CM Murray LLP is delighted to share the first in its Law Firm Founder Conversations podcast series, in which Managing Partner Clare Murray discusses all things Law Firm Founder with Laura Devine, Founder and Managing Partner of leading international immigrational law specialists, Laura Devine Solicitors (LDS), with offices in London and New York.

LDS has top tier rankings in the legal directories and Laura herself is the recipient of international awards both as an immigration specialist and as a very successful entrepreneur.

Listen to the podcast here

Watch a short video preview here

In their conversation, Clare and Laura cover a lot of ground discussing, from their first-hand experience, some of the opportunities and challenges of setting up, growing and managing a law firm, including:

  • Why set up your own law firm and why, as a founder, it is important to have a clear strategic vision and focus (@1:28 mins)
  • Reconciling the tension between protecting the culture of your firm and building its growth (@5:24 mins)
  • Self-funding vs external borrowing: What resources and funding are needed to set up and grow a law firm? (@6:54 mins)
  • The importance for law firm founders to build robust infrastructure and take external advice (@9:20 mins)
  • Issues in international growth and opening a US office (@11 mins)
  • How to encourage female and ethnic minority lawyers as future law firm founders (@14.38 mins)
  • With the benefit of hindsight as a law firm founder, what would you do differently? (@19:18 mins)
  • Managing the regulatory burden of setting up and running a law firm (@20:22 mins)
  • Handling the stress of being a founder and maintaining personal mental and physical well-being (21:30 mins)
  • Tips and helpful attributes for those considering starting up their own firm (@26:26 mins)
  • Cash is queen! (@29:30 mins)

We hope you enjoy listening to this first Law Firm Founder Conversations podcast, and if you do please do like, subscribe and share.

If you are thinking of setting up a new law firm, or are expanding to take your firm’s growth to the next level, and would like to discuss any related partnership or employment law infrastructure issues with us, please do get in touch with Clare Murray.

Listen to the latest Professional Practices Alliance webinar recording, in which Chair Claire Watkins (Buzzacott), and speakers Zulon Begum (CM Murray LLP), Corinne Staves (Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP), James Currie (Buzzacott), and Rob Millard (Cambridge Strategy Group) discuss:

  • How important it is for firms and partners to understand that taking advantage of the transitional period for the Base Period reform could result in their paying substantially more income tax than expected – it could mean spreading profits of the transitional year across the following five years (with the prospect of paying unknown higher tax rates in those years on those profits), rather than spreading the crystallised tax over those five years;
  • The need for partners to have a clear understanding of the extent to which they and their firm are (or in many cases are not) presently fully reserved against the partner’s individual tax liability – and to ensure that the firm has not just reserved and set monies aside against the partner’s upcoming payment due in January and July 2022, but also against the tax payments that will be due subsequently;
  • The Basis Period reform could consequently bring a lot of under-reserved partner tax balances home to roost, and is important for firms and partners to start cash flow scenario planning now, and to consider the range of funding options available to finance the additional tax and national insurance burden if needed in due course; and
  • The impact of the changes on for senior employees in LLPs, and the ways in which firms can make potential FSP and future EP status (and capital contribution) as attractive and engaging as possible to individuals who may only see risk and loss of employment security; and
  • The key changes that firms should consider making to their constitutions now, which will equip them to act very quickly if they need to raise money or conserve cash in future at short notice.

Listen to the recording here: Will firms run out of cash and what should they do about it? – Professional Practices Alliance Webinar Recording

You can also register for upcoming PPA webinars below:

3 November 2021: Things we learnt in the pandemic – re-envisioning your firm’s strategy and structure post-pandemic and taking your partners with you. We plan to trial a hybrid session so that attendees can choose whether to attend virtually or in person – register here

1 December 2021: ESG and professional services firms – register here

PSF Leaders – can you answer all three questions in the affirmative and with confidence for the whole of your firm?

1. Does the firm genuinely care about my wellbeing?
2. Will the partners have empathy and be authentic leaders?
3. Will I have flexible working options?

If yes, fabulous. If not, start asking why not?

It is vital to the ongoing success of professional services firms that partner performance is actively and effectively monitored and managed. Getting it right is likely to lead to increased partner satisfaction, retention levels and firm profitability. Getting it wrong could give rise to disgruntled partners, avoidable departures, exposure to the risk of claims and an adverse impact on the firm’s reputation in the market.

