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29 Nov 2016
Building a Legal Business for the Future
To say we live in turbulent times is an understatement.
Market changing events, Black Swans, far from being exceptional seem to be happening quite frequently.
This year alone we have had Brexit, the victory of Donald Trump and a death sentence, a reprieve and a further death sentence for a big section of the personal injury market.
In addition we have had market liberalisation and the ever increasing pace of technology driven change to cope with.
So against this background how can anyone build a thriving and sustainable business?
This was the key question addressed by the 5 speakers at Legal Services 2017 on 17/11/16 in Manchester.
Speaking to an audience of legal business leaders and senior lawyers our speakers each looked at the challenge from a different angle.
There were 7 key themes which emerged from the morning and I thought it would be useful to pull them together.
Attend to the Basics
This was a key theme of Peter Hasson. Unless you have your business in good shape you are in no position to take advantage of opportunities which may arise and are at risk if things turn against you. Listening to the story of Sam Jones and Tuna Fish Media you could see the same principles being put into action.
An appreciation of what technology is good for and the added value that humans bring is key. Chris Yapp addressed this in detail. It is possible that around 47% of professional jobs may disappear but more than that are likely to be created. Looking at 4 previous historic waves of change there have always been more jobs afterwards than there were before. It was just that the jobs were different. The key thing to bear in mind about technology is that the short term impact is always less than you think but the longer term change is greater than you expect. Work on the basis that if a role can be replaced by technology it should be.
Computers cannot build relationships. People value relationships. It is a good way to win work ad to do business. We need to develop our relationship skills. Chris Yapp and I both looked at the importance of this. Relationships are a key to business success now as much as they ever were and they insulate business from some of the effects of market swings.
Adopt a Free Range Mindset
In my presentation I made a plea to firms to encourage their lawyers to develop a wide rage of skills, particularly business and relationship skills and give them the freedom to use those skills for mutual benefit. Lawyers need to take responsibility for their own development and accumulate the “human” skills they will need to thrive in the future. Pyramid structures in law firms only work in high volume low margin environments where the employees do not aspire to progress to the top of the organisation. They are fine where people want jobs but not where they want careers.
Brexit is complicated
It was clear from the presentation of Dimitrios Doukas that there are so many moving parts (albeit some of them are very slow moving) that predicting the outcome is almost impossible.
What is clear is that there will be market impact.
What is not clear is the extent and whether it will be positive or negative or some mix of the two.
Opportunities don’t stay around forever
When you see opportunity you need to be ready to move.
That means that your business needs to be in shape and you have to know if it is an opportunity which is right for you. Does it fit with your strategy? That means you need to have one.
You need to have an idea of what you are, what you want, and how you want to get it.
Without those things it is impossible to know if an opportunity is right for you.
You don’t need a perfect strategy but you need something to help you set your course.
Try it. Don’t let a fear of failure stop you from trying in the first place.
Don’t let fear and doubt hold you back. Your only limitation is the fact that you think you cannot do it. Try it, fail small, learn and move on. It doesn’t matter if you try some small things which don’t work out. Don’t be afraid to experiment and prototype ideas and new approaches. Sam Jones told the story of the birth and growth of a small business in a crowded market. Last week they collected yet another award. This is a business built on hard work, good ideas, common sense and relationships, with a dash of technical wizardry thrown in.
Who’s in the photo? Top left is Joe doing his best crab impression, Top right displays some decent arm flexibility from all the staff, Bottom left is Tim learning how to support his own body weight, and Bottom right is the most uniform picture I could find!
2 Feb 2017
All Roads Lead to North for Law Firms
The Concept of ‘Northern Powerhouse’ is actually one of the few things we can thank George Osborne for.
In the words of Osborne: ““The cities of the north are individually strong, but collectively not strong enough. The whole is less than the sum of its parts. So the powerhouse of London dominates more and more. And that’s not healthy for our economy. It’s not good for our country. We need a Northern Powerhouse too”.
As a result, transport in the North has been prioritised (see Figure 1, projects include the Northern Powerhouse Rail or HS3, smart motorways and the development of the Northern Hub5), increased investment has been put into science and technology projects (such as the National Graphene Institute and the Square Kilometre Array), as well as studies and support for creative businesses in many of the Northern cities.
Post-Brexit, people questioned whether the Northern Powerhouse would continue to be supported, however, it was recently announced in the Autumn Statement that £556m will be injected into the Northern Powerhouse project as part of a “new, more interventionist industrial strategy.”
The £556m will be split between several projects including:
The Northern Powerhouse also benefits businesses currently based in London City, including law firms.
Legislation reforms and post-recession cost-cutting has meant that businesses are increasingly squeezing the margins they spend with their suppliers. Ultimately, clients want more for less from their law firms.
