The Rise of Specialist Career Paths in Law Firms
Katerina Menhennet, Catherine Hart, Lucy Hall, Clare Harman Clark, Amy Grunske, Rebecca Atkinson, Anne Macdonald, Rachel Brushfield, Hayley Geffin, Amy Monaghan, Tammy Heydenrych, Tom Evans, Nina Gramcko, Claire Shasha, Rebecca Holdredge
The Rise of Specialist Career Paths in Law Firms is the essential guide to the plethora of career opportunities available in law firms. It covers more established roles such as the professional support lawyer and pro bono professional, and new, emerging career paths, including in innovation and legal operations, as well as roles that will become available in the future. Written by experts with lived experience performing these roles, chapters provide information and insights into the different opportunities available, the skills needed to thrive in these positions, the responsibilities they entail and how to build careers in these spaces.
With increasing client demands and the ‘talent war’ raging, this title will demonstrate how implementing these specialist career paths will enable law firms to continue to provide stellar client service and develop and retain top legal talent, who are increasingly looking for more tailored and flexible career options. It will also provide individual lawyers with the resource to identify and pursue the career that suits them best, allowing them to thrive to the benefit of both the individuals and their firms.
Table of Contents
|About the authors||xiii|
|Chapter 1: The role of the professional support lawyer||1|
|The “traditional” professional support role and how this emerged||1|
|How the role has developed||2|
|The skills required to be an effective PSL||4|
|How professional support differs from the more traditional legal role of fee earning||6|
|Chapter 2: Career paths for professional support lawyers||9|
|Diverse routes a professional support lawyer (PSL) can take over his or her career||9|
|PSL career structures in law firms||9|
|Flat structure of PSLs in law firms||10|
|Senior roles for PSLs within law firms||10|
|Roles for PSLs outside law firms||12|
|Chapter 3: The evolution of knowledge management – meeting the future||15|
|History of KM||15|
|Functions of legal KM||16|
|Knowing the future||20|
|Chapter 4: Pro bono management||21|
|What is pro bono?||21|
|How many dedicated pro bono roles are available?||21|
|What responsibilities are included in the role?||23|
|What are the usual job titles for dedicated pro bono roles?||25|
|What skills do I need to be a pro bono professional?||26|
|What is a typical day like in a pro bono role?||29|
|What support is available for pro bono professionals?||31|
|How do I become a pro bono professional?||34|
|Chapter 5: Risk and compliance||39|
|Areas of practice||39|
|How are risk and compliance teams structured in law firms?||40|
|What roles are there?||42|
|What skills and attributes are needed for roles in risk and compliance?||50|
|What knowledge and qualifications are needed and what training can be undertaken?||51|
|Career progression routes||52|
|What does the future look like?||53|
|Chapter 6: How to create a successful career in legal business development||55|
|How do you embed a culture of business development throughout your firm?||55|
|Making the switch||56|
|The benefits of bringing legal experience to business development||58|
|What about career paths?||59|
|You have to see it to be it||60|
|Chapter 7: The shifting sands in talent management||63|
|Impact of COVID-19||63|
|Careers and role options||64|
|How to choose your HR talent specialism||66|
|Qualifications and routes into talent management||66|
|Emerging in-demand skills to perform talent roles||67|
|Marketing, branding, and networking in the talent management space||68|
|My path into talent management||69|
|Summary and conclusions||70|
|Chapter 8: Communications – bringing brand to life||71|
|Growing a team||74|
|The sky’s the limit||75|
|Chapter 9: Oh the places you’ll go: careers in legal innovation||77|
|My path to my role||77|
|Leading innovation in a law firm||79|
|New and emerging roles in legal innovation||82|
|Chapter 10: Legal operations – transforming the way legal services are delivered||85|
|Solving the challenge of legal’s value gap||85|
|So, what is legal operations?||86|
|The growth of legal operations||86|
|Legal operations taxonomy||89|
|Building your legal operations career||93|
|Mindset over skillset||95|
