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Legal Practice Manager Job Description

Written by: Evie Courtier
Published on: 12 Sep 2023

Practice Manager

  • Within this Legal Practice Manager job description, we will dive into commonly asked questions about the role of a Practice Manager, including: ‘what does a Practice Manager do?’, and ‘how much does a Practice Manager earn?’, discovering the requirements and rewards of Practice Manager jobs in further detail. 

  • What is a Practice Manager?

    A Legal Practice Manager is a legal professional responsible for overseeing the administrative and operational aspects of a law firm or legal department within a larger organisation. Working as Legal Practice Manager entails a crucial role in ensuring the efficient and smooth functioning of the legal practice.

  • What does a Practice Manager do?

    The specific duties and responsibilities of a Legal Practice Manager will vary depending on the size and type of legal practice. Working as a Practice Manager in a smaller firm, will see you take on a broader range of tasks, while in larger organisations, your role may be more specialised. Ultimately, their goal is to ensure that the legal practice operates efficiently, ethically, and in compliance with all applicable regulations while delivering high-quality legal services to clients.

    Day-to-day responsibilities will include the following:

     Financial Management: managing the financial aspects of the firm, including budgeting, financial reporting, and billing processes. The role often includes working closely with accountants or financial professionals to ensure compliance with financial regulations and monitor the firm's financial health.
     Human Resources: overseeing the recruitment, onboarding, and performance evaluation processes for legal staff. This includes hiring new attorneys, paralegals, and support staff, as well as overseeing training and professional development programs.
     Operations: handling the day-to-day operational aspects of the firm, such as office management, facilities, and technology - ensuring that the firm has the necessary resources and infrastructure to support its legal work.
     Client Relations: maintaining and enhancing client relationships. This can involve managing client communication, addressing concerns, and ensuring that clients receive high-quality legal services.
     Compliance: making sure that the firm complies with all relevant laws, regulations, and ethical standards. This includes overseeing compliance with legal industry regulations and codes of conduct.
     Strategic Planning: joining the firm's leadership to develop and implement strategic plans for the practice. This can include setting goals, identifying growth opportunities, and developing business strategies.
     Technology and Information Management: overseeing the adoption and utilisation of technology tools and software within the firm to streamline legal processes, improve efficiency, and enhance client service. They may also be responsible for data management and information security.
     Risk Management: identifying and mitigating potential risks to the firm, such as legal malpractice risks or cybersecurity threats, is an important aspect of their role.
     Administrative Support: overseeing administrative staff responsible for tasks like scheduling, document management, and client intake processes.
     Marketing and Business Development: the chance to be involved in marketing and business development efforts to attract new clients and grow the firm's client base.

  • How to become a Practice Manager:

    Achieving the title of Legal Practice Manager typically requires a combination of education, experience, and skills in both legal and business administration. Becoming a Legal Practice Manager requires a strong combination of legal knowledge and business acumen. It's a role that demands versatility and the ability to manage the complex operations of a legal practice while ensuring compliance with legal regulations and ethical standards.

    The basic steps to becoming a Practice Manager include:

    Educational Background:

    • Earn a Bachelor's Degree: start by obtaining a bachelor's degree in a relevant field. While not necessarily required, degrees in business administration, management, finance, or a related field can be beneficial
    • Consider Legal Education: while not mandatory, having a background in law or legal studies can be advantageous, as it helps you understand the legal context in which you will be working.

    Gain Legal Experience:

    • Work in a Legal Environment: it's essential to gain experience working in a law firm, legal department, or other legal setting. This experience will provide you with a solid understanding of legal processes and the unique challenges faced by legal professionals.
    • Paralegal Experience: working as a Paralegal first and foremost offers a common path to Legal Practice Manager roles. Paralegal work offers the chance to engage closely with lawyers, and gain valuable legal knowledge and skills.

    Develop Business and Management Skills:

    • Pursue Business Courses: consider taking courses or earning a master's degree in business administration (MBA) or a related field. This education will provide you with a strong foundation in business management and administration.
    • Management Experience: obtaining experience in management or leadership roles, even if they are not directly related to the legal field, demonstrates your ability to manage people and processes.

    Network in the Legal Field:

    • Building a network of contacts within the legal industry is essential. Attend legal conferences, join professional associations, and connect with legal professionals to learn about job opportunities and stay updated on industry trends.

    Apply for Legal Practice Manager Positions:

    • Look for job openings for Legal Practice Managers or related positions in law firms, corporate legal departments, or government agencies. Tailor your CV and cover letter to highlight your relevant legal and managerial experience.
    • Upload your CV to TotallyLegal today, and apply for the latest Legal Practice Manager jobs on site.

    Interview and Demonstrate Skills:

    • During interviews, emphasise your legal knowledge, management skills, and ability to handle the specific responsibilities of a Legal Practice Manager. Showcase your understanding of legal practice operations, financial management, and compliance.

    Continuing Education:

    • The legal field is continually evolving. Stay updated on changes in laws, regulations, and best practices by participating in continuing education programs and professional development opportunities.

  • What’s the typical Legal Practice Manager career path?

    The career path to becoming a Legal Practice Manager can vary depending on individual circumstances, educational background, and work experience. However, a linear route will see you advance from entry level positions like Paralegals, or Legal Administrative Assistants within law firms or legal departments, building expertise and knowledge, to managerial roles.

    As a Legal Practice Manager looking to progress within your career, you may choose to specialise in a particular area of law or legal operations. For example, you may become experts in Private Client, Financial Services, or Trusts/Investments/Funds. Specialisation can present you as a valuable asset in your organisation, potentially leading to leadership roles in specialised practice areas.

    Legal Practice Managers who excel in their roles may also be considered for leadership positions within their organisations. They may move up the ladder to become Chief Operating Officers (COOs) or Executive Directors, overseeing larger parts of the firm's operations or even the entire organisation.

    There’s also the option to transition your role outside of law firms. For example, you may move into legal operations management in corporations, legal consulting, or legal technology companies. These roles can offer diverse experiences and new challenges.

    In short, from continued learning and consultancy work, to business development and cross-functional roles, working as a Legal Practice Manager offers a range of diversified opportunities for progression.

  • How much does a Practice Manager earn?

    According to our latest Salary Survey, pay for Practice Managers rose 8% from 2022 figures, averaging a salary of £64,038 per annum. This statistic will vary per location, practice area, and seniority of role.

    A median of 62% of Practice Managers conduct a hybrid working schedule according to our survey, with 46% receiving an additional bonus this year.