Many top law firms have since moved aspects of their business to other cheaper locations, either in response to their clients doing the same thing or purely because it makes sense for their own business. Ultimately, the Northern Powerhouse provides a legitimate alternative to London, not just for SMEs, but also for big businesses such as Barclays, Deloitte, Drax and Vodafone, who are big supporters of the Northern Powerhouse. In other words, North-Shoring is more viable than ever.
On top of this, because of recent investment, the North also offers great potential for law firms to generate new clients. In the North West for instance, there are now 32,774 more businesses in the region than in December 2015. A 10% increase due to a record level of start ups.
In addition, law firms will have access to a larger and more diverse pool of talent, from graduate level up to senior level. As factors such as house prices, job opportunities and social/leisure activities are causing talented individuals to rethink London as the place to develop their careers and settle down.
As the Northern Powerhouse develops, individuals will begin to realise that they can have a better quality of life outside of London. As a result, talent who previously moved to London for job opportunities may be tempted to return to their Northern routes and talent coming through Northern universities currently, are more likely to remain up North rather than move to London.
For women and families in particular, London is becoming more and more unaffordable and impractical. House prices are growing faster than pay rises which is therefore pushing up the average age when women have children in London. In fact, nowadays 63% of women residing in London wait until they are at least 30 until they have children, a significantly higher figure than in any other part of the country. This isn’t helped by the fact that salaries in the 22-29 age bracket have risen the least out of all the other age demographics. Moreover, because house prices have increased in London more rapidly than in any other part of the country over the past 20 years, families have to save a lot longer if they want to buy a house in the capital.
In fact average house prices in London are more than 3 times the average house prices in Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham (see Figure 4)9.
Business leaders in London are facing similarly dire times ahead when considering the future of business rates. It was announced in 2016 that while shops and businesses in central London could experience an 87% increase in business rates, businesses in Northern towns such as Blackpool and Bolton would see a decrease of up to 56%. In fact, government estimates reveal that the region of London will experience an 11% increase in it’s tax bill whilst everywhere else will register a decrease. Tax bills for businesses across the North-West for example, are estimated to decrease by 11%.
In summary, being based in the North is a win-win for businesses and their employees (See Figure 3) and several law firms have already taken advantage of the Northern Powerhouse. Figure 5 displays the spread of offices among the top 30 UK law firms (as classified by The Lawyer).
It certainly appears that the Northern Powerhouse is focusing on the North West with Manchester taking £130.1m and Liverpool taking £72m of the allocated £556m4. In 2016, the North West grew more than any other region, with a 118% increase in foreign investment projects6.
Business Leaders need to embrace the fact that London will no longer be the place to be, in fact according to surveys carried out by Ernst & Young, “over 90% of the UK’s total growth came from the regions outside London and the South East (see Figure 2). It does appear that the planned devolution has taken effect and is having positive results within the regions.
Increased investment in transport links in the North, as well as the focus on connecting these links to London via HS2 and smart motorways allows businesses traditionally based in London to still retain all of the strategic benefits that come along with being present in London, but with all the added benefits of also having roots in the North.
(For more details, please see http://www.empirical-research.co.uk/)
23/01/2017. “£556m Northern Powerhouse cash allocation welcomed” BBC News. Link – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-38721046
3 Feb 2017
Breakfast Club for Professional Practices
Our friends over at Crowe Clarke Whitehill have developed a Breakfast Club Programme for Professional Practices.
The breakfast club is made up of a series of seminars designed to increase your understanding and awareness of the sector.
The next event is due to take place on the 26th of April and will provide an update on the recent tax changes for employers and how this will impact your firm.
For more details and to book your place on the next event, follow this link:
Click here to book your place
Crowe Clark Whitehill’s Professional Practices Group are trusted advisors to the professional sectors and have years of experience of working with lawyers, actuaries, architects and surveyors. As a result they have developed a Group that fully understands current and future issues that professional practices face.
6 Feb 2017
Size of the Solicitor Talent Pool throughout the Year
The graph shows the size of the solicitor talent pool relative to January 2014, which was when the most searches for “Solicitor Jobs” was carried out using Google in the past 3 years.
7 Feb 2017
Two New Researchers Join the Jepson Holt Team
The team here at Jepson Holt would like to welcome two new additions to the family.
We have bolstered our research team with two specialised researchers who will be working with our sister company Empirical Research.
Matt is our new Research team leader after building an impressive resume conducting legal research for the likes of Clyde & Co and Clear Law Solicitors.
Olivia is a talented Law graduate with an impressive portfolio of legal work experience and who has a passion for salsa dancing, music and travelling.
Join us in wishing them luck as they begin their journey…
5 Reasons why it’s Time to Leave London
1. Affordable housing
From 2004 – 2016, the average wage has increased 27.92% from £22,056 – £28,213. However, for the same period, average house prices rose from £138,000 – £234,000, an astonishing +70%1.
