We would like to hear from you.
It’s all go.
In fact some of you may remember the phrase “It’s all go at the Co”. Appropriate a the Co-op is the first organisation to be granted its ABS licence by the Solicitors Regulation Authority to run a legal business as non-solicitors in England & Wales.
As I have blogged on before, we are where we are. Alternative business structures are in, as decided by our democratic parliaments. Whilst Ned Ludd and his cohorts would have preferred the industrial revolution to have halted at their hand-looms, I personally would have loved not to have to think about business innovation and reorganization in the face of sea changes in the provision of legal services.
But I am not disposed to be negative, passive or obstructive. Those who are unhappy may default to the blame game (yawn), but that’s reading kind of old, so let’s just get on with it and look forward, not back. Yes it’s a challenge, no it’s not easy, but ask Isambard Kingdom Brunel, or Steve Jobs, or James Watt, or Nicholas Copernicus ( yes I know that was not chronological order but they all count) whether they should just leave things as they are, or find a new way to work and think. They and their ilk are/were kings of knowledge or industry. They moved the human condition and civilization on. Why should we cravenly assume we as solicitors cannot?
When I assume the position at end May, I have to lead the profession. Colleagues at Drumsheugh Gardens have asked me how I see things and what I intend to make my themes during my presidency. Well, apart from the usual essential stuff about trying to keep out of trouble and standing up for the profession, I want to use my presentational/media skills.
I don’t know if I am a natural believer in synchronicity, serendipity or even fate, but timing, as all good comics will tell you, is everything. I think and hope that this year more than ever, we will need to have the highest profile possible as solicitors, and elbow our way into the public consciousness.
As never before, the profession needs to sell itself. The Co-op has a perfect right to exist, trade and flourish. But not an exclusive one. I recently spoke at a faculties conference, meeting with representatives of local solicitor societies from the length and breadth of Scotland, and it was clear that ultimately we all agreed on one thing. It’s ours to lose. We as Scottish solicitors already hold the high ground, we have the tradition, the ethics, the brand. We just need the oomph. And we can win.
That’s the core of my intended contribution. I am no genius at the law, at business, at strategy, at management. But I understand people, and frankly am one hell of a song and dance man. I have colleagues – both solicitors and other professionals, who are brilliant at running the Society functions ( yes David, brilliant), we have a profession that is capable of the best in all areas of practice. And I can Sell. Promote the profession. Champion the solicitor brand.
It has mainly been the habit of solicitors to sit in our offices and await people contacting us and coming in of their own volition to hire us. That is no longer the only or necessarily the best model. Marketing - not a dirty word - is an arrow we need to have in our quiver. And by that I don’t (just) mean advertising. Marketing can be no more or less than keeping in touch with current clients, asking a will-making client if they might need a power of attorney, enquiring of a conveyancing client if he/she is in danger of being liable for IHT, suggesting to business clients they work out what will happen if the MD dies or retires, sending info to a family law client so he/she knows that you do more than divorces. And so much more.
In other words, we need to be dynamic. Don’t assume current methodology is best. Don’t scorn commercialism. Don’t despair. Don’t just moan at the Law Society of Scotland. In another blog I will defend our excellent record. But for today, the message is…. that there is a message. You can all pass that message onto your clients. And its this: We’re Worth it.