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Professional Practices Alliance

Professional Practices Alliance

By Professional Practices Allianc
A podcast series from the Professional Practices Alliance, a group of independent law and accountancy firms offering legal and tax advice to professional practices. We host regular panel discussions and events on a wide variety of issues affecting professional practices, and some of these issues are covered in our podcasts. For more information, please contact info@cm-murray.com.
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Personal Risk Management for Partners

Professional Practices Alliance

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Personal Risk Management for Partners
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, PEPUp.consulting), 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. In particular, this panel address the following: the key personal risks for professional partners; financial planning and legal protections that partners should put in place; the extent to which firms should implement measures to protect partners, for example, death in service and/or life insurance benefits; how a firm can manage the risks of partner death/incapacity; and how a firm’s agreement and policies can support this process including the protections which should be included in LLP deeds as well as powers to remove and suspend.
56:25
July 15, 2021
Neurodiversity in Professional Services Firm Leadership - Professional Practices Alliance Webinar
We are pleased to share with you the recording from our recent Professional Practices Alliance (PPA) expert discussion, ‘Neurodiversity in Professional Services Firm Leadership’. Individuals who may be described as “neurodivergent” bring a plethora of skills and different perspectives to an organisation, offering firms a sustainable, competitive advantage that will be particularly beneficial in the current economic climate. Harnessing and embracing the cognitive divergence of a workforce will enable professional services firms to home in on an untapped pool of innovators and high performers to inform its decision making and wider strategies, and promote an inclusive workplace culture. It is important for firms to raise awareness about neurodiversity related issues, whether through the day-to-day advocacy of senior management or the delivery of firmwide training, to help managers and colleagues to better understand neurocognitive differences and the needs of their neurodivergent colleagues. In this webinar, you can hear session Chair, Emma Bartlett, CM Murray LLP, and speakers Daniel Aherne, Adjust Services, Caroline Ramsay, TLT LLP and Rob Millard, Cambridge Strategy Group, discuss a range of issues relating to neurodiversity for professional services firms to carefully consider, including the following: • the importance of harnessing cognitive diversity in leadership and the various ways in which firms can boost decision-making, creativity and innovation through neurodiversity; • how professional services firms can encourage a culture that is more understanding of neurodiversity, including implementing policies and procedures promoting and generating awareness about neurodiversity; encouraging senior individuals to lead from the top; and offering training to managers and colleagues to help them to better understand these issues; and • potential statutory protection under the Equality Act 2010 for those who may be described as “neurodivergent”; in particular, focusing on an employer’s duty to make reasonable adjustments, and offering some practical suggestions as to what might constitute a reasonable adjustment in this context. For more information on any of the topics covered in this recording, please email Emma Bartlett: emma.bartlett@cm-murray.com. The Professional Practices Alliance is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between leading UK independent legal, accounting and law firm management specialist advisers, CM Murray LLP, Buzzacott LLP, Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP, Pep Up Consulting and Cambridge Strategy Group.
54:28
June 29, 2021
Transitioning from Founder-Led to Perpetual Governance Models: The Most Difficult Challenge that Many Professional Service Firms ever face
The transition that any firm must undergo if it is to survive and thrive after its founders retire affects every aspect of the organisation. It is at the same time both strategic and intensely personal. For founding partners, it involves giving up control of an organisation that in many cases defines who they are and trusting the next generation to lead and manage it into a successful future. For that next generation, it means stepping up to a whole new level of responsibilities. It almost always involves difficult discussions, including about money, power and influence. For the firm’s employees, the outcome determines no less than their future livelihoods. For clients, such transitions can significantly impact the quality of service that they receive in both the long term and while the transition is underway. This issue is deeply relevant in 2021; the (then) young entrepreneurs who founded a disproportionately large number of professional service firms in the early 1990s are fast approaching retirement. Many have been immensely successful, building firms that stand proudly pre-eminent in their markets. The role that those founders will play in their twilight professional years, and indeed whether or not these firms will even survive without their founders, depends on how well the transition is planned and executed. In this panel discussion recording, you can hear Session Chair, Rob Millard (Founder, Cambridge Strategy Group – Law Firm Management Consultant) and esteemed panellists, Fernando Peláez-Pier (Founding Partner, Hoet Peláez Castillo & Duque- a former president of the International Bar Association and the Lex Mundi network), David Shufflebotham (Founder, PEP Up Consulting – Partner Remuneration Specialist), Claire Watkins (Partner, Buzzacott LLP – Head of Professional Practices Group) and  Zulon Begum (Partner, CM Murray LLP – Partnership and M&A Law specialist),  discuss and provide expert insights on the major challenges and considerations for such transitioning firms, including: The relative merits of potential exit models to balance founders’ and next generation partners’ interests, including a straight return of capital and profit share (or “naked in, naked out”); post-retirement annuities; consultancy arrangements; sale on exit based on agreed value (and typical valuation approaches and expectations); and returns based on a future capital event. Developing a governance transition strategy and adequate succession planning, including understanding the firm's current position and future requirements as well as managing timing and communications. Issues involved in transitioning family-owned firms, including challenges caused by not having clear, institutionalised governance, processes and opportunities for all partners, the need to have open early conversations about the exiting partners’ interests and to build consensus on the firm’s future. The legal and operational issues and how to approach key provisions in the firm’s constitutional documents, including weighting of founder and next generation voter rights, profit sharing arrangements, anti-embarrassment clauses, annuity provisions, post termination restrictive covenants, admission of new partners, partner “lock-in” provisions, mandatory retirement age and change to firm name clauses (amongst others).
