The Law Society Excellence Awards 2019 – We have been shortlisted

 

The Law Society Excellence Awards 2019 – We have been shortlisted

 

 

The Law Society Excellence Awards 2019 – We have been shortlisted

We received a very pleasant surprise this week when we were notified that our founder Ian Walker had been shortlisted in the category of Practice Manager of the Year

Managing Partner of the year in the prestigious Law Society Excellence Awards.

Ian Walker Divorce Lawyer Photo headshotWhat are the Law Society Excellence Awards?

The Law Society Excellence Awards are designed to celebrate the hard work and inspirational achievements of solicitors, legal teams and law firms of all sizes across England and Wales.

The Awards have been run for for the past 12 years.

These are national awards – organised by the Law Society (of England and Wales).

Essentially the aim is to promote the legal profession. Lawyers are often portrayed negatively in the media, but in reality they play a very important role in society, in assisting clients to resolve personal/family problems (e.g. family law), sort out their personal affairs (moving house, making and administering wills et cetera (private client law), helping businesses interact with each other, resolving personal injury disputes and other forms of litigation, protecting human rights, ensuring that those accused of crimes have a fair trial, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.

Practice Manager of the Year – what the judges were looking for

The specification for the Practice Manager of the Year award is as follows:

Law firms often operate in a highly competitive and volatile business environment, which creates risks but also huge opportunities to thrive and develop. We are looking for individuals who help their firm to:

    • drive excellence in business management
    • focus on continuous improvement
    • demonstrate sound financial planning and risk management principles
    • encourage technological innovation around data and cyber challenges
    • develop innovative learning and development strategies
    • future proof and work collaboratively to reduce the regulatory burden.

What the president of the Law Society had to say when the shortlist was announced

Law Society president Simon Davis said:

“There are more than 140,000 solicitors in England and Wales – to be shortlisted for an Excellence Award is to be recognised as among the very best of the profession.

“The firms and solicitors shortlisted should be commended for going above and beyond to support their clients, often navigating tricky and sometimes contentious areas of the law.

“With the justice system so under strain, we should take this opportunity to celebrate the incredible work solicitors do day-in and day-out – and to recognise the immense contribution they make to our society.”

Winners are announced at the Law Society’s Excellence Awards ceremony in London on 23 October 2019.

Our shortlisting for the category of practice manager of the year 2019

As a practice, we have now been in existence for 6 1/2 years. For the first two years the practice was simply Ian a computer.

We have since grown into a practice that consists of eight solicitors and legal executives (nine if we include Briony who is a trainee legal executive) and a total headcount of 16. The practice has more than doubled in size in the last 18 months.

Lexcel Legal Practice Quality Mark LogoIn the last 18 months we have also:

  • achieved the Law Society Lexcel practice management accreditation
  • renewed our contracts to undertake legal aid work for family law and for mediation. We took on an additional contract for family law legal aid work from our Taunton office.
  • Achieved Cyber Essentials
  • adopted additional software solutions aimed at enhancing our client service, including Egress email encryption and the SettIfy client engagement tool.
  • We have introduced processes through which we can meet the demands of clients for the offer of fixed fee legal services. Fixed fees being tailored to a client’s particular case. We have also introduced a client service guarantee.

There are also other improvements that we have adopted which we do not have the space to deal with here.

Family Lawyers team photoA team shortlisting and not really an individual shortlisting

Whilst the shortlisting of Ian Walker in the Law Society Excellence Awards category of Practice Manager of the Year is an individual category, we are of the view (quite rightly), that this is a nomination for our whole team.

Continuous improvement/development and positive change requires working together as a team and everyone sharing in the vision of achieving continuous improvement. No one has all the ideas. A good team will always outperform a group of individuals.

Our shortlisting is therefore in our mind a shortlisting for us all.

Why are there so many different awards ceremonies for everything these days?

If you scroll through LinkedIn, there seem to be endless awards and endless awards for similar things.

These are marketing opportunities. Many firms will employ PR consultants to make sure that they are entered into every award competition and directory going.

We don’t enter many Awards

As a practice, our priority is, and will always be to prioritise meeting the needs of our clients. As a consequence we are busy because we are working hard to meet their demands and the demands for our services.

This is only the second time we have entered an awards in the existence of our practice. We simply haven’t had the time or the inclination to enter the multitude of other awards.

We were therefore very surprised and flattered when we receive the shortlisting. We didn’t employ anyone to nominate us. Obviously not every practice/practice manager for a law firm in England and Wales will have entered, but because these are national awards, we anticipate that the number of entries will have been much higher than more localised awards.

In our view, within the legal profession, these are the most prestigious awards. It is very nice to have been shortlisted (Ian is one of four on the shortlist), if by chance we did win, that would be very nice, but ultimately this changes nothing about how we want to run our practice and our never-ending striving for improvement.

The best recognition that we get is from our clients

It’s very nice to have some recognition for all our hard work – but the best recognition is always unhappy clients, for whom we have achieved good outcomes!