I attended Lawtech UK’s “GenerativeAI Series: Roadmap to 2030” event held at the Law Society earlier this week, with panels expertly chaired by Christina Blacklaws (she/her) and Richard Susskind. I was amazed though to hear that almost all legal tech start-ups aim their businesses at in-house legal departments and SMEs – not law firms. The few that do work with law firms focus effort on limited point solutions, explicitly not anything disruptive of business models. Law firms, I was told, are simply not interested in those kinds of tools.

The time will come (I believe quite soon) when law firms either become interested in these, or lose vast swathes of hybrid tech/human work that could be well profitable if delivered with business models better aligned with their performance drivers than the century-old billable hour, “Tournament of Lawyers” business model.

Our deck “The Sixth Generation Law Firm” shows how. It can be downloaded via the link here. If you find the deck useful, please feel free to pass it on.

In this Ten-Minute Talk, CM Murray Partners Corinne Staves and Zulon Begum speak with legal recruitment expert Stephen Rodney, founder of IntoGreat Coaching, about how to ensure the effective integration of lateral partner hires in law firms.

Key discussion points from this Ten-Minute Talk:

  • How effective are lateral hires within law firms overall? Are firms and individuals getting it right and what improvements can be made to increase their return on investment?
  • Common trends with partner exits involving lateral hires, including factors such as failure to integrate culturally or poor performance
  • The importance of a strategic plan at the outset, during the lateral hire recruitment process
  • The key elements of integration coaching for lateral hires, including:
    • Business plan vs an integration plan
    • Integration of the lateral’s clients and building profile, both internally and externally
    • Understanding the firm’s culture
    • Establishing how success will be judged
  • How can existing frameworks (such as the LLP deed, appraisal criteria, policies and performance metrics) work to support the integration of lateral hires into the firm?
  • The critical value of the hire being seen as a two-way process between the firm and the individual
  • What does success look like for both the firm and the individual?  

If you have any questions in relation to lateral hire integrations, please contact Corinne Staves or Zulon Begum.

CheckYourLLPAgreement – Online Tool:

Use CM Murray LLP’s free online tool to help review and update your LLP agreement, ensuring it is robust, aligned with best practice and agile. You can access the tool here.

In this podcast recording, Partner Zulon Begum and leading international law firm management consultant, Moray McLaren discuss new research by the IBA’s Law Firm Management Committee (LFMC) which explores recent trends in partner profit sharing, remuneration and reward. The research has been published by Harvard Law School and is available here.

Key discussion points from this podcast recording:

  • Is there such a thing as a ‘perfect partner’ and how do you define them?
  • Gaining a better definition of partner contribution with an increasing adoption of non-financial performance indicators
  • Introducing clearer guard rails and ensuring there is a fair process
  • Diffusing tensions around partner remuneration discussions and avoiding barriers to change
  • Providing leadership with “teeth” by revisiting and reinforcing governance
  • Moving from partner evaluation to partner development
  • A look to the future – how AI will move the goals posts on partner contribution and remuneration

If you have any questions arising from this podcast recording please contact Partner Zulon Begum.

CheckYourLLPAgreement – Online Tool:

Use our free online tool to help review and update your LLP agreement, ensuring it is robust, aligned with best practice and agile. You can access the tool here.

In this Ten-Minute Talk, CM Murray’s Partner Zulon Begum and Managing Partner Clare Murray discuss LLP agreements, focusing on how firms should update their agreements in preparation for a merger.

Key takeaways from this Ten-Minute Talk:

  • The three common ‘gaps’ in LLP Agreements in relation to potential future mergers or transactions are usually (i) unachievable decision-making thresholds for approving a merger/transaction, (ii) lack of clarity on how any capital proceeds will be distributed and (iii) how dissenting partners can be addressed in a manner that avoids the transaction being thwarted;
  • Failure to address constitutional gaps can mean that firms may miss out on any merger opportunities that arise as they are not able to move forward quickly enough; and
  • An obvious ‘work-around’ is to amend the LLP Agreement during a merger process; however, this can be a high-risk strategy and may leave the firm open to challenge by disgruntled partners.

You can access CM Murray LLP’s CheckYourLLPAgreement tool here.

In this Ten-Minute Talk, Managing Partner Clare Murray and Partner Zulon Begum discuss LLP agreements, with a particular focus on partner remuneration.

Key takeaways from this Ten-Minute Talk:

  • The importance of ensuring the firm’s partner remuneration system, metrics and procedures are clearly documented within the LLP Agreement and any associated policies and allow for a degree of flexibility to respond to issues such as exceptional performance or partner absences and reduced working time  
  • Current areas of focus for firms relating to partner remuneration include (i) ensuring remuneration systems encourage high performance and incentivise transition to higher tiers (e.g., fixed share to equity), (ii) aligning partner KPIs with firm strategy and (iii) ensuring a fair, transparent and clearly documented appraisal process, including an appeal mechanism in appropriate circumstances
  • Key trends in partner remuneration systems and how they are developing; firms with modified lockstep systems are placing a greater degree of emphasis on rewarding individual performance

Most ambitious law firms include merger as one potential route to achieve their growth plans, whether by way of acquisition of smaller, strategically relevant firms or a ‘merger of equals’.  

