Practice Operations Manager

Closing date: 05/03/2021
Term: Permanent
Working hours: Full-time
Department: Practice Team
Location: London
Why Bates Wells?

Our values are important to us, they shape our decisions and our working life.

Making a profit is core to all businesses but our goal is to combine this with a real social purpose. Since opening in 1970, we’ve focussed on positive social impact as much as we have on being a successful law firm and we were the first UK law firm with B Corp certification.

Today, our clients are diverse – from corporate household names, to public bodies, to start-ups. We’re also the firm of choice for thousands of charities and social enterprises.  We continue to lead the market we helped to shape. 

As a purpose and values driven firm we show commitment to our clients, our people, the environment and society.  We see it as our purpose to create a positive impact. The impact we have on our people, our communities and our planet does more than inform our work - it gets us up in the morning.

Bates Wells challenges what is possible in legal expertise delivery.

The Role

To thrive in this role you will have a strong commercial background, good client manner and a willingness to bring fresh perspectives as well as to learn and adapt. Experience in the legal sector or other professional services environment is desirable.

You will have excellent management skills, including the ability to work collaboratively across teams, build trust with colleagues, and to provide and respond to constructive challenge, including upward.

High emotional intelligence and proven people skills are essential, including the confidence to tackle difficult issues, handling them sensitively, consistently and in line with our values.

It is a key role in a busy team, which will require you to establish yourself quickly by building credibility and using your professionalism and confidence to inspire and effect behavioural change.

Key responsibilities

Work collaboratively with other members of the Practice Management team and relevant Business Teams, support the Practice Director in the following areas.

Charity and Social Enterprise department

Our top ranked Charity and Social Enterprise department handles the most complex, high profile and high value matters for charities, philanthropists and businesses. The depth and breadth of our practice, the range of our technical knowledge and our personal commitment to serve the sector as a whole mean that we also act for clients of all sizes across the whole spectrum of non-profit activity. It is the largest of our seven practice groups, comprising 13 partners and over 50 employees.

General operations management

  • Manage a wide range of day-to-day operational issues, resolve problems and generally ensure the smooth running of the department
  • Lead departmental communication and connectivity, including enhancing the remote working experience, managing the key departmental Teams channels, preparing messaging for departmental meetings and co-leading those meetings
  • Attend weekly departmental partners meetings, contribute to discussions, produce minutes and maintain a decisions and actions log
  • Analyse data, recommend system and process improvements and implement as agreed
  • Encourage consistent engagement with firm-wide and departmental systems and processes.
  • Engage in firm-wide projects and initiatives on behalf of the department, including acting as the point of contact in relation to the departmental area of a new intranet under development
  • Maintain the departmental handbook repository and deliver departmental inductions
  • Manage end-to-end process for client secondments, including liaising with clients, partners and colleagues to scope, price, resource, contract and monitor the secondment
  • Review and analyse patterns in work distribution, providing practical suggestions to improve it

Functional groups

The department has five functional groups – strategy, clients and markets, people, finance and knowledge – comprising one or more partners, in most cases a senior associate or associate and at least one member of the Practice Management team. The groups meet regularly, together with colleagues from relevant Business Teams (BDM, HR and Finance). Their focus is on informing and co-ordinating delivery of our departmental business plan and ensuring the effective management of business as usual.

You will be actively engaged in all the groups, but the nature of your involvement may vary. We will discuss and agree with you the division of ownership and responsibility between you and the Practice Director in relation to each group, taking into consideration your interests, aptitudes and ideas.

We would particularly welcome interest in the clients and markets and knowledge groups, supported by relevant experience if possible.

Practice wide

Working with other members of the team, you will contribute to the development and delivery of the practice-wide Practice Management business plan. You will support the Practice Director in areas not covered by other team members which may include, for example, supporting engagement with particular role groups on a practice-wide basis and progressing project work.

Specific tasks may change over time, so we will need you to be adaptable and flexible as we continue to meet our clients’ needs.

Which qualities do we look for?
  • The ability to build, maintain and nurture relationships
  • A client-centric approach
  • Teamwork – there is a place for individual effort but we highly value a collaborative approach
  • A results-focused mentality – we hope you’ll challenge the status quo if you feel it’ll benefit our work
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills 
  • A genuine interest in the work we do; we encourage questions about the business and invite you to test assumptions and propose ideas


Finally, we want people whose values reflect our own and who feel inspired working in a firm with a strong social purpose.

What are we like to work for?
  • Our purpose and values both guide and drive us
  • We promote a strong work/life balance
  • We have an agile working environment – this means you might sit next to a different colleague every day or choose to work from our rooftop garden and we actively encourage people to work from home once a week.  During this period of social distancing this is of course much higher, and we are likely to review our policies to enable greater home-working during 2021.
  • Our culture encourages clear and honest dialogue and cross-team support
  • We can promote our staff throughout the year and there are annual salary reviews
  • We recognise success and contribution at any time of the year through our Recognition Scheme
  • Our benefits and wellbeing package includes firm matching pension contributions, private medical insurance plus a medical benefit cash plan, discretionary bonus arrangements, life assurance, 25 days holiday with the opportunity to buy more, subsidised gym memberships, lifestyle discount scheme, firm-wide profit sharing scheme, on site café, and Summer in the City early-Friday-finish
  • Everyone gets a bonus if there is one - a proportion of the LLP profit is distributed to our people when we exceed our financial thresholds
About the team

The Practice Management team, led by our Practice Director, works closely with colleagues across the business team, to support practice groups across a broad range of areas, including business planning; pricing and matter management; resourcing; system, process and policy improvement; and projects.

This role is a key element of our future business planning and it is likely to evolve, providing opportunities to learn and develop.

Some extra details
  • Bates Wells is a B Corporation.  B Corporations are profit-making, purpose-driven organisations unified by one goal: to redefine success in business
  • Our people rate us and we made it into the Sunday Times’ ‘Top 100 firms to work’ for in 2018
  • Bates Wells provides legal documents to clients through ‘Get Legal’ – an innovative online documentation portal, which provides an affordable suite of legal documents drafted by sector-leading experts for tailoring by individual users
  • We are committed to your wellbeing and offer physical and mental support in the way of subsidised gym membership, private health care and in-office Mental Health Awareness Ambassadors.
  • We strongly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to reach their full potential whatever their background and believe a diverse team is integral to our success
  • We are signatories of the Halo Code Agreement, Race at Work Charter and Race Fairness Commitment
How to find out more about us

Don’t forget to review our website ( and ask around about us to find out more and whether we’re the right fit for you.

NB We will normally have at least 2 interviews – to test your skills and competencies to work with us and to see if your values align with ours.