Welcome to our autumn issue of Totum’s dedicated Finance newsletter – designed to help those of you interested in joining the legal profession or further developing your finance career in law. Here are some of our noteworthy developments and trends for finance in law.

Commercial thinking


The hot topic in legal finance continues to be around commercial accounting, including pricing. There are four new heads of pricing roles in the top-30 law firms and others are following. This is a shift, as previously these specialists only really featured in top-10 UK law firms; now the majority of firms with turnover of £200m+ have them in some capacity. This has created an opportunity to develop a team of pricing specialists and they do not all need to have a legal or accounting background. Many are accountants but it is increasingly becoming a relevant career path for non-accountants too.

We are also seeing a rise in regional opportunities (see our 'Regional Powerhouses' article below). In a continuing trend, a number of finance operations teams are moving out of London to the regions. There are good opportunities in the regions for experts as well as for those at junior levels to develop their careers. Those firms that now have part of the finance function outside of London will often question whether a replacement for a London-based role needs to be made in that location. Many finance functions are moving to the North, Midlands and Belfast.

There is also increasing movement of US firms into London, which is creating new finance roles here. US firms are an attractive proposition for many candidates, offering the feel of a smaller firm (including roles encompassing broader responsibilities) but within firms that have a global reach.

Candidates in demand


With a strong and consistent demand for good finance candidates both in London and the regions, there is an increasing willingness for firms to look for talent from outside law / professional services. Some firms are actively recruiting out of sector – to those who may have both the technical skills and wider commercial knowledge. Commercial skills in particular are well sought after. One challenge for these candidates is the move to a partnership environment, but it doesn’t take long. Totum is also on hand to help coach candidates through the interview and transition process.

We are always looking for qualified and part-qualified candidates – and for those studying towards professional qualifications law firms are often generous in providing financial support as well as time off.

Candidates need to be well rounded: accounting skills are rarely sufficient these days, law firms are also looking for talent that can liaise effectively across business functions even at junior levels. In fact, one of the huge positives about working in legal sector is the increasing exposure to senior staff and partners. The finance function is far from siloed – a typical example of this is Partners showing more interest in the numbers and so regularly asking finance for information and commercial insights rather than waiting to discuss them around the boardroom.

Finance functions in law tend to be very stable which often means less movement at Finance Director (FD) level – but interesting roles do come in, and when they do, they typically offer excellent leadership opportunities reflecting the high value law firms place in top finance professionals. There are good opportunities at mid to senior manager level, particularly for those with specialism in FP&A. And there are lots of roles at junior level for both qualified and part-qualified candidates.

This means that we are always looking for candidates who have commercial and strategic expertise, as well as those that are part-qualified / qualified. We are not just looking for candidates experienced in law, and are always interested in talking to candidates from other sectors. So, if you are interested in shifting to law, don’t feel that your non-law background necessarily counts you out. Talk to us and we can provide guidance that will help.

This also goes to all of you who are interested in discussing your career options. Don’t feel we are only relevant for when you are actively seeking work. We are advisors too and are always happy to chat through market trends or career considerations more broadly. As you’ll see from our blog pieces, we’re as happy to talk about securing your next promotion as seeking a new job. Success for us means supporting candidates to make the right decisions for you and your career – because that’s what ultimately underpins the best recruitment matches.

If you would be interested in having a chat about any aspect of your career going forwards, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line.

Martyn Draper



Finance leaders in law
In a piece recently published in ILFM's Legal Abacus magazine, we examine why the future of law may just lie in the hands of the accountants.



State of play: The landscape for legal finance candidates
Today's legal finance candidates need to be more than just good with their figures...



Regional powerhouses
Recent developments in the legal industry and providing a wealth of opportunities for business services professionals, including finance candidates. 




Senior Management Accountant
Great opportuntity to help shape the direction of reporting and financial planning, and to develop and add value to the firm's Management Information. 


Head of Financial Operations
Reporting into the CFO and leading a department of c. 30 staff , this is a senior managerial role at one of the City's leading law firms.




A significant number of our candidates come via referrals from clients and candidates. If you know a friend or colleague who might be appropriate for the roles we handle, please let us know. If we place these people, we would like you to benefit. 

Click here for more details.




For further information on our expertise or for more detail of specific opportunities in Totum's finance function, please contact Martyn Draper.

Click here to view Martyn's biography


Alternatively contact Dee Deol, who specialises in more junior qualified and part-qualified finance roles.

Click here to view Dee's biography


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