|Chapter 11: The role of legal engineers||97|
|What do legal engineers do?||98|
|What skills should legal engineers have?||100|
|Does every law firm need legal engineers?||103|
|What do law firms need to create the role of a legal engineer?||103|
|Chapter 12: The emerging world of ESG||107|
|What is ESG?||107|
|ESG specific roles in the legal sector||109|
|What can you do to pivot?||111|
|Chapter 13: Hyperspecialization: how the Digital Revolution will lead to new legal careers||117|
|The Digital Revolution: impact on the legal industry||118|
|The Digital Revolution: digital maturity leads to hyperspecialized roles||120|
|About Globe Law and Business||125|
Rebecca Atkinson is director of risk and compliance at Howard Kennedy. She leads the firm’s internal risk and compliance function and sets the related strategy. Rebecca is a skilled risk and compliance professional with over a decade of experience ensuring businesses are compliant. She is the firm’s compliance officer for legal practice, money laundering reporting officer, money laundering compliance officer, anti-bribery officer, and whistleblowing officer. She additionally holds the position of data protection officer alongside head of technology and security Jonathan Freedman. Rebecca is a barrister (non-practicing), New York attorney and solicitor of England and Wales. Rebecca has authored two books (Assessing and Addressing Risk and Compliance in Your Law Firm and Financial Crime A Compliance Manual) and regularly produces written content for compliance publications, as well as Practice Notes for Practical Law Company. Rebecca sits on the Board for the Law Society Legal Compliance Bulletin and is a Member of the Law Society Regulatory Processes Committee.
Founder of EnergiseLegal (1997), Rachel Brushfield is “The Talent Liberator”, with over 30 years’ experience. Her career heritage is in marketing and brand strategy and communications for design, advertising, and innovation agencies, including WPP. She is an experienced coach and published author in talent management, professional development, work life balance, career management, marketing yourself, and gender balance for the Law Society, Ark Group and Globe Law and Business (in association with The International Bar Association (IBA)). Rachel features on LexisNexis “Meet the expert” page and was a judge in the Marketing and Communications category of the 2019 Law Society Excellence Awards. She is co-founder of the network PWHub for senior employed women in Oxfordshire, with portfolio careers a specialism. Rachel has supported the Law Society Returners course for over a decade. Her portfolio career currently includes a part-time contract for the charity ProAge – age inclusive intelligence for managers and leaders for productive and high-performance intergenerational working.
Tom Evans is a legal operations consultant and an alumni of NRF Transform’s Business and Legal Operations Graduate Scheme. Tom has worked across an extensive range of legal operations disciplines including resource management, innovation and legal product development, supporting both Norton Rose Fulbright as well as its clients. Tom now advises solely on helping in-house legal departments to improve the way that they operate, and has worked on projects spanning strategic planning, technology implementation, external resource management, and document automation. Tom’s experience has covered teams of varying sizes, across energy, financial services, and heavy industry clients. Having previously worked as a paralegal, case manager, and a recruitment consultant, Tom is passionate about promoting alternative career paths in the legal industry, and the value that novel skillsets can bring to the legal industry as a whole.
Hayley Geffin is head of communications at Mishcon de Reya. She joined the firm in 2010 having worked in publishing and editorial roles prior to that. She has extensive experience of advising on corporate communications and works across public relations, editorial, marketing and brand campaigns, and social media. She also leads on internal communications. She works alongside lawyers to provide clients with communications advice including in relation to crisis communications, group actions, and crowdfunding. Hayley was part of the team that brought the Article 50 legal challenge on behalf of Gina Miller in 2016, handling communications and media for both Mrs Miller and the firm.
