Whether they’re called executive directors, chief operating officers or directors of operations, law firm business leaders have become more central to the operations of these formerly lawyer-led business enterprises, as firms scale their operations across multiple practice areas and geographic markets.

But while such trends can be seen most prominently in Big Law, data and interviews with law firm leaders show how the integration of a firm’s business and legal functions have a downstream effect on the rest of the legal industry as law firms of all sizes recognize the need for business leadership to make their delivery of legal services competitive.