For many people in today’s economy, saving up for a house deposit and securing a reasonable mortgage seems a long way off.
The situation is even more dire for those working and living below the Watford Gap
When comparing the average house prices of southern cities with northern cities, it becomes very obvious that one is more likely to find affordable housing in the North. Unsurprisingly, London is the most inflated city of all. In fact average house prices in London are more than 3 times the average house prices in Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham (see Figure 1)2.
For women and families in particular, London is becoming more and more unaffordable and impractical. House prices are growing faster than pay rises which is therefore pushing up the average age when women have children in London. In fact, nowadays 63% of women residing in London wait until they are at least 30 until they have children, a significantly higher figure than in any other part of the country. This isn’t helped by the fact that salaries in the 22-29 age bracket have risen the least out of all the other age demographics. Moreover, because house prices have increased in London more rapidly than in any other part of the country over the past 20 years, families have to save a lot longer if they want to buy a house in the capital
2. Cost of living
Many people argue that the high cost of living in London is counteracted by higher wages. Maybe this was true once, but we have already discussed how wages aren’t rising as quickly as the property market.
Similarly, low house prices in the North doesn’t really mean anything if the average wage in the same region is considerably less.
So how does London really compare to the North?
Examining Figure 2, at £674.30 per week, the average London wage is much greater than any of the northern cities listed. However, the jump from average wage to average rent is far greater in London than any of the northern cities listed. In fact, as Figure 3 conveys, a person living in London earning the average wage
and paying the average rent would then only have £194.86 left over to cover, bills, food, childcare etc. It’s no wonder the majority of single professionals have to house share.
In comparison, a Northern resident earning the average wage and paying the average rent for their respective city gets to retain at least £878 to cover food, bills, childcare and more importantly, to save for a house.
3. Law firms in the North
Legislation reforms and post-recession cost-cutting has meant that businesses are increasingly squeezing the margins they spend with their suppliers. Ultimately, clients want more for less from their law firms. Due to this, many top law firms have since moved aspects of their business to cheaper locations.
The UK’s Top 30 Law firms have a heavy presence up north. Manchester alone is home to a third of them, followed by Birmingham and Leeds each with 8. They also have a strong presence in Scotland with Edinburgh and Glasgow each having 6 (see Figure 4).
Outside of Greater London, Manchester is top of the list when it comes to the widest representation of Top 100 UK Law Firms, containing 42 firms of the top 100 firms5. Birmingham and Leeds have 28 and 24 respectively5.
In regards to fee learners, disregarding Greater London, Manchester again tops the list for the number of fee earners with 2,0385. Birmingham and Bristol have 1,831 and 1,546 respectively5.
In fact, second to Greater London, Greater Manchester has the most Solicitors (8,670) and the most law firms (1,406)13.
4. Northern Powerhouse
The Northern Powerhouse is a strategy concocted by the 2010-2015 coalition government. It aims to rebalance the UK economy away from a dominating London, with more funding being channelled in to the Northern cities in a bid to create a united ‘Northern Powerhouse’ which can stand alongside London. With investors voicing solid support for the proposed agenda and foreign investors rebalancing economic activity regionally, it now seems devolution is beginning to take effect.
According to the EY UK Attractiveness survey 2016, the UK made a 79% increase and a 58% increase in projects from China and India respectively. There were also increases in key strategic investments, manufacturing, financial/business services growth and Investment from the EEA (European Economic Strategy)7.
Brexit has caused a lot of uncertainty about what it means for UK businesses. However, since Brexit businesses have continued to grow and the impact has been minimal. In Q3 2016, GDP growth was higher than in Q3 201514.
5. North West
“Business leaders and politicians have welcomed a newly-allocated cash injection of £556m for the government’s Northern Powerhouse project”8.
It certainly appears that the Northern Powerhouse is focusing on the North West with Manchester taking £130.1m and Liverpool taking £72m of the allocated £556m. This means that Manchester will receive 23% of the allocated fund and Liverpool 13% (Figure 6)8. In 2016, the North West grew more than any other region, with a 118% increase in foreign investment projects (Figure 5)7.
If you would like further knowledge about a specific place in the UK, we have lots of free resources which we can send you, so just shoot over an email to email@example.com and I will get back to you with the information as soon as possible.
MIDAS – CBRE UK Research Team http://www.investinmanchester.com/
MIDAS – Andrew Toolan http://www.investinmanchester.com/services/networks/financial-professional-services/
Irwin Mitchell. January 2017 City Growth Tracker Report.
3 Mar 2017
Will all the High Flying Women please stand up?
The first High Flying Women event has been announced
If you would like to join High Flying Women please contact Bethan Jepson at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Business Leaders attending are as follows:
8 Mar 2017
Flexible Working for Men and Women – Why it’s Important and Who is Doing it?
