Ballard Spahr partner Mark S. Stewart, who took over today as firm Chair from Arthur Makadon, said his plans include traveling to the firm's 13 offices to talk with partners, maintaining primary responsibility for lateral hiring, and working closely with practice leaders to determine their needs.

Mr. Stewart said he wants to find ways to relieve department heads of their administrative burdens so they can focus on developing business, and to give practice group leaders a sense of ownership to run their practices almost like a small business. He said he wants to have "a little more decentralization than what we have now."