Our HR & Operations team at Totum (Laura McNair and Roisin Ashmore) recently held a breakfast seminar, our second event of this kind for law firm practice managers, exploring their role and the day-to-day challenges they face. It was hosted by Eversheds and chaired by our very own Roisin. Attendees agreed that the practice manager role can quite often be misunderstood as their list of duties and responsibilities can vary quite widely from firm to firm. But often they are the operational backbone of a law firm, group or department, providing a range of responsibilities from people management and marketing to finance, facilities and administration. Even amongst those who attended our breakfast, responsibilities varied but there were some similarities including financial responsibilities. Many practice managers come from a finance background and may have been accountants in their previous lives. It was also apparent that many join law from outside the legal sector, notably from other professional services firms that are more advanced in these roles. Certainly, all the practice managers who attended our breakfast seminar felt they are in a good position to bring about significant change in their firms, improving efficiencies and bringing fresh experience from their previous employers.

Discussion highlights

With no set agenda to the meeting, all participants shared their top three objectives. These included enabling international integration, client service excellence, delivering leadership and team quality, client sharing and pricing strategies. Particular areas of discussion included:
  1. International integration – of systems, technology and brand. This remains a priority with practice managers variously involved in the creation and implementation of a global vision.
  2. Client service excellence – this is an area of huge importance with some debate over the ways in which client reviews and feedback programmes are conducted. Practice manager attendees agreed that transparency was key (showcasing successes as well as failures).
In feedback, attendees felt that the seminar was a very useful opportunity to share both similarities and differences in their working practices and raised new ideas to take back to the office. For any ‘Practice Managers’ from law firms or professional services firms who may be interested in attending our future events, please contact Laura McNair. For more information on recruiting HR & operational roles, please contact Laura McNair at [email protected]