Through technology allowing us to complete work not only at our desk, we’re gradually moving out of a culture of set-in-stone hours, and into one that ‘suits an employee’s needs’ (1) understanding that sometimes a job can be best completed by allowing for flexible working patterns. Academics at Lancaster University have suggested that by the end of the year more than 50% of businesses will adopt flexible working and 70% by 2020 (2). However, not only does flexible working benefit your employees, but it also has clear business advantages to you.
GOV.uk separates flexible working in 8 categories. These are (3):
Working from home
Under the Employment Rights Act 1996 s. 80F (and modified by the Children and Families Act 2014 s. 131), all employees have the right to apply for flexible working so long as they have been in continuous employment for 26 weeks with the employer they are making the application to. The employer then has 3 months in which to approve, or not, the request, dealing with it in a reasonable manner (4).
For women and men alike there is a ‘gap between policy and practice’ (5) for working flexibly, thus the statutory right is all good and well, but ‘attitudes need to change along with legislation’ (6). Although some still favour the traditional approach to working hours, there are clear benefits to a business to encourage such flexible working policies as it allows for a better work-life balance, thus reducing staff stress and enabling them to feel valued, building loyalty within an engaged and motivated team. This not only helps to gain appeal as a company to work for and giving better retention rates, but also requires staff to use greater initiative through independent, self-motivated work. If as an employer you’re still not convinced that encouraging flexible working will benefit your business, or will work well for a particular role that an employee undertakes, the permanent flexible working alteration to your employees contract can be subject to the successful completion of a trial period, as agreed by both employee and employer (7).
Employers should consider and take seriously this way of working for men as well as women. As put well by the Guardian, ‘the bums on seats brigade needs to see flexible working as a real option for everyone, not the preserve of working mothers’ (8). Businesses should encourage men to work flexibly for the same reason that they do women; its not just women who might get a better work-life balance through flexible working.
Encouraging practices like flexible working increases ‘employee control’, which studies suggest ‘are likely to be associated with health improvements including improvements in physical health (reduced systolic blood pressure and heart rate), mental health (e.g. reduced psychological stress) and general health (e.g. tiredness and sleep quality)’ (9). Employees with better health are better equipped to do their job properly and therefore advance the business.
Encouraging flexible working may also aid business development in terms of enabling people to start earlier, or finish later, therefore broadening business bandwidth hours by using flexitime. In addition, flexible working may reduce travel expenses (by travelling outside of peak times), office-space expenses (if encouraging home-working), and allow for a broader range of ideas for business development through different experiences, skills and ways of thinking brought to a particular role (when encouraging job sharing).
Given that we are still in a place where women are not being able to reach the top as easy as men, with 25% fewer women in 2016 being promoted to partner than in 2015 in the top 10 UK firms (10), encouraging men to work flexibly could enable women who may otherwise lessen hours, quit or stifle their career due to childcare concerns, to reach higher potentials in their career, improving the representation of women in senior roles. Furthermore, with the current reality that the largest proportion of the senior workforce in firms is men, promoting flexible working for men too, allowing them to potentially be more productive in their role, only makes logical business sense. Flexible working arrangements is now something desired by senior executives not just juniors.
Flexible working is considered to be the most important benefit offered by employers for roughly two-thirds of people and increasingly law firms advertise their flexible working policies in response to it being such an important matter for employees. Having in place such policies relieves firms of having to decide on many separate formal application for flexible working, saving time for both the firm and the lawyers. Therefore the implementation of flexible working policies should be a priority because, as said in the Solicitors Journal, firms ought to be ‘valuing productivity over face time’, and to best support clients, solicitors must be as efficient as they can in practices and working methods (11). The Law Society’s survey of leading lawyers found that firms who ‘adopted flexible working practices allow a better work-life balance, and are attracting more talented staff’ (12).
Flexible working has been successful for businesses such as the firm PI Costing, who outlined that homeworking was an efficient method of working for their business. In their experience, employees working from home were 20% more efficient in terms of output than those remaining offices based. Furthermore, employees are held accountable to the work they do through the implementation of ‘monthly targets for recovering fees and the company holds records in respect of their output’ (13). PI Costing also found a reduction in their sickness rates and found that their employees valued the work-life balance policies significantly enough to ‘offset less competitive pay levels’ (14).
