Legal profession assesses way ahead says new Managing Partner of major Belfast law firm

December 10, 2009

The legal profession has learned some hard lessons from the on-going economic downturn which will equip it better for when conditions improve. Karen Blair, the newly appointed managing partner of Cleaver Fulton Rankin believes the recession has forced many firms to assess their competitive behaviours and their key commercial competences.

“It’s quite clear that some law firms placed too much of an emphasis on one economic sector or another in terms of the expertise they provided, and found themselves exposed,” said Ms Blair, the first female head of one of Northern Ireland’s major corporate law firms.

And she added; “One of the hard lessons some companies have learned during the slowdown is that they had become complacent, relying on traditional economic sectors for fee revenue.”

Ms Blair is reasonably optimistic about the future of the economy and believes that for larger law firms to flourish it is important to retain a broad range of specialist expertise so that client service can be delivered across several legal practice areas.

“We are a full-service law firm with a complete range of legal expertise,” she said. “We have a strong team of professionals throughout the business and that was reflected in the high rankings given to us in the recent Chambers Listings.

“It’s quite clear that new commercial sectors within our economy are beginning to emerge and indeed show more potential down the line; sectors like the creative industries which includes computer gaming, animation and film-making.”

And she added; “Similarly we and others can see that bio-tech and software are growing and the arrival of the New York Stock Exchange jobs and the transatlantic cable from Hibernia Atlantic will only boost the types of industries which can utilise this economic asset.”

Ms Blair is relishing the appointment as Managing Partner and believes Cleaver Fulton Rankin is well placed to address the challenging legal environment in the years ahead.