Halliwell Landau's senior partner is stepping down after six years service to return to full-time fee-earning.
Roger Lancaster is going back to running the Manchester firm's planning department on a day-to-day basis, while the leadership of Halliwells will be split between two people.
The former head of corporate Alec Craig has been elected to the role of senior partner, while Paul Thomas, previously head of litigation and corporate recovery, will become managing partner. Both positions will be full-time management posts.
This is the first time that Halliwells has had a managing partner. Until now, the management of the firm has always been undertaken by the senior partner.
Commenting on Lancaster's decision to return to full-time fee-earning, Thomas says: "Roger was coming up for re-election as senior partner, and he'd run a very successful planning practice. So, due to the growth of the firm, he decided he wanted to carry on in the planning area."
According to Thomas, on the strength of the firm's turnover growth, from £6m in 1995 to a projected £25m for this year, Halliwells decided to introduce a dual approach.
Lancaster is completely stepping back from the running of the firm and he will not remain as part of the management board, which is made up of the heads of department of corporate, commercial litigation, insurance litigation, property and the partner in charge of the London office.
Thomas and Craig, who took on their new positions last Monday (4 September) will be replaced by Ian Austin as the head of litigation and corporate recovery, while Mark Halliwell will head the corporate department.
The decision to elect Craig and Thomas was made on an informal basis by the management board, and agreed by the partners. Both will hold their positions for three years.