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Award-winning former law firm Managing Partner

I help law firm leaders thrive
and solve problems

Jonathan Watmough is an award-winning former law firm Managing Partner and principal consultant at HelpingLawyersThrive


I am an expert external friend, adviser, consultant, guide and mentor to help law firm leaders thrive and solve problems: 

I will help you not just survive but also personally thrive in a lonely and complex law firm leadership environment

I will help you cut through to what matters most and solve your performance and growth problems

Whether you're a team leader, practice group leader, sector group leader, office leader or managing partner, or you aspire to become one, law firms are uniquely difficult places in which to lead effectively. It is a world where clever, free-thinking people are the primary asset, those people are there by choice, and some of those people own the key client relationships. And where power does not rest in any leader's hands in the traditional sense of command and control.

Leadership in law firms is difficult and potentially risky. But it also makes the difference between individuals, teams, firms and lawyers performing and underperforming, and thriving and surviving. So it is fundamentally important. Leadership in law firms is also immensely rewarding when you get the personal balance right and do the right things. And neither is that difficult provided that you stick to the fundamentals.

My role is to help law firm leaders understand and stay focused on those fundamentals.

I'm an insider. I spent 2 years as a trainee, 5 years as an associate, 8 years as an M&A partner and 10 years as a Managing Partner in The City. I know exactly what makes commercial lawyers, law firms, law firm leaders and partnerships tick, what works, what doesn't work and what makes the difference.


I am external and objective. I will tell you what I think and what you need to know.


I understand. I am one of you. I've done what you do. I've felt what you feel. I am on your side to provide non-judgmental, understanding support to help you make better choices and help you encourage and persuade those you lead to make better choices.

My approach is informal, bespoke and based on trusting relationships. I will focus on you and what matters to you. Everyone is different so there is no set formula or programme. The type of help I can provide includes:

Short, immersive 'need to know' introductions.

Leadership 'health checks'.

One-off advice around specific leadership or personal development issues.

More structured leadership and personal development, where necessary sourcing specialist assistance from colleagues in psychology, business development, communication and recruitment.

Helping resolve specific performance and growth problems.

Just being on the end of the phone whenever necessary for a check-in, guidance, a second opinion or just an understanding chat.

Whatever your needs, my approach is to measure, analyse, cut through, identify the precise problems and find simple, practical solutions that help you move forward positively and with clarity and confidence.

Why waste valuable time and political capital by learning the hard way? Why make all the usual mistakes? Why risk failing?

Law firms don't teach this stuff. Few even know this stuff.


I'm here to cut through to what matters and help so do please contact me and let's discuss. I'm very happy to invest some time to get to know each other and see whether we might work well together.


M&A lawyer, managing partner, technologist and author

Jonathan Watmough was born on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales but raised in the Sussex Downs. He has been a lifeguard, gardener, dishwasher, hotel porter, humper in a meat factory, pilot, fruit farmer, decorator, builder's mate and bartender.

He qualified as a Solicitor in The City of London at Reynolds Porter Chamberlain in 1993. Practising in M&A and equity capital markets, he became a partner at thirty, managing partner at thirty-eight and spent the next ten years helping to transform RPC from a London insurance firm into an international, multi-disciplinary professional services business.

The firm delivered five consecutive years of double-digit top and bottom-line organic compound growth when the rest of the market stagnated following the Global Financial Crisis, won Law Firm of the Year three times, won the Managing Partners’ Forum’s strategic leadership award and was named five years running as Best Legal Employer. Jonathan was also twice-named within The Lawyer’s Hot 100 lawyers in the UK.

After ten years as managing partner, he retired from the firm in 2016 to help lawyers and leaders of lawyers cut through to what matters and emulate the simple things successful people do differently in private practice. No theory, no platitudes, just practical common sense guidance on what matters most in the real world of commercial law, why and how to do it to get ahead. And in 2024 he encapsulated this in his book How To Thrive In A Commercial Law Firm.


He has also combined his entrepreneurial streak with his passion for understanding people and relationships and co-founded Quintillion, a technology group that develops cognitive and behavioural analytics. Quintillion’s flagship product, myTeamRadar, uses next-generation human factors visualisation to help reveal, diagnose and resolve hidden performance and wellbeing problems in teams.

"Under managing partner, Jonathan Watmough's leadership, RPC has become one of the most vibrant and best-run firms in the mid-market."

Jonathan Watmough was twice named in The Lawyer's HOT100 lawyers in the UK


"Cultural integrity and a move upmarket sees RPC named Firm of the Year."

Under Jonathan Watmough's leadership RPC won The Lawyer's Law Firm of the Year in 2014


"Praised by judges for its strong financial results, being 'innovative' and for 'really looking after its staff', the firm impressed on a number of levels. But what particularly impressed the judges was not its financial performance but the steps RPC has taken to position its business for the future - and the efforts it is taking to keep its staff happy."

