The Lawyer Management: Kemp Little

Siddhartha Mankad joined technology and digital media firm Kemp Little as its first chief operating ­officer (COO) last summer. Mankad joined as a fixed-share partner and a member of Kemp Little’s management board.


 

Siddhartha Mankad
Siddhartha Mankad

Siddhartha Mankad, chief operating officer

Siddhartha Mankad joined technology and digital media firm Kemp Little as its first chief operating ­officer (COO) last summer. Mankad joined as a fixed-share partner and a member of Kemp Little’s management board.

Prior to joining he had been at ­Boodle Hatfield since 2003 as director of operations and IT, and prior to that at Andersen for six years, first in India as a senior consultant and then as a programme manager, global ­programmes, in the UK.

What does the COO role at Kemp Little involve?

Two things primarily. At one level I’m assisting on the strategic direction and management of the firm. On top of that I’m very much focused on the operational side of the business. I joined in August 2011 so I’ve now lost the ability to say I’m the new boy.

How does your role work in practice?

As far as the operational side of the role goes that’s also split into two. There are the day-to-day team-­driven aspects involving areas such as HR, finance and IT, and then there are the projects-driven aspects.

My role here involves identifying projects, making sure we keep to priorities, helping people with the preparation of a business case and ensuring the delivery of the project.

For example, we’re encouraging mobile working as part of flexible working arrangements, which means we’re looking at issues surrounding working from home and changing the way people log in to make it more secure. That requires a policy change and a new protocol so it will also ­involve HR and financial as well as IT. Having a COO means we can ­coordinate the project and there’s less of a risk of things falling between the cracks.

How do you ensure this?

With weekly core services meetings chaired by myself. That creates opportunities for everyone to share everything they’re planning. I introduced it; prior to that it was much more informal.

What’s the management structure at Kemp Little?

There’s a management board that features all the group heads plus the senior partner and me. Of those, two board members are also delegated as the management team. Currently that’s me and [executive partner] Paul Garland. We put into effect the intentions of the management board.

Who do you report to?

I report to the management board, which is chaired by Paul. For ­practical purposes I work most closely with Paul and then report to the management board.

Who reports to you?

My core team is seven people. That includes the heads of HR, finance and IT, who report to me directly. The head of business development [BD] reports to senior partner Richard Kemp. But with the COO role we can now bring BD closer to other core services.

I work closely with Anna [Di Camillo, head of BD] on specific projects such as the new website. Anna runs it and owns its delivery but I sit on the steering committee for it. That model will be replicated for the CRM project we’re currently working on.

Then I’m also there to talk through options as a person who doesn’t have a single view from either a departmental or legal perspective. For example, when it comes to sponsoring or not sponsoring an event, I have no vested interest.

What’s in your in-tray?

A series of proposals on various projects, a departmental business planning template, along with appraisals, budgeting and recruitment information.

Also training and competency mapping, related to how we want people’s career to progress, from newly qualified to partnership. It’s harder in a smaller firm.