In 2016, Addleshaw Goddard, Baker & McKenzie, Berwin Leighton Paisner, BLM, Capsticks, Clifford Chance, DAC Beachcroft, Dentons, DWF, Foot Anstey, Herbert Smith Freehills, Hogan Lovells, Macfarlanes, Mayer Brown, Mishcon de Reya, Nabarro, Olswang, Schillings, Shearman & Sterling, Shoosmiths, Slaughter and May, Wedlake Bell and White & Case were all firms identified by Lawyer2Be to have implemented or be in the process of implementing flexible working policies. (15) (For a breakdown of their policies see https://l2b.thelawyer.com/issues/l2b-online/flexible-working-for-lawyers-whos-doing-what/)
Although women tend to be more involved in their children’s emotions and routine family activities (16), the UK Commission for Employment and Skills project in their ‘Working Futures 2014-2024’ report that there is a rising number of men who prioritise family life, with an expected increase of 7% for women working full-time and only an increase in 3% for men (17). In the mid-1970s an average father’s involvement in childcare during the week was less than 15 minutes per day, in the late 1990s this rose to 3 hours and by 2005 a third of parental childcare was undertaken by fathers (18). This evidently displays the growing trajectory of fathers seeing the importance of involvement in family life, and children appreciate it, with a survey suggesting that ’27% of families think of dad as the playtime favourite, with mothers second at 24% and siblings third at 21%’ (19). Furthermore, ‘amongst professional occupations (SOC 2) a substantial increase in part-time working is also projected’, which is a faster growth than in non-professional occupations, which is believed to be related to more women entering into this occupational group and a rise in people opting to use flexible working patterns (20). Therefore, as flexible working is growing and projected to grow further, businesses ought to become more encouraging of it, allowing the increasing number of men wishing to be more involved in family life as well as their career to do both, and not consider leaving employment all together for better competition.
Leading work-life balance organisation, Working Families, recently released their ‘Modern Families Index 2017’ report, which details the experiences of 2750 working parents across the UK last year, collating 250 responses from each of the 11 regions covered in the study. The Index is useful as employers can utilise this information to create a better working environment in their own businesses, by understanding the frustrations of others employees. With the reality that ’53% of millennial fathers seek a less stressful job and 48% would take a pay cut in order to get a better work-life balance’ (21) now is the time to seriously consider encouraging male employees to work flexibly. Many men feel unsupported in the workplace regarding childcare, with one-fifth in the study saying that their employers were unsympathetic and expected no disruption to work due to their parental duties. Furthermore, ‘44% had lied to their employer about family-related responsibilities that “get in the way” of work’ and over 50% of parents were adamant in their response that a flexible and family-friendly employer would make them happier, more productive and more motivated’ (22). Therefore changing the way we approach men who seek to work flexibly will not only likely increase businesses chances of recruiting and keeping good talent, but also aides to creating a better working environment where individuals don’t feel the stress of having to repeatedly lie to their employer.
On the same line, a noted difficulty for parents, and in particular men, with asking for flexible working is the pressure of not wanting to display a lack of commitment to their workplace and career. This has long been a concern for women, however there has been progress, with many women using flexible working such as job shares or an increase in part-time work. Since removing the barrier on who can apply for flexible working in 2014, 36% of employed women (with children under the age of six) applied to work flexibly, 80% of which was accepted to some degree (23). There is sometimes a presumption that women may wish to enter into flexible working once returned from maternity leave, but its rarely the case for men who have families. Arguably, ’the presumption of flexibility at work – in which early starts or late finishes, compressed hours or shorter weeks were the norm for men and women – would also make a dramatic difference’. Qualitative studies showing that working fathers feel ‘marginalised from access to flexible working opportunities, due to their managers’ assumption that they are the breadwinners’ (24), displays why a change in attitude is required, that encourages men to work flexibly, rather than disregarding it as purely feminine or motherly. Thus feeling the social acceptance to flexible working for men may encourage them to do so, giving a better work life balance, which may enable more motivated and successful employees, thus displaying a better commitment to their career, and your business, rather than less (25).
This is not to say that all fathers want to have flexible working patterns, just as not all mothers would request it, either. However promoting flexible working for men as well as women, where the job role can be done in a more flexible way, highlights options open to your employees to choose, displaying a modern culture of equality. It sends the message that you understand the difficulties of managing commitments and responsibilities that we all have outside of work, and are flexible to that. In doing so, you will find a happier more motivated team, that work better and make your business an even more reputable place to work.
Employment Rights Act 1996, Part 8A
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/513801/Working_Futures_final_evidence_report.pdf p. 8
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Roman_Pabayo/publication/41467611_Flexible_Working_Conditions_and_Their_Effects_on_Employee_Health_and_Wellbeing/links/551b872c0cf251c35b509c93.pdf p. 32
http://ageactionalliance.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/How-small-firms-are-doing-it..pdf p. 7
http://ageactionalliance.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/How-small-firms-are-doing-it..pdf p. 7
Flexible working for lawyers: who’s doing what?
http://www.modernfatherhood.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Fathers-involvement-with-children1.pdf p .1
Fathers Network Scotland, Dad Matters, 2014
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/513801/Working_Futures_final_evidence_report.pdf p. 68
https://www.workingfamilies.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Modern-Families-Index_Full-Report.pdf p. 2 and 8
The Institute for Public Policy Research, Women and Flexible Working, 2014
https://www.workingfamilies.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Modern-Families-Index_Full-Report.pdf p. 8
30 Jun 2018
Legal Services 18 – The Year of the Underdog
Early bird tickets still available – Click here to buy your ticket
Legal Services is back for the fourth year in a row.
