The Lawyer Management: Maclay Murray & Spens

I provide strategic and operational guidance to our chief executive Chris Smylie and the partnership on all aspects of our IT systems and their development. I also ensure effective day-to-day running of such systems.

Crawford Hawley
Crawford Hawley

Describe the key part of your role

How has your role changed during your time at the firm?

The expectations of what IT could and should be able to deliver have changed significantly over the past few years. We have to stay in tune with the current business requirements and think ahead, to anticipate what they may be in the short term and find solutions to support both our internal and external clients.

What are currently the most significant external issues that have an impact on your role?

The economic climate coupled with the possible impact of the Legal Services Act means that we have to respond to the changing requirements of clients quickly and efficiently.

What impact if any are the structural changes to the UK legal market having on your firm and your role?

We all have to be able to achieve more with less, improve the quality of the work that we undertake and reduce the cost of its completion.

What’s currently in your in-tray?

Supporting our Paperlight initiative through providing sufficient scanning and storage infrastructure to ­reduce the amount of paper we store. Having rolled out iPads across the partnership, we’re looking at ­additional services that we can ­provide to further improve the usage experience and efficiency gains. We’re also planning our upgrade to Office 2010.

What have been the key ways in which you have improved the efficiency of the firm?

The implementation of DMS gave us the platform to properly store and manage our electronic files, and help reduce our dependence on paper. We’ve also been developing online business processes using ­FloSuite, which allows us to define processes and ensure they are ­followed.

What are the primary ways in which you source various suppliers to the business?

We have discussions with peers regarding projects that they’ve done that we’re considering; online white papers and case studies; general IT publications; as well as trusted external suppliers suggesting solutions.

What problem would you most like technology to solve?

Seamless management and synchronisation of data so that users always know that they’re viewing the latest version of information incorporating all appropriate updates, no matter where they are and what device they’re using to access information.

Briefly describe the management structure of your organisation

We have a partnership board of seven partners responsible for the firm’s strategy. This includes the four ­divisional heads, who are responsible for running the four legal divisions. As IT director, I’m a member of the management team, which reports to the chief executive and deals with the day-to-day operational running of the firm, and attend that board.

How many people do you have in your core team and who are they?

We have a core team of 10 covering all aspects of IT support, infrastructure and development.

Who do you report to?

Chris Smylie, chief executive.

What is the most important lesson your role has taught you?

To keep trying. As the rate of technological change increases, it’s important to keep explaining the options and why they’ve changed, because something that wasn’t an option 18 months ago may be an option now.

Financials (2010-11)

Turnover: £48.6m

Earnings per partner:£222,000

Profit per equity partner: £259,000

Top of equity:£320,000

Bottom of equity:£135,000

Financial management

Hawley-Groat’s role as IT director brings him into contact with almost all aspects of the business, including last year’s most pressing item relating to the operational side of the firm, the move of Maclays’ Glasgow offices to George Square.

“It was achieved through careful planning, good team work and long hours,” says Hawley-Groat.


CRM: Elite LawSoft

PMS: Elite LawSoft

DMS: iManage Worksite

Other: FloSuite BPM