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When Annette Kimmitt, a former EY managing partner, was hired in 2018 by top-tier Australian law firm MinterEllison to be the firm’s new managing partner and CEO, she was touted as a leader with strong strategic skills and extensive client service experience who could help the firm compete with the Big Four.  But 2½ years later, Kimmitt, who is an accountant and not a lawyer, was sent packing after scolding the partnership—illustrating the challenges non-lawyers face when they take the helm.

In fact, while a decade ago it was not unusual for law firms to seek out managing partners or chief executives who were not lawyers, fewer non-lawyers are running Australian law firms today. Instead, many firms prefer to keep a partner in charge, with business professionals hired to support them with management.

Christopher Niesche

Christopher Niesche is the Australia correspondent for Law.com International. He covers the business of law in Australia and writes about lawyers, global and domestic law firms and in-house law departments. He also covers Australian regulatory matters. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter: @ChrisNiesche.

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