Stephens & Scown replaces chief with five-strong team

Devon and Cornwall firm Stephens & Scown has launched a new corporate-style management board to run the firm.

The five-strong elected team takes over from senior partner Roger Keast, who retired on 5 April. It is led by the firm’s former deputy senior partner Ian Pawley, who becomes managing partner.

The other members are private client partner Alan Williamson, who takes on responsibility for staff and standards; commercial property development partner Michael Beadel, who will lead business development; matrimonial partner Liz Allen, who takes on internal financial control; and commercial property partner Robert Camp, who will assist with business development. The firm now has some 32 partners and retains a significant private client practice in addition to its commercial work.

Explaining the new structure, Beadel says: “We wanted to build on the individual strengths of partners and use them to the best advantage of the partnership. Not everyone can have the skills that are needed. We chose the best people for the various roles that have been allocated.

“What you need to run a law firm nowadays is very different to the past. This is a big business rather than a large, old-fashioned firm.”

It is hoped that the new structure will enable board members to balance management and fee-earning. Beadel says: “We’re making sure that those in management will be able to give it priority.”

The new board plans to continue growing the firm in Cornwall and Devon, focusing on local clients. Beadel says the firm is already benefiting from the preference of other South West firms for seeking work from outside the region. He says: “We’re taking advantage of that change in direction. A number of their clients feel they’re no longer interested in clients local to Devon.”