Leading lawyer and former director of policy at Co-operative Legal Services (CLS) Christina Blacklaws has joined regional heavyweight Cripps as director of client services.
Blacklaws told the Gazette she has joined the firm full time, 'parking' the consultancy service she set up after leaving CLS in April.
Cripps is the product of a merger last autumn between 162-year-old Cripps Harries Hall and its Kent rival Vertex Law. It has a headcount of more than 300, including 48 partners and a turnover of £22.7m.
Blacklaws' appointment follows the firm's rebrand in June. She said she has 'carte blanche' to carry out a full review which, she stressed, will not result in job losses.
However, Blacklaws suggested that, as at many firms, secretarial support staff are underused and partners' time could be freed up to win work as well as deliver it.
Blacklaws said regional firms, especially those with a heritage and pedigree, face a big challenge to evolve and survive: 'Large regional firms need to constantly challenge themselves and innovate.'
Cripps managing partner Gavin Tyler said: 'Christina brings with her enormous experience of developing successful teams and innovative ways of doing business.' Her role includes 'championing excellence in client service'.