The role of Practice Manager

Published: 15 May 2017

Shaking Hands

Practice Managers are the operational backbone of any law firm, providing a demandingly diverse skills mix ranging from people management and marketing to finance, facilities and administration. Responsible for the seamless daily running of the practice, this is a roll-up-your-sleeves role that requires commercial awareness and first-class co-ordination and communication skills. So you’ll be as adept at motivating secretarial staff and dealing with suppliers as supporting clients and strategising with senior partners.

And because the business buck also stops with you, solid accounts experience - including book-keeping, billing, account reconciliation and debt recovery – is essential. Specific knowledge of case management systems and Lexcel and SRA compliance can also give you the edge.

The scope and seniority of Practice Manager jobs vary widely among firms, so expect starting salaries of £20,000 for admin-led positions up to senior-level packages reaching £70,000.

Here’s a tiny taste of the nine to five:  

Finance and accounts

  • Finance administration and reporting, including billing, cash flow, credit control, banking,  P&L and annual accounts
  • Monthly payroll and employee tax payments
  • Setting financial targets, forecasts, budgets and KPIs
  • Tax, VAT and Solicitors’ Accounts Rules compliance duties

HR and recruitment

  • Staff recruitment at every stage - from sourcing talent to CV selection and signing contracts
  • HR management, including processes and employee development 

Marketing and business development

  • Setting marketing plans and strategy
  • Client communications, from newsletters to PR and events
  • Website and social media management

Operations, administration and facilities management

  • Streamlining processes and systems to ensure best practice, efficiency and profitability
  • Supplier management and contract negotiation, covering everything from stationery to accounting services
  • Building and facilities management, including property checks, insurance, security and health and safety compliance
  • General admin, from filing to phone duty

 The tick list

While qualifications certainly count in Practice Management, performance often delivers more than degree status. Hiring managers look for impressive track records in top-notch legal firms, but solid accountancy experience within a pacy professional services business could also place you firmly in the running.

Above all, you’ll need to demonstrate you’re made of multi-faceted stuff. Pack your CV with proof of leadership, adaptability, attention to detail and commercial vision, highlighting roles that have straddled disciplines and stretched your already varied set of skills. As Practice Manager, you’ll put every one of them to work.

Find out what it takes by browsing TotallyLegal’s Practice Manager roles.

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