Breaking the mould in the legal sector
I decided to set up my own law firm two years ago, as I wanted to do something different from the rest. I also wanted to adopt a new approach to recruiting as I knew so many quality lawyers who no longer wanted the traditional working lifestyle of long hours which is the norm in our industry.
Now we have 38 members of staff at Harper James Solicitors and I genuinely believe we are breaking the mould. Flexible working in the legal industry is basically non-existent. A lot of larger, more traditional firms advertise a flexible working policy for their staff, but in reality it never materialises. The only examples I’ve seen of ‘flexible working’ in this industry is where you can potentially work over the weekend and take some time off during the week. What we’re trying to do here is provide lawyers with the opportunity to do the job that they love, at hours that are suited to their circumstances, while working with some great clients.
Rapid growth, by taking on flexible senior professionals
We have senior lawyers working from home. Over 90% of our team of lawyers now operate remotely, working from home during hours that are suited to their lifestyle. This year, we’ve taken on something like 25 new members of staff, which is incredible really when you consider that this time last year, we only had a team of five working from one office. I believe small business owners now need to embrace flexible working and shouldn’t be fearful if a staff member approaches them to request a different working pattern to the standard 9am-5pm. As long as it fits with your business needs and your clients’ needs, then where’s the harm?
Cutting down on red tape
The main benefit we’ve seen when offering our staff flexible working options, is that our clients also reap the rewards. At traditional firms, you’re often asked to meet with your assigned solicitor, sign paperwork in person and then you may even be asked to meet again with the senior partner in the firm. We’ve taken away the bureaucracy found at other firms and provided clients with practical, efficient solutions that are managed by advancements in technology. This approach to ‘any time, any place’ working has been great for us, as well as our clients, with lawyers available across the country to support them.
By Toby Harper, CEO of Harper James Solicitors