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Bloomsburry Family law

HR & Development

All change on the North-Eastern Front

In the 1990s, senior partner Andrew Hoyle was convinced that his firm Watson Burton needed to transform itself from its staid traditions to become a forward-looking, entrepreneurial business. The financial results of the past couple of years, together with the firm’s growing reputation for success, suggests his efforts have paid off. He tells Caroline Poynton how his team went about the transformation and what challenges they faced along the way.

Thought leader

I recently debated with two senior partners the respective merits of their firms when it comes to decision making. The smaller one described the difficulty of getting 40 people around a table to make decisions. However, he was sure that the larger international firm would find decision making easier, as the management team would be left to get on with things.

A woman at the helm

Men still far outnumber women in top management/leadership positions and those that make it often face added scrutiny by being the first female in the company to make the grade. Managing partner Lesley MacDonagh, however, has more than proved her worth to Lovells and, with it, has developed a pragmatic attitude to the modern workplace. She tells Caroline Poynton about her rise to the top and why she believes it’s all a question of choice.

Chief among equals

Tales of doom and gloom prevail in the legal profession. Unprecedented levels of competition push the weakest firms to dissolution, while even the most successful legal business treads the boards of client expectation and dissatisfaction. For some, however, this is an opportunity for change – to embrace the business world and appoint non-lawyer leaders who can provide commercial acumen and strategic direction. Caroline Poynton talks to chief executives at asb law, Buss Murton LLP, Hardwicke Chambers, Whitehead Monckton, and the chief operating officer at Wiggin & Co, about their views on the legal profession, and how their roles compare to that of the traditional managing partner.

Making a success of succession

Appointing the right leader for your firm is an absolute necessity for business success but getting it right is a tough task, demanding time, energy and a forward-thinking attitude. Noel Carroll, area director, London North and City, at Allied Irish Bank (GB), provides some guidelines on approaching this essential but difficult area of effective law-firm management.

Thought leader

Lord Clementi’s report is of immense significance to the legal profession as it impacts on regulation of the profession and business structures, together with the divisive issue of ‘Tesco law’.

The future of legal-service delivery

The first warm days of summer have arrived and with it a new optimism as we finally shrug off the cold dark days of winter. It seems appropriate, therefore, that this issue looks to the future of legal-service delivery, which, despite endless tales of woe, actually gives us plenty to look forward to.

A force for change

When Dawn Dixon and Michael Webster set up Webster Dixon in 1998, Dixon found herself returning to compete in a City environment that she had rejected as a trainee as being too hostile. Since then, the firm has gone from strength to strength, with a second office move in the planning, and staff recruitment continuing apace. Caroline Poynton talks to Dixon about the challenges so far and her aspirations for the future.

Firms collaborate on LPC

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith, Lovells, Norton Rose and Slaughter and May have chosen BPP Law School as their exclusive provider of a City-focused Legal Practice Course (LPC).