This years theme – The year of the underdog.
We will be looking at the most unexpected successes that have happened in the legal sector of recent times, which could have very easily not been successful.
We will be looking at why and how these success stories occurred and whether we are likely to see more underdogs breaking free of the traditional law firm structure to do things their own way – especially with work life balance and the glass ceiling on everybody’s lips.
We will be invited legal underdogs to come tell their story and share with us the most valuable lessons they learnt when building their businesses in a saturated and competitive market place.
So make sure you save the date in your diaries… November 14th 2017, 13:00 – 17:45 followed by drinks and further networking. Barclays in Spinningfields will be our hosts this year.
Remember… It’s not the size of the dog in the fight – It’s the size of the fight in the dog.
5 Sep 2017
Legal Services 18 – First 3 speakers announced
This year the theme of the conference is the ‘year of the underdog.’
We want to celebrate those who have succeeded against the odds as well as discuss why we need to encourage underdogs to rise through the ranks within our own businesses.
We want to show that it is not just the large and powerful who succeed.
We will be looking at and learning from businesses and people who are going against the flow, and learning how and why they have triumphed against the odds.
We will examine innovation in the legal world and how you can encourage innovation within your own firm.
With ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ being a key issue we will consider how to retain and inspire your female and diverse talent.
We will celebrate the mould breakers, and those who challenge the status quo. You need that spirit in your business and we will show you why.
James Brown and Sam Hall from Hall Brown:
Sam and James Sam and James set up Hall Brown 18 months ago after breaking away from a traditional, well established Manchester law firm. They went from working in a basement to £1.3 million turnover in their first 12 months. From just being the two of them, they now have 21 staff members. In addition, they are just about to open another office in London, less than 2 years since founding Hall Brown.
They pride themselves in their unique business model which serves to attract large amounts of high net worth clients and quality employees who are helping to rapidly grow their business.
John Chesworth from Harrison Drury:
John left a national law firm to join Harrison Drury back in 2006 via a management buy-in, becoming it’s Managing Director officially in 2007. Harrison Drury’s roots stretch all the way back to 1901. By 2010, John had opened a new office, promoted a new generation of leaders in the business and restructured into an incorporated business to keep up with the changing legal market. By the end of 2014, John opened two additional offices in the North West. Now, Harrison Drury is one of the regions fastest growing law firms and has gone from 21 staff at the end of 2010 to 91 staff at the end of 2016. Without a doubt, John took the business from a static, old fashioned law firm and has evolved it into an award-winning, dynamic and innovative business, which sits in the prestigious Sunday Times ‘100 best small companies to work for’ at number 37.
Sarah Goulbourne from gunnercooke:
Sarah set up gunnercooke with two others back in 2010 with the view of doing things totally outside of the traditional model. Flexibility, transparency and freedom is the gunnercooke way of life, quoting the website “No-one ever took a law degree so they could go and fill out timesheets.” In fact Sarah describes herself not as a lawyer, but as an entrepreneur, whilst others describe her as “years ahead of her time and afraid of no challenge.” gunnercooke is certainly a reflection of Sarah’s sprit, having won numerous awards and housing four other entrepreneurial initiatives: gunnercooke-consulting, Ignition Law, gunner-bloom and Inspire. gunnercooke is now one of the UK’s fastest-growing challenger brands attracting the best senior legal talent through their doors.
More speakers to be released soon…
Julia is Co-Head of the Sylvia Pankhurst Gender Research Centre in Manchester Metropolitan University’s Faculty of Business and Law.
It is unfortunate that women are still considered underdogs in terms of leadership roles, but hopefully, Julia, her research and current business leaders are going to help change this.
Julia and the Sylvia Pankhurst Gender Research Centre in MMU have recently produced a set of tools to support business leaders bring about this change called GROWL (Generating Routes for Women’s Leadership).
This toolkit focuses on 5 areas:
Kuits is a Manchester commercial firm with one of the best reputations in the market, not only within its client base of SMEs and high-net-worth individuals, but as an employer.
97% of their clients would recommend them to others, while their staff retention rate is one of the best in the regional legal sector. Kuits has been established for over 100 years and during that time has seen many of its peers rise, fall, or – more recently – be absorbed by the nationals.
Armed with a clear vision of its future and a strong sense of its identity, Kuits has played on key strengths – such as its unique culture – to adapt to changing times and ride out the storms. Executive Partner Robert Levy has worked for Kuits for 33 years and, together with Managing Partner Steve Eccleston, is responsible for the strategic management and development of the firm. Through this distinct dual-management structure, Kuits has grown to be an outlier in the North West legal market for client and employee attraction and retention, innovation, and expertise, while remaining true to its Manchester roots.