Nina Gramcko is a lawyer and manager at PwC Legal Germany. In the NewLaw team, she helps create business solutions for clients that integrate people, technology, and processes. She graduated from Berlin’s Humboldt University and also studied at the University of Málaga. She passed the bar in 2016. She started her career helping to create a new legal and digital world in 2010, when she joined flightright GmbH at the dawn of legal tech and alternative legal services in Germany as head of operations. Before joining PwC Germany she worked as a lawyer and legal engineer at an international law firm and consultant for lawtech implementations and legal project management and legal process management.
Amy Grunske is the head of international pro bono, sustainability and community responsibility at Orrick based in London, leading the pro bono practice in the firm’s 12 offices across the UK, Continental Europe, and Asia. She builds strong partnerships and networks across sectors to collaboratively develop high impact pro bono projects that use the law, policy, and advocacy as tools for social change and development in areas such as access to justice, human rights, and rule of law. Amy is an Australianqualified lawyer, holds graduate and post-graduate degrees in the areas of law, human rights, and psychology, and has worked in the pro bono sector for over a decade.
Lucy Hall is the client value lawyer in the project development and finance EMEA team at Shearman & Sterling LLP, based in London. This is a strategic role in which she is responsible for knowledge management for the team. She writes and delivers internal and client training, and is heavily involved in legal technology and process improvement. She also undertakes significant projects and develops strategies in certain key sectors, such as energy innovation and hydrogen. Lucy supports the PDF EMEA team and works closely with the client value team, knowledge and research team, legal project management team, and legal technology team globally. She authored the chapter on “What tech is best?” in The Evolving Role of the Professional Support Lawyer (Ark Publishing, now part of Globe Law and Business, 2018). Lucy is an experienced knowledge professional and has previously worked as a senior professional support lawyer at Eversheds Sutherland, Hogan Lovells, and Mayer Brown over the past five years. Prior to that, Lucy trained and qualified into the banking and finance team at Mayer Brown in London and worked as a fee earner there for ten years.
Clare Harman Clark is a senior professional support lawyer at Taylor Wessing LLP, building on a legal career that began with nearly a decade practicing commercial property law at Clifford Chance and a period at Russell Cooke. Honing a professional focus on knowledge management, she is also the chair of the Law Society Property Section, the national community for commercial and residential practitioners, and has recently taken up a role on the editorial board of the Landlord and Tenant Review. She also works as a guest lecturer on the LPC course at the University of Westminster. Before retraining as a lawyer, Clare worked as a journalist, on both private B2B publications and within a government press office, and still regularly publishes articles in national and trade press.
Catherine Hart is a qualified solicitor who practices in Scotland and has been in the profession for 30 years. She worked as a fee earner in litigation teams for the first half of her career, but the direction of her career changed around 15 years ago when she took up a role as a professional support lawyer. She worked for Biggart Ballie LLP (now DWF LLP) for seven years, before joining Digby Brown LLP, a firm that specializes in personal injury claims. Catherine is now a partner and head of professional support at Digby Brown LLP. She has spoken at a number of events about the importance of professional support, a topic she is passionate about, and has also written about the role. Catherine has been a tutor and senior tutor on several courses on the Diploma in Professional Legal Practice at Glasgow University for over a decade and is still involved in the Diploma in a non-teaching role. She is also a vice chair of the Scottish Solicitors’ Discipline Tribunal and has an interest in regulation and compliance.
Tammy Heydenrych is a managing consultant within Norton Rose Fulbright’s legal operations consulting practice. A first of its kind within a global law firm, legal operations consulting sits within NRF Transform – the firm’s technology and innovation program – and helps GCs and in-house legal teams optimize the delivery of legal services to their organizations. Tammy was formerly the group company secretary and senior legal advisor for Zurich Insurance’s Southern African operations, overseeing corporate governance across multiple jurisdictions and delivering various strategic projects within both legal and compliance and across the broader business. Tammy began her career as a litigation and commercial lawyer, practicing across areas such as insurance, banking, and constitutional law, representing the interests of political parties, government departments, and corporate entities. With over 18 years’ experience within professional services, corporate and start-up environments, Tammy has extensive expertise in corporate governance, strategy formulation, operational design, and delivering business transformation projects. She holds an MBA, an LLB, is a chartered company secretary and certified project manager.
