29 December 2017

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a programme of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

TEDxBristol is one of the largest TEDx events in the UK, delivering talks to sell-out audiences, working with creative partners across the UK and reaching a global audience online who enjoy watching and sharing its talks and films – wherever they are on the planet.

Mel Rodrigues doubles over laughing. “No, I couldn’t fit much more in,” she agrees. By day, Mel is a BBC Producer based in Bristol and has worked on some of the nation’s favourite TV shows. But her self-confessed passion project is TEDxBristol.

“I think passion project is a euphemism for ‘doesn’t get paid to do it’. But I do love it,” she laughs again.

TEDx is a series of independently arranged talks around the world based on a model born in the US known as TED talks. Originally about Technology, Education and Design, the talks are now a recognised source for new ideas across pretty much any academic or social subject. They have been watched two billion times around the world. So TEDx is actually a natural fit for a firm like Burges Salmon whose advice often helps clients’ businesses to change and facilitate new models.

This year, Burges Salmon’s Corporate, Commercial and Tax teams have been involved in helping set up TEDxBristol as a Community Investment Company (CIC). Alicia Park led on data sharing arrangements that TEDxBristol needed to have in place with the host of this year’s event, Colston Hall. The firm also supported the Community Partnership Programme, which meant TEDxBristol was able to give 260 places to community groups, young people and people from lower income groups.

“I jumped at the chance to help out,” explains Alicia, who advised the team on a pro bono basis. “I love that notion of idea sharing, of adding to the greater good. I think the basic premise of TED talks – ideas worth sharing – inherently appeals to lawyers. We’re made that way: to be inquisitive, having a lifelong thirst for knowledge.” The work was the firm’s largest pro bono project of 2017 and it helped see over 3,000 people assemble to listen, watch, and share ideas under the theme #DareToDisrupt.

Mel is insistent that having the right lawyers on board has made a difference. “Definitely, definitely, definitely commercial and motivated lawyers are worth their weight in gold. Alicia and the team have created a legacy that means we can continue to operate the company during our fallow years, readying ourselves for the next event in, probably, 2019. That in turn means greater continuity for our commercial partners, so it’s been something of a virtuous circle.”

Alicia was also one of the Burges Salmon lawyers who got to attend the event itself. “I heard some amazing talks,” she explains, “but my highlight was hearing Joshua Luke Smith’s talk ‘The World Within: Why Dealing With The Heart Of The Matter Begins With Healing Matters Of The Heart’. The energy levels in the room were just fantastic. Speakers mostly used their voice to tell their story – sometimes with a handful of visual slides along with some music – and I think that there’s something in there for lawyers to learn from. Maybe I’ll have a go at one of the talks myself someday.”

Mel is planning some smaller salon events around the city in 2018 that will keep the momentum going. “We are really looking forward to innovating new ways of working with Burges Salmon in the future. Who knew lawyers could be so creative,” concludes Mel.

TEDx Bristol: dare to disrupt

I love that notion of idea sharing, of adding to the greater good.
Alicia Park, Solicitor, Burges Salmon

The Chemistry of Collaboration

Our annual review features a collection of case studies about the benefits of working as part of a team with our clients and our local community.
Read Annual Review