Small firms stinting on management input, says survey

Medium-sized and small firms are not investing enough in practice management, says a survey by Otterburn Legal Consulting.

The survey found that many medium and small firms were yet to appoint a managing partner and that not enough time was spent on practice management. It revealed that most firms expect their senior partners to combine high fee earning levels with management responsibilities.

“11 out of 24 respondents were expected to bill over £100,000 in fees a year and only nine spent at least half their time on management.

It also revealed that few women had been appointed managing partners and that long-term management plans were being neglected.

The survey recommends that firms should examine their management structure. Author Andrew Otterburn said: “Managing partners in many firms are being faced with the particularly difficult task of trying to manage their firm while they maintain high fee levels. The result is often a feeling of frustration at not being able to tackle either job properly.”

He added that firms should ensure managers are given enough time to do their jobs effectively.

The survey was based on the replies from 24 managing or senior partners working in provincial firms with an average of eight partners.