01:03:27
May 20, 2021
We (Still) Need to Talk about the Office
If England’s COVID roadmap progresses as planned, stringent COVID restrictions should be lifting or lifted during summer 2021. The office and future working arrangements are dominating discussions at all levels within professional services firms. This peer-to-peer discussion aims to provide an understanding of market practices and trends, addressing topics affecting your people, your business and your clients. In this discussion, you can hear Session Chair Corinne Staves, Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP, Beth Hale, CM Murray LLP, Robert Millard, Cambridge Strategy Group, and guest speaker Oliver Richards, Orms, discuss the following: • What the ease of adaption to such significant working changes has proven about the resilience of the professions • How the past year of home working has already altered everyone’s horizons and how Firms will need to reflect this in their long-term strategy • What the key components of a successful workplace will be, allowing people to balance companionship and communication, without compromising privacy needs • The challenges of effectively supporting the new hybrid of office-based and remote working, including through investment in office technology and considered office reconfiguration • The legal and non-legal considerations of firms imposing changes on team members and the potential impact of same on firm culture • What firms need to consider in managing their partner body, including where tensions may emerge if there has been a disparity in contribution during COVID.
45:52
April 26, 2021
Responding to Uncertainty: How Law Firms can Prepare for Changes to the Economy, Office Life and the Tax Landscape
We are pleased to share with you the recording of this Professional Practices Alliance expert interactive panel discussion on what the medium-term holds for law firms emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic and how they can prepare for changes to the economy, office life, and the tax landscape. The panel addressed issues including: - The impact of the pandemic on law firms and how to emerge stronger on the other side. - How office workspaces can be adapted to meet the requirements of a workforce that wants greater flexibility. - The key points of the UK’s first 2021 Budget and the measures that will most affect law firms and their clients. - The employment law challenges that arise out of new ways of working. The panel: James Campbell - International Partner, Cushman & Wakefield (Guest Speaker) Andrew Hosking - Managing Director, Restructuring & Insolvency, Quantuma (Guest Speaker) Beth Hale - Partnership and Employment Law Partner, CM Murray LLP Alastair McQuater - Tax Partner, Buzzacott LLP Claire Watkins - Partner & Head of Professional Practices Group, Buzzacott LLP (Chair) The Professional Practices Alliance is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between leading UK independent legal, accounting and law firm management specialist advisers, CM Murray LLP, Buzzacott LLP, Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP, Pep Up Consulting and Cambridge Strategy Group. Join the Conversation We are delighted to launch the Professional Practices Alliance LinkedIn group, a collaborative networking and information sharing space for professional services firms. Join our LinkedIn group here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13930936/ Follow us on Twitter: @PartnershipAlln
53:16
April 9, 2021
Measuring and Driving Diversity and Inclusion in Professional Services Firms
Over the last year the issue of workplace inequalities and under-representation of minority groups has been reignited or come to the fore on the agenda of many businesses, including professional services firms. Such firms may now be looking afresh at how to drive and measure diversity and inclusion within their partnerships and wider staff constituency. In this panel discussion, you can hear Chair Sarah Chilton (CM Murray LLP, Partner), Emma Bartlett (CM Murray LLP, Partner), David Shufflebotham (Founder of PEP Up Consulting), Corinne Staves (Partner & Head of Professional Practices, Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP) and excellent Guest Speakers, Mouhssin Ismail (Principal of Newham Collegiate Sixth Form) and Ray Berg (UK Managing Partner of Osborne Clarke LLP) explore some of the vital diversity and inclusion issues with which firms will need to engage, including: - The moral, economic and regulatory importance of partnerships driving and embedding a sustainable culture of diversity and inclusion. - The impact on business innovation and people strategy and how to get partnership ‘buy in’, wider engagement and accountability. - Broadening the firm’s approach to diversity to include social mobility, cultural diversity and neurodiversity and addressing the intersection with legally protected