and time again, a successful and rewarding experience for all those who have had the pleasure of working with her."
Fadi Hammadeh, General Counsel, Dubai Properties Group
There is a substantial gap between how law firms and corporate counsel function, and Leigh’s understanding has successfully bridged that gap. She compares and contrasts legal issues across different jurisdictions with ease, were both practices and the law itself can vary greatly.
Helena Samaha, General Counsel Europe, AlixPartners
Leigh Dance was a key member of our team that built and launched our online risk management services in North America and Europe. She helped us succeed.
Director of Marketing and Communications, Aon eSolutions, Aon Corporation
Leigh Dance helped our firm launch three offices in Europe and develop our European offering over a 5 year period. She has incredible insight about the European market, with a deep understanding of clients and competition.
Mary K Young, former CMO of Howrey, now Partner with Zeughauser Group
ELD International, Inc. is a leading international consultancy in the legal services industry. ELD has two principle areas of activity:
ELD International's clients are primarily global law firms, multinational corporate law departments and the organizations that serve in-house counsel. ELD clients have activities and operations around the world. ELD International operates from offices in New York, Brussels and London.
ELD 2010 Projects
World Law Group: ELD guided development of a long-term strategic plan for the World Law Group, a premier global network of 50 law firms. ELD facilitated the strategy project with the Group's Board of Directors and staff, and led the main contact partners from member firms at the annual meeting in Israel.
Accenture: Legal team: ongoing global strategic and operational projects with Accenture senior legal executives
Global 50 law firm: Preparation and presentation to senior management of international growth market investment recommendations and guidance on approach and priorities.
K&L Gates: a range of projects with the global firm and its practices such as Global Government Solutions, in various markets worldwide. ELD supported K&L Gates on its very successful September conference in London on financial services reform in the US, the UK and Europe.
Lex Mundi: Client Summit, Amsterdam. Leigh Dance assisted in program development and panel preparation and facilitation for the meeting on "Global Corporate Counseling 2010: Increasing Value and Lowering Cost."
Webber Wentzel: Partner conference in Cape Town. "Building Better Client Relationships Today: Change and Opportunity." ELD International developed the program and led a two-day partner meeting with this premier South African law firm. Dance gave the keynote presentation and facilitated two panels of prominent global corporate counsel.
Gianni Origoni Grippo & Partners: ELD International is advising on international strategy for this top Italian law firm with offices in five Italian cities, Brussels, London and New York.
Fortune 100 Corporate Law Department in Europe: with the General Counsel for Europe, ELD organized the agenda, prepared the in-house lawyer participants and facilitated a two-day meeting in Barcelona of 20 senior lawyers from across Europe.
Profits from Bright Ideas book sales will go to Advocates for International Development, an international pro bono organization. www.A4ID.org