Please join us during the afternoon of 29 November as we gather law firm leaders for a workshop on law firm mergers.

The event will include:
Key-note address on the findings of an extensive, cutting-edge PhD research project into the drivers of success across 73 large law firm mergers that took place between 2004 and 2017.
Fireside chat between expert merger advisers, including how to achieve a successful merger and why potential mergers fail.
Interactive group discussion on handling common issues which arise during the merger process, and the challenges of managing and communicating with the wider partner group.
Places are limited to ensure the group is small enough to generate meaningful discussion among peers.
Event details:
Date: 29 November 2023

14.00 – registration opens
14.30 – event begins
18.00 – close and networking drinks

Venue: The Bingham Room, The Honourable Society of Gray’s Inn, 8 South Square, London, WC1R 5ET
Please RSVP here.
Who should attend?

  • Managing and senior partners
  • CEOs
  • FDs/CFOs
  • Law firm board/executive committee members

Zulon BegumCorinne Staves and Andrew Pavlovic of CM Murray LLP
Robert Millard of Cambridge Strategy Group
We look forward to welcoming you to this event.

In this Ten-(ish) Minute Talk, Managing Partner Clare Murray and Partner Zulon Begum discuss the key aspects of LLP agreements that professional services firms should consider updating in the current market, as well as showcasing our new online tool, CheckYourLLPAgreement.

In this video, Clare and Zulon discuss:

  • Why should firms care about their LLP agreements in the current economic market?
  • The importance of treating your LLP agreement as a living document, reviewing it regularly and ensuring it evolves in parallel with your partnership and strategy to reflect current and future business needs
  • Considerations to ensure nimble and flexible decision making, enabling your firm to respond to market opportunities or partner behavioural challenges effectively
  • How your LLP agreement can be calibrated to help manage cashflow and the impact of Basis Period Reform on firms
  • A preview of our brand new GC online tool, CheckYourLLPAgreement. The free, interactive tool will help GCs and management teams in professional services firms ensure their LLP agreement is robust, competitive, appropriate and in line with best practice

Listen to the recording of the recent Professional Practices Alliance webinar, Moving The ESG Needle For Law Firms – Deciding What Matters And What Can Be Achieved, in which our expert panel discuss how professional practices priorities are shifting regarding ESG. 

In this webinar recording, our chair Andrew Pavlovic, (CM Murray LLP), Rob Millard (Cambridge Strategy Group), Zulon Begum (CM Murray LLP) and Sarah Chilton (CM Murray LLP) discuss the following:

  • Materiality – how firms should determine their priorities when it comes to ESG, as firms move away from focussing on their own emissions and are now increasingly considering the environmental impact of their client work
  • Stakeholders – the importance of identifying key stakeholders and carefully considering and incorporating their interests into your ESG strategy
  • Client Selection – taking a nuanced approach when considering whether or not to act for clients whose ESG-related aims and values may not wholly align with that of your firm, balancing business needs, the concept of access to justice, and whether firms can use their expertise and experience to mitigate any potential negative impacts of their advice
  • Remuneration – the increasing shift towards incorporating elements of non-financial performance (i.e. alignment with and adherence to firms’ ESG-related policies) into partner assessment and remuneration policies
  • Risk Management – the risk of discrimination claims under the Equality Act 2010 where, for example, a member of staff is treated less favourably and/or harassed because of their beliefs on climate change

If you would like to discuss any of the above issues in further detail, please contact Partner, Andrew Pavlovic, who specialises in regulatory law and professional discipline matters for firms and partners.

An international merger can create a sensational headline when two prominent global law firms join forces or when two single-jurisdiction firms merge to expand their reach or safeguard their operations, such as IP firms seeking a presence in continental Europe after Brexit. Nonetheless, mergers entail more than simply a partner or team moving from one firm to another; they involve the integration of two entire businesses, or at least the majority of them.

While international law firm mergers share some similarities with mergers between two law firms based solely in the UK, there are notable distinctions and complexities that must be addressed to ensure a successful merger on an international scale.

In this article for Solicitors Journal, CM Murray Partner Corinne Staves discusses the key considerations for law firms to ensuring a successful international merger: https://www.solicitorsjournal.com/sjarticle/navigating-the-challenges-of-international-law-firm-mergers

Non-contentious partnership law specialist Zulon Begum, Partner at CM Murray LLP, recently joined Robert Bata, Founder and Principal of WarwickPlace Legal, LLC and Murray Coffey, Founder of M Coffey LLC, for their podcast GMT: The Podcast For Globally Minded Law Firm Leaders, to discuss law firm mergers, international expansion and provide an overview of recent market trends.

In this podcast episode, Zulon, Robert and Murray discuss:

  • A&O and Shearman & Stirling: what impact will this game changing merger have on the legal market?
  • The importance of controlling communications and the narrative around a merger
  • Law firm global expansion and the challenges and opportunities for international firms
  • Whether independent national law firms will need to re-think their strategy in an increasingly consolidated global legal services market
  • Analysis of recent global market trends, including India’s opening up to foreign law firms 

If you are a partnership or LLP and are considering a merger and would like to find out about how we can support you through the process, or if you have any other questions arising from this podcast, please contact non-contentious partnership law specialist, Zulon Begum.