Managing Partners’ Forum Strategy Summit

Thanks to the Managing Partners’ Forum  Strategy Summit at haysmacintyre earlier this week. My takeaways from the insightful facilitators and panellists were:

  • Recruitment of lawyers is down on previous years whereas business support is up
    • Increase in tax hires in law firms
    • Increase in marketing roles (exceeding 2019 numbers)
    • Whilst training/learning roles shrunk compared to 2019 there was an increase in employee relations roles
    • Legal sector recruitment is higher in the regions than in London
  • The quarterly trends tracker for professional services shows very high levels of confidence and 78% plan headcount increases
    • Remote working has not increased productivity (most work about half their time from home)
    • People and finance carry most weight in partner discussions with priorities in increasing operational efficiency and people skills
  • Strategic choices of “doing the right things” led to better performance than those “doing things right” (the old efficiency vs effectiveness debate)
    • Performance depends on execution as much as strategic choices
    • Generative AI regarded more as a threat than opportunity by the legal sector
    • AI will impact service lines differently so boutique firms will have an advantage as they can focus on a limited number of services
    • Technology is a leveller – all firms have the same access
  • Talent acquisition and development is a key concern
    • Entrepreneurial attitudes and skills are in demand
    • Careers are no longer linear
  • Three year rolling business plans should be reviewed every six months
  • External equity could cause significant disruption

My conclusions were:

  • The focus (hysteria) on the impact of generative AI appears to be from a short-term process efficiency perspective rather than fundamental innovation in business model or value creation
  • Broader market disruption and client-centricity appear to have been eclipsed by AI

Chair: Rachel Holmes (Matrix Chambers)

Speakers: James Chaplin (VacancySoft), Richard Chaplin (Managing Partners’ Forum), Derek Klyhn (PSFI)

Panel members: Neville Eisenberg, Natasha Frangos (haysmacintyre), Derek Southall (Hyperscale Group)

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