As the director of knowledge management at Levenfeld Pearlstein, Rebecca Holdredge is responsible for guiding the firm’s vision with respect to knowledge management and innovation. In her role, Rebecca manages the firm’s knowledge sharing and collaboration tools internally and externally and works closely with attorneys and other business professionals to address unmet client needs, streamline operations, and leverage data to optimize client value. Given her unique background as an attorney and actuary, Rebecca’s passion lies at the intersection of business and law, helping law firms reimagine how they deliver legal services by creatively blending change management, product management, and user experience techniques. With over 20 years of experience in professional services, she often lectures and publishes on topics including knowledge management, innovation, law firm operations and economics, pricing, and design thinking. Rebecca graduated from Tulane University Law School and holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and computer science from Washington University in St. Louis. She co-founded a non-profit, BluePrint Legal Solutions, whose mission is to bridge the gap between technology, process improvement, and access to justice by helping non-profit legal service providers improve the quality and efficiency of their services.
Anne Macdonald is an equity partner with Harper Macleod LLP, a full service independent Scottish law firm. Anne is the head of the business development team and has 15 years’ experience of business development in the legal profession, specializing in client engagement and development strategies to secure sustainable relationships for the firm. Anne has a particular focus on inter-law firm relationships and client referrals and set up a Scottish legal referral and support network called HM Connect in 2008. HM Connect has over 390 small to medium-sized Scottish law firm members that refer clients to Harper Macleod on a daily basis. Anne is responsible for managing global law firm relationships and creating best friend relationships around the world. Anne is a senior officer of the IBA Law Firm Management Committee (LFMC) and past chair of the business development and marketing sub-committee of the LFMC. Closer to home, Anne served for six years as a council member of the Law Society of Scotland and is the convenor of the Law Society of Scotland client protection sub-committee.
Amy Monaghan is director of client innovation at Perkins Coie and serves as co-chair of the firmwide innovation working group. In her role, she collaborates with clients, attorneys, and firm leadership to further strategic client-driven innovation objectives, including new legal service delivery models and corresponding firm business models. Amy leads a growing team of legal innovators and technologists and has been integrally involved in the firm’s participation in innovative law school programs, such as the Institute for the Future of the Law Profession. Amy frequently speaks and writes on legal innovation topics and volunteers with the International Legal Technology Association (ILTA) as team lead for the knowledge management and marketing content team. She has been named a “Young Professional to Watch” by ILTA for two consecutive years and co-led the project team that won ILTA’s 2020 “Transformative Project of the Year”. Amy graduated from Chicago-Kent College of Law in 2013 and holds a fine arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Outside of work, she continues her visual arts practice and enjoys exploring the Pacific Northwest with her husband and rescue greyhounds. Amy is passionate about using creative problem solving to help improve legal work and client service, as well as empowering everyone to be innovative.
Claire Shasha is a legal, risk, compliance, and governance expert who is passionate about ESG and D&I. Claire holds a master’s degree in psychology and has been a qualified solicitor for over 13 years. She has lived and worked in the Middle East and the US and has ten years’ experience in the financial services sector. Claire has worked as in-house counsel for Sun Life Financial of Canada, Vitality, and Bupa and has held a variety of roles including head of legal, head of risk, head of legal risk and most recently ESG manager. She co-ran a grass roots diversity and inclusion forum for Bupa, which held events including “How to have Compassionate Conversations with Dr Nancy Dome” and “Building Resilience with Katie Piper”. Claire is an avid ballroom dancer and has competed at Blackpool. She also enjoys walking and is embarking on walking the entire Camino de Santiago pilgrims trail in 2022.