characteristics like age, gender and race. - Measuring diversity and inclusion through quantitative and qualitative data tools as “what gets valued, gets measured and what gets measured gets done”. - The critical need for firms to assess inclusion distinct from diversity and the approaches firms can take to tackling homogeneous replica cultures at all levels. As one speaker put it “you can get asked to the party but if no one asks you to dance, what’s the point of going to the party”, so it is necessary for firms to not only have diversity in the staff and partners, but to also cultivate supportive environments for them to flourish at all levels. - Key challenges to creating a more diverse and inclusive environment in professional practices. - Recruiting a diverse equity partnership and senior leadership, nurturing the pipeline and addressing the challenges of diversity attrition, including through collaboration with educational establishments, effective communication, role models and coaches, implementing proper systems and process and equipping staff with diversity and equality skills and training. - The benefits, limitations and practical tips for using equality legislation and constitutional partnership documents to address under-representation and inclusion in professional services partnerships. The Professional Practices Alliance is a multi-disciplinary collaboration between leading UK independent legal, accounting and law firm management specialist advisers, CM Murray LLP, Buzzacott LLP, Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP, Pep Up Consulting and Cambridge Strategy Group. Join the Conversation We are delighted to launch the Professional Practices Alliance LinkedIn group, a collaborative networking and information sharing space for professional services firms. Join our LinkedIn group here: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13930936/ Follow us on Twitter: @PartnershipAlln
01:01:47
April 9, 2021
Brexit - Impact and Opportunities for Professional Services Firms
The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA), concluded in late December 2020, addresses a range of topics of interest to professional practices, but a glaring omission is a framework for trade in services between the EU and the UK. This has significant strategic implications for professional practices that are based in the UK but service the needs of clients in the EU (and vice versa), or who have offices in both the UK and EU. While much remains to be agreed, over time frames that might extend to several years or more, there is a lot that such practices need to do now. In this discussion, you can hear Session Chair, Robert Millard, Cambridge Strategy Group, Zulon Begum, CM Murray LLP, and guest speakers Mickaël Laurans, The Law Society of England and Wales, Ceris Gardener, Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP and Markus Hartung, Kanzlei Chevalier discuss the following: • What steps professional practices need to take in the short term in order to align with the new realities. • What impact the TCA will have on market access compared with EU single market access. • What the potential regulatory impacts may be in the absence of mutual recognition. • What services UK LLPs may provide in EU countries. • How firms should prepare for further changes as they unfold, including with respect to mobility and immigration issues. • How firms can seek out and take advantage of the opportunities that may result from Brexit.
56:37
March 5, 2021
Life and Partnerships without The Billable Hour: Business Model Transformation Post-COVID-19
We are pleased to share with you the recording of our recent Professional Practices Alliance (PPA) live panel discussion on “Life and Partnerships without The Billable Hour: Business Model Transformation Post-COVID-19". The increasing use of technology to deliver professional services in new and more efficient ways means the billable hour is under pressure. Our expert panel consider the potential impact on business models in the professional services sector if it became impossible or irrelevant to measure billable hours. In this discussion, you can hear Session Chair, Zulon Begum (CM Murray LLP),  Corinne Staves (Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP), David Shufflebotham (PEP Up Consulting), Robert Millard (Cambridge Strategy Group) and guest speaker Philip Goodstone (UK&I Head of Law at EY) discuss the following: · Why do business models in law firms and other professional services firms need to evolve? · How has the increased use of technology in the professional services sector driven changes in business models? · Would the way that performance and profitability is measured by firms need to change? · How would a firm’s governance systems need to develop? · Would a change in business model impact the metrics and process that a firm uses for assessing partner contribution and compensation?
