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Do today’s law firms need professional managers?

By Guy Vincent, Partner, Bircham Dyson Bell 

21 February 2013

Across the globe, it is accepted that the quality of management can enhance or damage the value and effectiveness of any enterprise. The legal world remains one of the few areas in UK business in which many firms still resists employing professional managers. Why is that?

It is interesting to reflect on the development of law firm management during the past 30 years, as the profession has changed dramatically. Part of that change has been reflected in the governance and management structures adopted by law firms.

The traditional method of management divided the responsibility for different aspects of running the business between partners. Firms used to be small enough for most decisions to be made in partners’ meetings chaired by a senior partner. The senior partner was usually the person with the longest service.

Often, the only support service was finance, which would normally be run by a finance professional, who may or may not have any...

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