Law Practice

Non-Lawyer Now at Helm of 1,000-Attorney Law Firm


At the forefront of a law firm management trend, Morrison & Foerster has brought in a non-attorney as its chief operating officer.

Pat Cavaney, who was formerly Hewlett-Packard Co.’s vice president of business operations for the company’s worldwide services group, has been named as the law firm’s new chief operating officer. This is expected to free up firm attorneys in top executive positions to spend more time practicing law, according to a New York Lawyer (reg. req.) reprint of a Recorder article.

The move is the latest example of two increasingly common BigLaw trends, says Ron Beard, a Zeughauser Group consultant in Laguna Hills, Calif. Law firms are adding new managerial positions, he says, and then hiring non-lawyers to fill them.

Another example, as discussed in a previous ABAJournal.com post, is DLA Piper’s hiring earlier this year of an MBA to manage a 250-attorney national practice group.

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