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This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
Lawyers should stick to law and leave management to the business experts, according to some local authorities gearing up for tendering.
The public sector is taking a leaf out of the private sector book by recruiting non-lawyers to help run their organisations.
Chester City Council and Hillingdon Borough Council are both looking for practice managers with a business background while other authorities may follow suit.
Cathy Thomas, Hillingdon's head of corporate legal services, says: "What we want is somebody to manage the business side, to do a business plan and to oversee the time recording systems. Budgeting and accounting is very important but a lawyer is probably not the best person to do that kind of work."
Hillingdon is seeking to replace practice manager Roger Smith who has been head-hunted by Hughes Watton, in Victoria.
"We thought it was probably cheaper to have a non-lawyer because then you are not paying for a legal qualification which is not being used," Thomas says.
Charles Kerry, head of legal services at Chester, says: "I don't want someone coming in saying this is how we should be doing the legal side of things. I want someone to concentrate solely on the business side.
"We can't afford not to concentrate on these kind of issues," he says.
Cambridge City Council also has a business specialist whose role is to put the legal department on a more competitive footing.
But the business manager is part of the professional services support team serving several departments.
Manchester's legal team took on a practice manager for the first time last month but the city council has appointed a lawyer to the post.
Gillian Phillips, head of the Law Society's local government group, says: "Clearly there are things that local authorities now need to do which never used to be necessary." But each council must decide which is the most cost-effective way forward, she says.