Be realistic when you tell people what you can do and by when. I learnt this from my dad, who owned bakery shops. In my school and university holidays, I worked as a delivery driver for my dad. He taught me you can’t be two places at once or do two pieces of work at the same time so be honest about timescales.
Make sure you give ‘proper advice’. Giving clients the law, options and letting them decide is a perfectly valid way to practise law, however, as a firm, we believe that our job is to advise a client. Quite often a client wants to hear what I’d do in their shoes. I trained under my now partner Tim Clarke; he taught me to give clients the proper advice and not to be afraid to stick your head above the parapet.
Be committed to what you’re doing. Work hard and surround yourself with people you can trust when running a business.
Take advice early if there is a problem. The most frustrating part of being an insolvency or litigation lawyer is seeing clients too late to do anything constructive to help or save businesses and jobs.
Don’t bury your head in the sand or try to cover mistakes up. Speak to colleagues and try to sort them out. Trainees and younger solicitors sometimes come and say ‘I’ve cocked up’ but usually they haven’t or not nearly as much as they think. We work through to find a solution.
For me, integrity is about putting clients’ interests first, regardless. I’ve worked with most of my clients for over ten years and they know that my approach is founded on their best interests and protecting their business.
Listen to those who have done it and will share their experience; take advice from the right professionals, but make it yours.
Every person, especially those successful in their field are worth listening to. The success Sky Cycling have had with the aggregation of marginal gains is something we should all learn from.
Encourage people to make decisions for themselves, have an open dialogue, be respectful and know that you’ll back them.
Support your team, recognise their achievements and buy the beers.
Clarke Mairs LLP