The legal industry loves a gossip about firing, hiring, promotions and lateral moves. The rumour-mill at The Lawyer magazine this week suggests that Olswang, currently searching for a permanent replacement for former CEO David Stewart who resigned last autumn, is keen to widen the search to non-lawyers.

It is a sensible move, but surprisingly still a rare one for the legal sector, which has long been reluctant to look outside its ranks to fill top management positions. Understandably the partnership model creates collegiality and with it comes suspicion of outsiders. Yet how many other industries can you think of which don’t look beyond their own parameters to fill senior leadership roles?

Executives among FTSE 100 businesses are regularly sought for their skills, expertise and strategic leadership; direct industry experience is often not a pre-requisite. Why should it be different for law firms?

As the professionalisation of law firm management continues apace, more firms will consider broadening their horizons. Olswang isn’t the first, and it surely won’t be the last. With a plethora of strategic challenges ahead, dedicated, experienced management can help professional firms be even more successful in future.

Only time will tell who the next CEO of Olswang will be, but the odds of it being a non-lawyer just got shorter.