Belinda Lester On Setting Up A Flexible Working Law Firm
BELINDA LESTER ON HER JOURNEY TO SETTING UP A FLEXIBLE LAW FIRM
I founded Lionshead Law 5 years ago because I was completely passionate about my career in law but less than convinced that the traditional law firm operating with fixed hours from a fixed location and with an hourly rate for clients was the best way to both make a profit and provide a client focussed service.
Over the years, during which time I was a partner in two different law firms, it became increasingly obvious to me that just selling ourselves as experts was not the way to win business and being fixated on the billable hour was not the way to attract the best lawyers. People expect solicitors to be experts; anything less, then what are they paying us for? And these days, solicitors want to be able to progress their careers in a firm that values them for what they do, not the hours they spend in the office and away from their families.
Lionshead Law is the product of long sleepless nights working on my business plan, dreaming up the ideal law firm for both clients and solicitors and the end product is a virtual firm which enables the best solicitors in four practice areas (immigration, employment, company commercial and technology) to provide the best possible service to clients in an affordable, transparent and – for the solicitors – highly profitable way whilst enabling them to work around their other commitments or interests.
By abandoning the hourly rate and the chargeable hour, we have abandoned the inherent conflict of interest solicitors have with their clients. When charging by the hour, it is in a solicitor’s interests to work slowly and to exaggerate the amount of work he or she believes needs to be done. This inevitably leads to dissatisfied clients, wrangling over fees and writing off bad debt. It also leads to part-time workers (mostly women) being disadvantaged in their career progression. This was something I felt it was essential to stop.
At Lionshead Law we want to work with like-minded people. We want people who are passionate about their work and providing an excellent, client-led service, with a real desire to build a strong practice and earn well. But we also want people who passionate about their families and lives outside of work; people who believe that life is for living and work, whilst obviously important, is something you are far better at if you’re happy when you’re doing it.
5 Reasons why immigration, employment and company commercial lawyers should #JoinOurPride
1. Lionshead Law doesn’t have offices or office hours. Our tag-line is “always here for you…”. What this means for our consultants is that they are not restricted as to the days and times they work. Provided they are client focussed and responsive and “always there” even if just to say “I’ll get back to you”, hours and days of work are the consultant’s to choose. This truly is flexible working without compromise.
2. Our fee sharing terms are, we believe, the most generous of all the consultancy-based firms.
In addition to the generous fee sharing structure, we pay our consultants a recruitment fee if they recruit solicitors to join the firm and commission if they refer work to their colleagues.
3. Unlike other consultancy-based law firms, we have limited our practice areas to those which are complementary, thereby increasing the chance for solicitors in the firm to get cross referrals of work.
4. We operate on fixed fees and retainers, with payment in advance. That way our consultants never do work that they may not get paid for. This is very important. If you work hard, you should be paid – and you should be paid on time.
5. We pride ourselves on being not only great lawyers but great people. We don’t just want anyone in our firm; we want those people who share our values of fairness, transparency, collaboration and supportiveness.
To find out more visit www.lionsheadlaw.co.uk/join-us/