Sarah set up gunnercooke with two others back in 2010 with the view of doing things totally outside of the traditional model.
Flexibility, transparency and freedom is the gunnercooke way of life, quoting the website “No-one ever took a law degree so they could go and fill out timesheets.”
In fact Sarah describes herself not as a lawyer, but as an entrepreneur, whilst others describe her as “years ahead of her time and afraid of no challenge.”
gunnercooke is certainly a reflection of Sarah’s spirit, having won numerous awards and housing four other entrepreneurial initiatives: gunnercooke-consulting, Ignition Law, gunner-bloom and Inspire.
gunnercooke is now one of the UK’s fastest-growing challenger brands attracting the best senior legal talent through their doors.
John left a national law firm to join Harrison Drury back in 2006 via a management buy-in, becoming it’s Managing Director officially in 2007.
Harrison Drury’s roots stretch all the way back to 1901. By 2010, John had opened a new office, promoted a new generation of leaders in the business and restructured into an incorporated business to keep up with the changing legal market.
By the end of 2014, John opened two additional offices in the North West. Now, Harrison Drury is one of the regions fastest growing law firms and has gone from 21 staff at the end of 2010 to 91 staff at the end of 2016.
Without a doubt, John took the business from a static, old fashioned law firm and has evolved it into an award-winning, dynamic and innovative business, which sits in the prestigious Sunday Times ‘100 best small companies to work for’ at number 37.
JAMES BROWN & SAM HALL
Sam and James set up Hall Brown 18 months ago after breaking away from a traditional, well established Manchester law firm.
They went from working in a basement to £1.3 million turnover in their first 12 months. From just being the two of them, they now have 21 staff members.
In addition, they are just about to open another office in London, less than 2 years since founding Hall Brown.
They pride themselves in their unique business model which serves to attract large amounts of high net worth clients and quality employees who are helping to rapidly grow their business.
“I would like to say Thank You so much. It’s better than anticipated.”
“Third week started, I’m really enjoying it. All credit to you. Definitely the right match for my current requirements.”
“You made the recruitment process very swift. Initial contact with yourself to interview to job offer, all within days.”
“Good job negotiating the wage also. Once again thank you!”
“I really was starting to lose faith about securing a role and this was not at all helped by the multiple recruitment agencies who would contact me making promises which would never manifest.”
“You asked about my experience, questioned my aspirations, and was genuinely interested in me as a person.”
“You were so easy to communicate with and I am forever grateful for what you have done. You are truly a rarity within the recruitment sector and I wish you all the very, very best. I firmly believe that in terms of my career, this is the start of something fabulous!”
“Thank you so much for allowing my CV to be viewed by an exceptional law firm which offers everything I asked for and so, so much more.”
“I am extremely pleased to reveal that I have secured the position!”
“Jepson Holt provide excellent background and information to the firm along with keeping me in the loop at each stage.”
“If you’re a candidate looking for a new position – they are the firm to help.”
“Jepson Holt were excellent to work with as a candidate throughout the recruitment process.”
DIRECTOR – HUMAN RESOURCES
INTERNATIONAL LAW FIRM
“We have worked successfully with Jepson Holt across both our North West and Midlands offices.”
“Phil understands our business, is thoughtful, straightforward and works hard to achieve success with each assignment.”
“It is a relationship we value and plan to continue.”
“Jepson Holt are excellent, when they can be bothered to be in Manchester as opposed to cycling up and down the mountains of Europe.”
“I once used them to recruit some really good people, who 15 years later are still with us. Unfortunately the principal, Phil Jepson has been on holiday ever since…”
“On a more serious note, I have always found Jepson Holt trustworthy. In the world of recruitment, that’s a pretty high recommendation and the main reason I will continue to use their services.”
Executive Resourcing Consultant
Lauren joined the business in 2017 as an Executive Resourcing Consultant. She is responsible for identifying, developing and placing senior level candidates across the legal sector.
After finishing her masters degree in Ancient History in 2013, Lauren travelled to the US to work for Carnival Cruise lines and then went on to work as a Recruitment Consultant for 3 years within Financial Risk and Analytics.
Lauren is a keen gym goer and football fan and spends most weekends up in the North East watching Sunderland play. She is also an avid animal lover and has a passion for good food and wine.
Favourite quote: “Stay away from negative people, they have problem for every solution.” – Albert Einstein
Superpower: Demolishing a bag of twirl bites in record time.
As our Executive Assistant Elaine’s role is to support Phil and Bethan in their management roles and to help with projects and general administration.
Elaine has had a long and interesting career supporting management in international organisations, including four years at Saudi Aramco and ten years working for law firm management in London. During those years in London, Elaine also studied part-time and achieved an honours degree in Modern Language Studies (with French and Spanish) in 2014.