In this alert, my excellent colleagues Wonu Sanda and Beth Hale highlight the key points to consider when dealing with partner performance and provide some practical tips on how firms can implement and navigate a partner performance evaluation and management process effectively, whilst minimising the risks to the firm:

Great Investigations webinar this morning (14 September) on the Rationale and Architecture of Investigations, featuring Dame Laura Cox, Beth Hale, Elizabeth Prochaska and David Smellie.

These were some of my favourite bits:

  • A good investigation restores trust and rebuilds relationships. But botched investigations can have catastrophic results – beyond the harmful impact on individuals – including reputational damage.
  • Must be robust and full, but avoid irrelevancies.
  • Needs independent, impartial investigator.
  • Report should be clear and succinct with clear recommendations.
  • Good investigations can enhance reputation.
  • Regulators will welcome a thorough investigation.



  • Must have clear aims and objectives.
  • Terms of reference, incl. scope and methodology, must be articulated right at the start. Ideally agreed.


  • Inquisitive process – what are issues and allegations?
  • What materials and interviews needed?
  • How to ensure fairness?
  • Give subject(s) opportunity to respond to conclusions before publishing report.
  • Don’t overlook proper counselling, especially for alleged victims or witnesses. Be alert to re-traumatising victims.


  • Investigator needs: Professionalism, integrity, reliability, independence, impartiality, objectivity.
  • They must be flexible, quick thinking & good at problem solving.
  • Specialist skills sometimes also needed.
  • Avoid confirmation bias.
  • Keep calm.
  • Report should be accurate – silly mistakes (e.g. typos) could undermine the report.
  • Transparency and/or publication lends credibility, where possible. Be aware of confidentiality and data protection risks.
  • Vital to follow up report’s recommendations. Cultural change takes time and must endure.

This webinar is part of the 11KBW & CM Murray LLP Investigations Virtual Conference, running from 14 – 27 September and 4 October, 2021. To find out more about upcoming sessions in the conference click here.

A fifth of lawyers in the UK claimed to have suffered sexual harassment or bullying at work, according to research by The Times published last August. The SRA also disclosed that complaints to the regulator of sexual harassment in the workplace have risen steeply in recent years, with 117 active cases related to sexual misconduct being dealt with as at June 2020.

What can law firms do to prevent such behaviour?

Recently my colleagues Emma Bartlett and Sophie Rothwell wrote an article for The Global Legal Post on best practice steps for law firms and partners to mitigate against an increase in misconduct and harassment issues:

Sexual harassment and bullying – what can law firms do to prevent it?

Herewith an article that I co-authored with my old friend and colleague Hermann Knott, on the different experiences of practicing in a large law firm versus a small one. As the title observes, it’s a multi-faceted issue:

Large versus smaller law firms – a multi-faceted choice

HMRC have released a consultation proposing that all self-employed businesses will be taxed on profits earned in a tax year, rather than on the profits of the accounting year ending in that tax year.

Under the current system, if a partnership’s year end does not tie in with the UK tax year end, when an individual joins that partnership, some profits may be taxed twice.

HMRC’s proposal is to remove the existing basis period rules and change to a ‘tax year basis’, which would mean the profit or loss for the business is the profit or loss arising in the tax year, regardless of the accounting date. This will prevent overlap profits from accruing in the future and will result in offset of any unused overlap profits for those in business when the change is made.

James Currie, Senior Manager at Buzzacott, outlines how the proposal will affect self-employed partners, when the new rules are set to be implemented, and how they will operate. Read the full article here.

Partners of professional practices spend their entire careers focused on protecting the interests of their clients.  This can sometimes be at the expense of their own planning.

We are pleased to share with you the recording from our recent Professional Practices Alliance (PPA) expert discussion, ‘Personal Risk Management for Partners’.

In this podcast recording, you can hear Chair, Corinne Staves (Partner and Head of Professional Practices, Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP) and panel speakers, Rachel O’Donoghue (Partner and Head of Financial Planning, Buzzacott LLP), James Currie (Senior Tax Manager, Buzzacott LLP), David Shufflebotham (Founder,, Fiona Poole (Partner, Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP) and Beth Hale (Partner and General Counsel, CM Murray LLP) explore the actions that all partners should be considering and the extent to which firms should be involved in personal risk management.

Listen to the full recording