01:04:22
December 1, 2020
We Need to Talk About The Office
We are pleased to share with you the recording of our recent Professional Practices Alliance (PPA) live panel discussion on “We Need to Talk About the Office". The Government’s announcement on 22 September that office workers who can work effectively from home should do so over the winter has resulted in many professional services firms halting their plans to bring staff back to the office and instead gearing up for a further phase of remote working. In this discussion, you can hear Session Chair, Corinne Staves, Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP and speakers Beth Hale, CM Murray LLP, Claire Watkins, Buzzacott LLP and Robert Millard, Cambridge Strategy Group discuss the following: • What positive lessons can firms learn from the previous experience of long-term remote working. How can we build on these? • What will firms do differently this time? • What is the long-term future of the office? Is it too early/uncertain to be making long-term decisions? • To what extent can evolved working practices be used as a positive opportunity to enhance culture and support strategic aims?
39:52
November 3, 2020
Partner Contribution - The Ramifications of External Investment on Traditional Partner Reward Structures
The partnership model is proven to be effective in generating cash and reward for partners of professional practices but is the partnership model attractive for external investors and how will partner reward structures be impacted by external investment? In this session, our PPA experts and guest speaker discuss: · The benefits of the partnership model · How partnerships can facilitate fair reward structures · The different types of business models we see now · Identifying the right time to go down the external investment route · The pros and cons of employee ownership · Other forms of external ownership and how investors measure their rate of return Guest Speaker: John Aldred, Barclays - Industry Director of Business and Professional Services joins the PPA panel to provide the bank’s view when it comes to attracting finance from external investors.  PPA Speakers: Matthew Katz, Buzzacott LLP - Partner and Head of Corporate Finance David Shufflebotham, PEP Up Consulting - Partner Remuneration specialist Robert Millard, Cambridge Strategy -  Law Firm Management Consultant    Zulon Begum, CM Murray LLP -  Partnership Law & M&A specialist Chair: Claire Watkins, Buzzacott LLP - Head of Professional Practices Group
50:39
October 7, 2020
Partner Reward – Metrics, Measurements and the Link with Profit-Sharing
In this discussion, you can hear Session Chair, Zulon Begum, CM Murray LLP, and speakers Claire Watkins, Buzzacott LLP, David Shufflebotham, PEPUp.consulting, Robert Millard, Cambridge Strategy Group, Sarah Chilton, CM Murray LLP and Corinne Staves, Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP, discuss a range of metrics and strategic issues that professional services firms should carefully consider when evaluating partner reward. Our PPA experts discuss the following: 1. What areas are firms currently weak at measuring in respect of evaluating partner reward? 2. What areas should firms focus on measuring and how can they do that from a practical perspective? What types of data should firms be looking for in respect of various metrics? 3. How can firms ensure that metrics and data are aligned with their overall strategy, particularly given that many firms will need to reassess their business plan over the next few months/years, given the current climate? 4. What are the key issues associated with sole reliance upon financial metrics to measure partners’ performance? 5. How can firms ensure that metrics they apply reflect their diversity and inclusion focuses and values? Might some metrics be inherently discriminatory? 6. How should firms evaluate partners against metrics and what are the main strategic issues when undertaking such evaluations? What are the potential pitfalls?
01:00:11
September 9, 2020
How Should Firms Measure Partner Contribution?
We are delighted to bring you this recording of an expert discussion on "How Should Firms Measure Partner Contribution?" between leading specialists in Partnership & Employment Law, Partnership Compensation, and Law Firm Management. The discussion was chaired by Corinne Staves (Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP), with panellists Claire Watkins(Buzzacott LLP), David Shufflebotham (PEP-Up Consulting), Robert Millard (Cambridge Strategy Group), Sarah Chilton (CM Murray LLP), and Zulon Begum (CM Murray LLP). The question of how professional services firms should measure partner contribution is a complex one, and is made no less complex by the unprecedented times in which we live. However, these times also present an opportunity for firms to rethink and refocus the way they measure partner contribution for the better in the future. The key themes you can hear addressed by the panel are: 1. The importance of defining and effectively measuring partner contribution. 2. Dealing with the age-old problem of how best to measure cross-referrals within firms. 3. How firms can align partner contribution with the business’s strategy and success? 4. Being aware of common discrimination risks in the way firms typically measure partner contribution and effective steps to avoid those risks as far as possible. 5. Using professional services constitutional frameworks to embed KPIs and encourage the right contributions from partners. 6. Is it one size fits all when it comes to partner contribution or is the situation different for smaller firms? If so, how should they adapt? 7. In what ways might the COVID-19 crisis change how partner contribution is measured?
