Law firm management: the poisoned chalice

Has there ever been a time of more change among the top levels of law firm management? Not that we can remember, anyway. This week alone has seen Osborne Clarke corporate and commercial head Ray Berg unveiled as the firm’s new UK managing partner elect; Pinsent Masons kick off its managing partner election process, with three partners up for the role; and Herbert Smith Freehills senior partner Jonathan Scott announce he is stepping down three months ahead of schedule, triggering a four-man race for the role.

Matt Byrne

But that’s not all. Last month Norton Rose Fulbright re-elected Peter Martyr as its global chief executive for his fifth three-year term; Taylor Wessing re-elected senior partner Adam Marks for a second three-year term; Ashurst scrapped its Australia managing partner role after incumbent John Carrington retired; Edwards Wildman was left rudderless in London as the management of its City office switched to the US; and Olswang’s former CEO David Stewart, who stepped down from his role at the start of October mid-way through his second three-year term, quit the firm altogether.

All this in the space of little over a week. And breathe…

With all this activity it might not surprise you to learn that we’ve decided to dig a little deeper into the issue of law firm management and in particular, what it is that makes running a bunch of lawyers such a potentially poisoned chalice. We’d welcome your views and we’d also welcome your questions, which we’ll happily put to a raft of current and former law firm leaders for a feature on the subject on 17 November.

Who knows, by then this list could be even longer.

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