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Bloomsburry Family law

HR & Development

The littlest hobo of law

While many a partner has taken on the role of managing partner, either giving up fee earning or maintaining some client work on the side, there is now a discernible trend in law firms appointing non-legal chief executives who can use their industry experience to manage the business while leaving the partners to do what they do best – fee earning. Paul Stothard is just such a case. He may be a chartered accountant by profession, but Stothard is taking on the legal profession at their own game as the latest chief executive of Shoosmiths. Caroline Poynton finds out if he has what it takes to show a law firm the right way to manage a business.

Thought leader: The beginning of the end for PSLs?

Professional support lawyers provide know-how support to the practice and their numbers are increasing considerably across large and not so large firms. However, two recent developments lead me to wonder what the PSL role will be in five years’ time.

The trials and tribulations of partner remuneration

Tackling partner reward and performance management is a tough task at the best of times and most would wisely tackle each area separately for integration at a later date. But Paul Stothard, chief executive at Shoosmiths, was nothing if not brave, and faced the challenge of reforming the whole system in one courageous blow. The process was beset with challenges but, if all goes to plan, the future looks bright for a firm that will have clarity of purpose and a proven commitment to change.

Is your firm’s leadership performing?

While performance management and partner remuneration remain hot topics in legal management, too little attention is often given to the firm’s leaders and their suitability for the role. Peter Scott, head of strategic development at Steeles Solicitors, looks at management and leadership, the differences between the two, and how firms can ensure that they get the best people, who have the necessary resources and support to do the top job well.

Don’t give up the day job

Can a managing partner really split the fee-earning and management role and hope to be effective in both positions? Andrew Gregory, managing partner of DWF, uses his own experiences to argue that it is not only possible but the best way to ensure internal co-operation and confidence, excellent client service, and good overall business development.

Thought leader

Client-relationship management (CRM) has been around for some time, but we are still far from getting it right. It seems to me that the biggest problem is that commercial clients, in particular, are just becoming more demanding and I have a nagging feeling that the legal sector is not quite keeping up.

Personal profile: Managing a US venture in a London market

John Reynolds has plenty of recommendations for his expertise in litigation, including Chambers & Partners, Legal Experts 2002 and the Global Counsel Dispute Resolution Handbook, all of which describe him as a leader in the field. In September 2000, however, Reynolds agreed to expand his responsibilities and become managing partner of the London office of McDermott, Will & Emery. Can he parallel his litigation success in the management field? Caroline Poynton finds out.

Company profile: Delivering recruitment services in a difficult market

Starting a business is never easy, but what about deciding to launch a legal recruitment company in the middle of an economic downturn, when fewer firms are looking to recruit and high-calibre candidates are more nervous about moving? For First Counsel, launched in the spring of 2003, it was merely a challenge to be met head on. Caroline Poynton talks to directors Chris Cayley, William Cock and Tim Skipper about the merits of their business case and how they intend to meet the needs of the legal marketplace, despite the competition.

It just can’t be done? Building a law firm from scratch

It is all very well discussing strategic HR within the context of a well-established firm that is looking for new ways to build profitability and growth. However, what part does it play in the bigger picture, in building a business from nothing to win a good reputation with clients and staff? Professor Lorne Crerar, managing partner of Harper Macleod, describes the development of the firm from its first days in a converted sandwich shop to double-award winner at the Scottish Legal Awards 2003.