Laura Empson – Keynote Speaker

Academic, Speaker, Advisor: Leadership in Professional Service Firms

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Specialist Subjects

  • Collective leadership: Understanding the leadership ecosystem in professional organizations
  • Power of partnership: Realising organizational and individual potential
  • Leadership and culture: Reinvigorating professionals and their organizations
  • Governance of professionals: Growing and growing up
  • Future of professional work: Leading collectively through uncertainty


  • English


Laura Empson is Professor in the Management of Professional Service Firms at Bayes Business School, University of London, and holds Research Fellowships at both Harvard Law School and the University of Cambridge.

She has dedicated 30 years to researching professionals, professionals, and the professions, and is a globally recognised expert in their leadership and governance. Her research also explores organisational and cultural change; growth and leadership transitions; mergers and acquisitions; professional careers; partner evaluation and reward systems; and the future of professional work.

Her research has been funded by a series of prestigious awards from the EU and UK government. Laura Empson has been nominated for The Thinkers 50 Leadership Award for her research on collective leadership.

In addition to dozens of publications in leading academic journals, she has published several books with Oxford University Press – her first was Managing the Modern Law Firm (2007) and her latest is Leading Professionals: Power, Politics, and Prima Donnas (reprinted in paperback, 2022). She writes regularly for Harvard Business Review and presents the podcast series, Leading Professional People.

Laura Empson advises many of the world’s leading law, accounting, and consulting firms. From 2013 to 2016 she served on the Board of KPMG LLP (becoming Chair of the Independent Non-Executives).

She was previously Associate Professor at the University of Oxford. Before becoming an academic, Laura worked as an investment banker and strategy consultant. She has a PhD and MBA from London Business School.

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