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Law firm management lessons from Wolf Hall

By Guy Vincent, Consultant and Former Managing Partner, Bircham Dyson Bell 

5 March 2015

Wolf Hall, the BBC's television adaptation of Hilary Mantel's novels on the life of Thomas Cromwell, charts his rise through the court of King Henry VIII. The series is compelling viewing; the themes that run through it remain relevant to law firms today. You may well ask whether we can really draw management lessons from the candlelit lives of the Tudors. I think we can.

Cromwell was the new man in court. He was not just a professional, a lawyer, but also a man from a humble background. By sheer talent, he forced his way into the confidence of the king and became as important as the hereditary noblemen who had traditionally advised the monarch.

Historians credit Cromwell with being the creator of a rudimentary civil service. He saw that the running of the country needed a professional approach and provided that skill. Previously, the monarch was the product of the feudal system; power was exercised because of birth rather than talent.

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