Think Big, Go Small
A story of re-birth and innovation
There is a saying that goes – behind every great man, is a great woman. Perhaps true once, times have changed and this saying now sounds hollow. However, no amount of change takes away from the truth of a variation of the same – behind every great business, there is a great lawyer. I’ve witnessed, tested and coined this truth for eighteen years since I stepped our from law school and ventured into the world of legal career. This has been the truth and inspiration that guided me through ups and downs in my years of practice. The lawyers- the blacksmiths and craftsmen of deals that hold the world of business together and make its well oiled machine tick.
Eighteen years on, I have seen all the great and necessary work that the lawyers do, I have also witnessed the dated and often redundant practices that the profession clangs to. Armed with innate passion of a lawyer and a confidence of someone who has swam the high seas and reached the shore victorious, I wanted a change. Change, however, is difficult. It is even more difficult, when you are looking to change one of the most tradition-enshrined professions. I needed an ally and without realising it, I was on a lookout for one.
On an unusually cold December evening the universe conspired to give me what I needed. We set at a bar and over couple of drinks, while waiting for our other co-workers to arrive we talked. We had known each other previously, mostly from the sight. That painfully familiar, impersonal relationship that you have in the world of corporations, where money run supreme, with passion, dreams and wishes falling far behind, if not utterly forgotten. Faceless, nameless people depleting their potential for equally faceless, nameless goals. We had never said more than a hello to one another, but as the night unfolded, our aims aligned. We had a common dream, we wanted to change the way the law was being practised.
In a world that has changed almost beyond recognition in the last 20 years alone, the law is still being practised, in many respects, like its the nineteenth century, refusing to adapt and welcome the new technologies that will cut costs and unnecessary noise. In a world that is constantly becoming braver, is aiming bigger and dreaming even more so, the legal practice is still stuck at the cold, impersonal approach that was perhaps once attractive to the big corporations that had no real soul and no dream behind, but their pursuit for financial gain.
As we talked, each of us at the verge or the very beginning of a new direction in our careers, we found an ally. It was an unlikely match – the fiery, passionate solicitors who had dedicated her entire career to the most emotionally charged side of the law and the cool and calculated lawyer, used to the seemingly emotionless business world. What united us was the same vision. To both of us, business was always personal, there were people behind it, with dreams and desires. Our aim was the same, to give the clients the power to keep dreaming. Instead of draining them of their resources, be it money or time, we wanted to be what a lawyer is meant to be, the craftsman who shapes and devises the ideas into reality. Use the technological advancement in ways that allowed for more cost-effective, accurate and fast service. Use our knowledge accumulated in years of practice, in innovative ways to connect with the clients, to understood their needs and dreams. And it was clear, there was only one way to do this. We dreamed big, so we had to go small.
The legal market is abounding with big firms and small ones that are so desperate to look big, they act in the same way. The problem with big is that the lawyers there stop being individuals. When that happens, they stop seeing their clients as individuals. Driven by billing targets and career progression aims, they forget why they were in this in the first place. They forget about the client’s best interest, they forget look for the motivation behind the client’s requests or they simply do not care about it.
San Tzu once said ‘He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout its ranks’. Big firms, small-firms acting big cannot achieve this. There is inevitably a dissonance in spirit. There is inevitably greed and unhealthy competition within the ranks. We had to be small and had to be unafraid of being small to achieve our big dream.
That philosophy that the two of us articulated over few drinks has now become a reality. Our ranks strengthened by the best and brightest of the City firms who have the same creed, the same spirit – we are small, dreaming big.
Keeping lean is at the very core of our philosophy. Being paperless and 100% online based, we keep the costs down by not requiring offices that get ever bigger to house useless boxes that will add no value to the client’s work. By using technologically advanced industry solutions, we cut the time spent on menial or administrative tasks that require stuff to be hired that will never impact the level of service the client gets in any beneficial way, but will increase the bill. By not being afraid to look small, we resist the temptation to hire more lawyers and office staff that will unnecessarily inflate the costs for the client and never deliver any actual benefit. In fact, it creates temptation of unnecessarily complicating the client’s affairs so more lawyers can be put on the same account. By having the best and the brightest lawyers animated by the same spirit of innovation and personable service to our clients, we make sure that our client’s dreams and aims are identified and listened to. We hear what you really want to achieve and then make it happen without feeling the need to use incomprehensible jargon, wasting the client’s time in interminable meetings and conferences, in travels to and from our offices, so that we can later on justify nearly astronomical bills.
So, we have dreamed big and gone small to achieve it. Small that allows us to see the person with their dreams, passions and hopes behind every business. Business has always been inherently personal, it’s always someone’s dream, someone’s passion, their entire life. The legal practice has long forgotten about it. We are here to change that.