My Business: Laceys Solicitors - Sam Freeman (Partner)
Yes, we literally had to change the name of our blog post this month from "start-up" to "business". We feature a versatile, long standing and highly reputed law firm - Laceys. I have met many lawyers in the course of a decade long career. Most of them were friendly and approachable. A lot of them had sound judgement and integrity, some even had a good sense of humour. In Laceys, I found all these virtues in one place.
We had a chat with Sam Freeman, who heads the firm's corporate practice. Here is what happened.
1. Laceys is a 100+ year old firm - first of all wow! certainly built to last!
In this time how has the services of the firm evolved? For. eg. digital has become a reality in legal services. How has that impacted the service suite?
Many years ago solicitors used to be general solicitors who did not specialize in anything particular but could assist you with most of the more common areas of advice the were required. These days this is simply not possible. Solicitors have to be specialists in what they are doing. Clients expect, and deserve, someone that really know what they are doing. As such, our firm has evolved over the years from several solicitors looking after their own clients regardless of what they needed, to a firms of specialists where the advice a client requires is always given by a true expert in the relevant field.
In more recent times the digital world in which we all live has also had an effect on the way the firm operates. Advice and documents can now be delivered in a variety of methods and meetings can take place via the internet. Having said all of this, for most clients there is still a real benefit in, at least the occasional, face to face meeting, and I feel that this is essential to developing the relationships.
2. Laceys as a group would be founded on certain guiding principles and values. In a changing world, how do you keep yourselves true to the roots? And how do you instill a sense of these values in your people?
The firm’s values are all about client service. It is easy to say and not so easy to deliver! Our approach has always been to ensure that the client not only gets the best possible advice, but also that it is delivered in a timely and understandable manner. In a changing world these values do not alter, the methods for delivering them may do, but the values themselves do not.
The most important part of ensuring that our staff buy into the service levels we want to provide is firstly to ensure that we recruit the right people and then that we reinforce this with continual training. We look for more than people that can just do the technical side of the job, they also have to believe in the way we want to provide services to our clients.
3. I know that the firm is active with start-ups. If you were to tell a start-up 3 things that founders ignore but ideally shouldn't what would they be?
1. Make sure you own your intellectual property.
2. Make sure you are trading via the right structure.
3. Have thorough terms and conditions of business.
4. What were the biggest factors leading to a merger with Horsey Lightly Flynn (HLF)? In your opinion what makes a merger easier on the people involved ?
Our strategic goal was to grow in size to be able to deliver more specialist practice areas and also to have greater strength in depth. The merger with HLF allows us to achieve both of these goals. It was also important that their culture and values were very similar to ours.
Open and regular communication and good planning makes a merger easier on everyone that is involved.
5. What are the growth plans in store for Laceys? An overseas office perhaps?
Although I would be very happy to head up an overseas office for the firm, perhaps in the Maldives, it is not on the cards at present! Our growth plans do not stop with the recent merger with HLF; but it is right to ensure that there is plenty of time for this to settle down. We have also to maximise the new cross selling elements between our departments, ensuring that clients have the fullest possible service range. Further growth will not doubt not be too far away!
Details and Attributions
1. Laceys Corporate Website - http://www.laceyssolicitors.co.uk/
2. Laceys Corporate team photograph - (Left to right) Luke English, Jeremy Channon, Ella Gould, Sam Freeman, Edwina Young and Natasha Duffy-Jones.