Elaine loves to get things done in a common-sense way and prides herself on her attention to detail.
Outside work: She loves long walks with Boris, her goldendoodle, and is also a regular at the local pool, tennis courts and gym.
M: 0780 967 5584
ALL ROUND GOOD EGG
Michael implements the social media and marketing strategies of the business as well as contributing to the general marketing direction.
He’s currently in the process of getting a diploma in social media and digital marketing.
He’s also responsible for managing the office and assisting with finance.
Outside work: Michael has a vast array of hobbies which include surfing, climbing, yoga, football, screenwriting and being a film buff.
Favourite quote: “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” – Thomas Edison
Superpower: The inability to walk past a mirror without looking at himself.
T: 0870 143 2840
Olivia joined us in February 2017 and works with our candidates helping them make the right career move. Olivia also helps with the organisation and running of High Flying Women, including creating marketing materials.
She is a bit of a film geek, loves Music, Travelling and of course Food (particular favourites include Indian and Italian), as well as spending time with friends and family and getting involved in social action projects with the street community.
Favourite quote: “Not all who wander are lost,” or “Everybody is a genius but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing its stupid.”
Superpower: Can talk for England.
T: 0161 507 0093
Matt is a research professional who is a key member of our in-house research capability.
As well as identifying potential candidates for our retained search projects Matt leads Empirical Research which is our standalone market research business.
T: 0870 143 2840
HEAD OF MARKETING & BD
Bethan runs the business alongside Phil and is responsible for our marketing and social media strategy and implementation. She also looks after finance, hiring and training new staff members and monitoring employee performance.
Bethan is a serial networker and enjoys getting to know like-minded professionals and entrepreneurs.
She is the founder and leader of High Flying Women.
Bethan worked for us while she completed her bachelors degree and then her MSc in Environment and Development and then joined us full time in 2015. She is a passionate advocate for the environment and for gender equality.
Outside Work: She loves to travel and frequently visits the gym – but in reality she spends most of her evenings at events or meeting up with members of her network!
Outside work: She loves to travel and frequently visits the gym – but in reality she spends most of her evenings at events or meeting up with members of her network!
Favourite quote: “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” – Marilyn Monroe
Superpower: Stopping Phil from starting new businesses
T: 0870 143 2840
Michael is an Associate for the business who works with us on high level strategic projects. Having originally qualified as a solicitor, Michael enjoyed twenty years’ experience in senior management and leadership roles both within and outside the legal sector.
Michael works at a strategic level with a number of businesses helping them to realise their ambitions and the potential of their people.
Outside work: Walking hills and cycling on the flat.
Favourite quote: “The only source of knowledge is experience” – Albert Einstein
T: 0870 143 2840
M: 0771 198 1378
Phil is a Director of the company founded Jepson Holt back in 2004 and was one of its founders. He works closely with lawyers helping them to develop their careers.
In addition to his role in developing our business and delivering projects Phil has become a leading commentator on the legal market and is often invited to speak privately to firms or publicly to legal groups about the change and development in the Legal Services market.
He qualified as a Solicitor in 1989 at a top 50 law firm. He became a Partner in 1992 and an equity partner in 1994. He spent 15 years working in law firms and has experience at 4 firms, 3 of them in the Top 50. He practised in the North West, the Midlands and Yorkshire and led teams, multi sited business groups and an office. Before setting up Jepson Holt in September 2004, Phil worked as a Director at an established legal search firm.
Phil completed an MBA (Distinction) at Manchester Business School in autumn 2007.
He has a long standing interest in behaviour and objective profiling tools and has recently become an accredited profiler for Parallax Behavioural Profiling.
Outside work: Road cyclist and confirmed MAMIL. Also a serious skier.
Favourite quote: “It’s only impossible if you stop to think about it.” Pirate Captain
Superpower: Putting up with millennials
T: 0870 143 2846
M: 07775 742366
Follow On Twitter @PhilipJepson
WORKING WITH JEPSON HOLT
An interview with a lawyer we placed recently …
What was your situation when you first came into contact with Jepson Holt?
I was a principal solicitor with City Council, managing contracts and property teams, and contributing to the review of legal services. I was looking for an opportunity in the private sector within a firm that specialises in public sector work.
Why did you want to move from the public sector back into the private sector?
Senior opportunities within public sector legal services are increasingly few and far between. Many of the opportunities for complex and innovative work are being advised on by the private sector.
What challenges were associated with embarking on a move from public to private sector?
I think increasingly, due in large part to the extreme financial pressure on the public sector there is an increasing and necessary focus on commerciality. Because my background is a mix of good private
sector and senior public sector positions, I had a good
An interview with a lawyer we placed recently …
What was your situation when you first came into contact with Jepson Holt?