Section chair Robert Banner looks back at the work of the Law Management Section in 2016

I want to start this Comment piece by asking you a question. Did you know how much more you can benefit from your Law Management Section membership if you register online? Sadly, many members of the Section have not yet registered, so are missing out on accessing our e-newsletter articles and the back catalogue of previous editions of Managing for Success. You can also find all our content, products and services grouped by different areas of interest, like finance, people and leadership, and regulation and compliance. Registering is very easy to do – just visit the Section website, click on ‘Register now’ on the top right and fill in your details, using the email address you used when joining the Section. Pick a password, and you’re done! The new Professional Development Centre is launching this month, replacing the CPD Centre. This is the new location for you to access your inclusive and discounted LMS webinars.

I find it difficult to believe that this is the final edition of Managing for Success for 2016. I have a feeling that 2016 has been a very busy year for many law firms – perhaps this is why time seems to have flown by quicker than ever. I would like to share with you some of the activities in which I and the Law Management Section committee have been involved throughout 2016.

One of my most important functions is to chair the Section’s committee meetings, held at regular intervals throughout the year at Chancery Lane. The attendance at these meetings has been excellent, and the Section is very lucky to have almost a full compliment of talented and experienced committee members. At each meeting, we review the most important topics which are currently affecting the legal market. In my Comment in the August edition of Managing for Success, I reported on the main  topics which we discussed at our business planning meeting in August.

A few years ago, I was part of a steering committee which met with the aim of forming the Small Firms Division. The Division is now  three years old, and as chair of the Law Management Section I now attend the Division’s committee meetings. I am delighted to report that it goes from strength to strength. All firms of one to four owners will benefit considerably from the Division’s events, e-newsletter, articles and other support. Like the Law Management Section, it has a very hardworking and talented committee which has been led very successfully by the current chair, Sally Azarmi. You can find out more about the Division at

One of the main events I am involved in is the Section’s annual conference, held in spring. I thought this year’s conference was excellent from beginning to end. I will particularly remember Professor Richard Susskind’s views on how IT will affect us over the next decade or so. The committee is already well on the way to finalising details for the 2017 annual conference, which will be held in April. Watch this space!

I am pleased to report that in the last year, the Section has formed a working relationship with the Institute of Legal Finance and Management (ILFM). My thanks go to the organisation’s chief executive officer, Tim Kidd, for his input into this relationship. I was delighted to attend the ILFM dinner at Chancery Lane in August. I hope that the relationship between the Section and the ILFM will continue to grow in the coming years.

Once again, I have had some input into the Section’s annual Financial Benchmarking Survey – although in the main, the project has been led by committee vicechair Andrew Otterburn, and Andy Harris of Hazlewoods. Their time and effort throughout the year will, I am sure, make the survey as successful as it always is. The survey’s contents will again be fascinating and I would hope that the results will reflect the increase in work and profitability which I believe that many law firms have experienced in 2016. We will cover the results in more detail in Managing for Success in early 2017.

Finally, of course, I have the pleasure of writing the quarterly Comments for Managing for Success, which I am delighted to do to support the magazine’s editor, Alice Trouncer. As a result of her considerable input, the magazine throughout the year has once again been full of extremely valuable and practicable articles, which I have no doubt have helped our readers achieve success in managing their law firms.

With this edition being the last of 2016, I would like to take this opportunity of thanking everyone involved in the Law Management Section for their hard work, particularly our product manager, Barbara Beckles. I would like to wish all our members and readers a very happy Christmas and a prosperous and successful new year.