Professor in the Management of Professional Service Firms
For regular updates on my research activities please see my personal website https://www.lauraempson.com/.
Professor Laura Empson has dedicated more than two decades to researching professionals and professional service firms. She is Director of the Cass Centre for Professional Service Firms and a Senior Research Fellow at Harvard Law School's Center on the Legal Profession.
Her current research focuses on leadership dynamics in professional service firms and has been funded by a major grant from the Economic and Social Research Council of Great Britain. Her previous ESRC-funded study has explored themes such as the survival of the partnership 'ethos' within alternative governance structures and alongside more rigorous methods of performance management. Her research into professional service firms has also covered themes such as: mergers and acquisitions, the professionalisation of management, organizational and identity change, knowledge management, and diversity.
At Cass Business School, as well as being Director of the Centre for Professional Service Firms, she teaches the Cass MBA elective "Succeeding in Professional and Financial Services" and the core MBA module on "Organizational Behaviour".
She has published numerous articles in leading international academic journals and is the author and/or editor of three books. "Leading Professionals: Power, Politics, and Prima Donnas" will be published by Oxford University Press in September 2017. She is lead editor of the "Oxford Handbook of Professional Service Firms" (2015, Oxford University Press). She is committed to translating her academic research for a practitioner audience, most notably in her 2007 book, "Managing the Modern Law Firm" (Oxford University Press) which was described by "The Times" as marking a 'seminal moment in the development of management theory in this sector'.
She is Senior Research Fellow at Harvard Law School, a Member of the Editorial Boards of the "Journal of Management Studies", "Organization Studies", and the "Journal of Professions and Organizations". She is also a Member of the ESRC's Peer Review College.
In 2013 she was honoured by the "Financial Times" for her research and teaching on professional service firms. From 2013 to 2016 she was a member and then Chair of the Public Interest Committee of KPMG LLP.
She was previously a Reader at the University of Oxford's Said Business School and remains a Supernumerary Fellow of St Anne's College, Oxford. Before becoming an academic, Laura worked as an investment banker and strategy consultant.
She acts as an advisor to many of the world’s leading professional service firms in the areas such as: accounting, law, investment banking, actuarial and management consulting. Through her advisory work she translates her scholarly research into actionable insights into a range of issues that challenge leaders in professional service firms.
- 2008 - present, Centre for Professional Service Firms, Director
- Block I of FTMBA, Leader