Under Jonathan Watmough's leadership RPC won Legal Week's Law Firm of the Year in 2015


"If you keep your people happy, then your clients will be happy too. Led by a Managing Partner who has no office and the same desk as everyone else who works in this open plan office, RPC achieved outstanding financial results in 2015, and has earned recognition as Best Legal Advisor by Legal Week for the last 5 years. Innovative initiatives to support employeees, a well-developed social-inclusion plan, and an unrelenting focus on understanding the needs of clients, have earned recognition as Best Legal Employer over the same five year period."

Under Jonathan Watmough's leadership RPC won MPF's Strategic Leadership Award in 2016


How To Thrive In A Commercial Law Firm is Jonathan Watmough's 2024 book about people, relationships & leadership in law firms, book cover

For those who want to know how lawyers, leaders and law firms can thrive in a changing world

Whether you're an aspiring associate or a managing partner, how good you are at people, relationships and leadership will determine your personal, professional and business success.

These are skills which are not taught at law school and which many firms preach but few practice.

Jonathan Watmough led an award-winning City law firm for ten years.

He lifts the lid on what makes lawyers and law firms tick.  Why people, relationships and leadership are fundamentally important for lawyers, lawyer careers, law firm success and life.  Why they matter more than ever in a changing world.  And how to master them.

Helping you thrive personally

Looking after you personally

Leadership in law firms is crucial but also difficult, complex, risky and often lonely. It requires deep understanding of what's really going on with people and partnerships beneath the surface. It requires skills and a mindset that law firms don't teach and it requires a lot of personal support to do it effectively and yet also thrive personally.

I am an external friend, consultant, guide and mentor to help you take control of your wellbeing and leadership development so that you can not just survive as an effective leader but also thrive personally. The type of help I provide includes: 

Preparing for leadership

Your pitch and getting elected or selected. 

Understanding leadership of lawyers and partners.

Understanding law firm businesses.

Understanding partnership politics.

Understanding yourself.

Defining the boundaries of your role.

Developing as a leader

Building 'savvy' - focusing on what matters most and how to get things done.

Influencing skills.

Communicating, storytelling and presenting.

Understanding others.

Delegating and building the right support systems around you.

Surviving by looking after yourself

Keeping it in perspective.

Rolling with the punches.

Controlling the controllable.


Your health and wellbeing.

Thriving by becoming an A-Player

Changing your leadership and team mindset.

Finding and maintaining alignment behind the What & the Why - strategy.

Finding and maintaining cohesion within the Who - people.

Finding and maintaining trust in the How - culture.

The rules
of becoming an A-Player leader



No. 25


Without money to burn, a big and sustainable business in a law firm can only ever be the product of a long-term system to attract, develop and retain top talent.



No. 26


Winning the war for talent requires the type of leadership which transforms lawyers from individual overachievers into high-performance team players.



No. 27


A-Players transform themselves from being takers, bosses and controllers of resources to being givers, coaches and enablers of talent.



No. 28


A-Players use teamwork to overcome the contradictions and paradoxes that otherwise tend to blunt lawyer performance.



No. 29


Buy-in will be a condition of any talented lawyer following you.



No. 30


Cohesion in the qualities, experiences and skills of team members is essential. This requires the wisdom and discipline to select the right people in and the wrong people out rather than collect people.



No. 31


Culture eats strategy for breakfast. Great people can only perform at their best if their professional, career and personal needs are met.



No. 32


A-Player leadership is a rewarding privilege, but comes pregnant with risks for your wellbeing and career. Manage these risks and you will thrive.

Helping you solve problems

Helping you solve problems

Lots of issues will require your attention as a law firm leader - some short-term, some long-term, some strategic, some tactical, some foreseen and some unforeseen. But all will in some way involve partners, the partnership, politics, choices between what and who is important, performance and growth.

I am an external friend, consultant, guide and mentor who is there when necessary to help you get your thinking straight, delegate what should be delegated, ignore what should be ignored and take control of and resolve what matters:

Unforeseen 'events'

Communicating and managing expectations.

Crisis management.

Strategy - the What & Why

Understanding strategy, differentiation and competitive advantage.

Analysing where you are now.

Defining your ambition.

Planning & prioritising.

Building alignment and a team mindset.

Forming, storming, norming and performing as a team.

People - the Who

Mapping teams and fit.

Multiplying yourself by inculcating widespread leadership.

Selecting in the right people - defining your narrative, recruitment strategies, creating good candidate choice, selling, selecting and diligencing, deal structuring, making deals happen and integration.

Selecting out, in the right way, those that no longer fit.

Attracting, assessing and recruiting A-Players, where necesary sourcing specialist assistance from colleagues in psychology and recruitment.

Culture - the How

Building trust & consistency.

Delivering on your lawyers' personal needs.

Delivering on your lawyers' career needs.

Delivering on your lawyers' professional needs.

Start your journey
to thriving in a commercial law firm

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