57:09
July 19, 2020
Strategic Advance Planning for Firms to Thrive After the Crisis is Over
Professional firms are not immune to the global impact of the Coronavirus crisis. Many firms have implemented robust business continuity and remote working arrangements but the impact on their clients and the global economy will require firms to continue to adapt (or face the most serious implications). This Professional Practices Alliance podcast series will address the threats faced by professional firms and explore ways in which firms need to adapt not only to survive the crisis, but also to take steps now to thrive in the post-crisis environment. This podcast discusses the following key issues: i.  Legal and practical issues for professional services firms in managing workplace re-entry - can you force worried staff to come to work? What protections, policies and training should you be putting in place now? ii. Your office space - what is the impact of successful, large-scale homeworking on professional services firms and their office space? iii.  Retaining, motivating and locking in key talent - making this your first priority before addressing the under-performers. iv.  Pruning the Partnership post-crisis - constitutional and discrimination issues to consider when managing Partner Exits. v.  Revisiting your firm's strategic Business Plan – are you tweaking it or ripping it up and starting again? And what scenario planning are firms doing to refocus their strategy? vi.  Learning the lessons from the Crisis – reconstruction, recovery and strategic change for firms. PPA Speakers:   Corinne Staves, Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP - Partnership Law & SRA Regulation specialist Zulon Begum, CM Murray LLP - Partnership Law & M&A specialist Claire Watkins, Buzzacott LLP - Partnership Accountant and Adviser David Shufflebotham, PEPUp.consulting - Partner Remuneration specialist Robert Millard, Cambridge Strategy Group - Law Firm Management Consultant Sarah Chilton, CM Murray LLP - Partnership & Employment Law specialist Session Chair: Clare Murray, CM Murray LLP - Partnership & Employment Law specialist
01:01:13
May 7, 2020
Firefighting for Professional Services Firms to Survive the Crisis
Professional firms are not immune to the global impact of the Coronavirus crisis. Many firms have implemented robust business continuity and remote working arrangements, but the impact on their clients and the global economy will require firms to continue to adapt (or face the most serious implications). This series will address the threats faced by professional firms and explore ways in which firms need to adapt not only to survive the crisis, but also to take steps now to thrive in the post-crisis environment. This podcast discusses the following key issues: i. How professional services firms are responding to the COVID-19 crisis, and the effect of prior experience of senior management (or lack of it) in responding to the GFC and Brexit on firms’ individual responses. ii. How values, ethics and brand reputation are shaping firms’ responses to the crisis; are firms adhering to their values in those responses, or losing sight of them in this crisis? iii. What is the range of financial steps that firms are taking to protect their firm, what are the current lending criteria for professional services firms needing finance, and how do firms best position themselves to apply for that funding? iv. What are the key risk management issues that firms are facing and what is the SRA’s current approach to firms struggling with these unprecedented challenges? v. What are the red flags which suggest that a firm may be heading towards a potential meltdown, and what steps can a firm take to get it back on track? vi. Can a merger be a positive strategic choice in this crisis and how can firms maximise the prospects of merger success? vii. How are firms changing partner drawings, distributions and profit share arrangements, and what key constitutional issues do they need to bear in mind when they implement those changes? viii. What other protections can firms implement to preserve the business – and is now a good time to change your LLP agreement to provide increased constitutional protections and powers to respond to the crisis rapidly? ix. How firms are handling staff issues, including employee physical and mental well-being. x. What should firms be doing now to help them prepare to exit the lockdown? PPA Speakers:   Corinne Staves, Maurice Turnor Gardner LLP - Partnership Law & SRA Regulation specialist Zulon Begum, CM Murray LLP - Partnership Law & M&A specialist Claire Watkins, Buzzacott LLP - Partnership Accountant and Adviser David Shufflebotham, PEPUp.consulting - Partner Remuneration specialist Robert Millard, Cambridge Strategy Group - Law Firm Management Consultant Sarah Chilton, CM Murray LLP - Partnership & Employment Law specialist Session Chair: Clare Murray, CM Murray LLP - Partnership & Employment Law specialist
59:16
April 29, 2020
Episode 1 - #MeTooLaw - One Year On: The Legal, Regulatory, PR and Criminal Issues for Professional Services Firms and their Partners
This PPA podcast covers a wide range of complex partnership, employment, regulatory, PR and criminal issues relating to reporting, investigating and eradicating sexual harassment in law firms and other professional services practices.  Essential listening for partners, senior management, in-house counsel and HR directors in professional services firms responding to sexual harassment allegations 
53:14
February 15, 2019