A white woman with short blonde hair and chunky necklaces peers at the camera in front of a bookcase.

Laura Empson


Professor in the Management of Professional Service Firms, Bayes Business School, City, University of London; Director, Center for Professional Service Firms; Senior Research Fellow, HLS Center on the Legal Profession

Professor Laura Empson has dedicated more than two decades to researching professionals and professional service firms. She is Professor in the Management of Professional Service Firms at Bayes Business School in the City of London, UK.

Her current research focuses on leadership and governance in professional service firms; she has also researched topics such as mergers and acquisitions, the professionalisation of management, organizational and identity change, knowledge management, and diversity in a professional service firm context. In 2013 she was honoured by the Financial Times for her research into leadership in professional service firms and she has been awarded numerous research grants by the Economic and Social Research Council of Great Britain (ESRC’s).

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 has published numerous articles in leading international academic journals and is lead editor of the recently published Oxford Handbook of Professional Service Firms (2015, Oxford University Press). At Bayes Business School she teaches the Cass MBA elective “Succeeding in Professional and Financial Services”.

She is Chair of KPMG LLP’s Public Interest Committee (i.e. Senior Independent Non-Executive).

She is 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.

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: law, accounting, law, investment banking, actuarial and management consulting. Through her consultancy work she translates her scholarly research into actionable insights into a range of issues that challenge leaders in professional service firms.