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The Independent Online
Although their clients may find it hard to believe, many law firms are suffering from declining profits. This is serious enough, but the problem does not end there. It can seriously affect strategy and lead to difficulties in retaining key staff.

So says Linda Packard, a solicitor and management consultant who has completed the circle of the professions by signing up with accountants Binder Hamlyn to provide "a specialised business advisory service to lawyers".

Ms Packard, who practised as a solicitor for 15 years before becoming a consultant specialising in strategy, marketing, quality and the like for the legal and financial services sectors, joins Christopher Honeyman Brown in the professional practice group. But she stresses that they will be able to call on the tax and other specialist skills of the firm, which since last year has been part of the Arthur Andersen worldwide organisation.

They aim to help Britain's leading law firms grapple with profit-sharing arrangements, partner appraisal systems and overseas structures. But since Ms Packard lists as her other activities membership of committees concerned with the role of women in the professions, clients should not be too surprised if the advice strays from the purely financial and strategic.

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