My first five years with gunnercooke have passed quicker than I could ever have imagined, which must be a good thing, right? One thing I know for sure is that there is no going back to the traditional law firm model.
These years have been amongst the most fulfilling in my career and I know how fortunate and privileged I have been to be able to practice my profession and live my life in such balance -sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming!
So what is it about gunnercooke that makes my life so rewarding? I have identified three Cs: Control, Culture and Clients.
gunnercooke’s structure means that I control my day and my priorities. I have no pointless internal meetings, no arbitrary billing targets, and no daily time sheets. I work where best suits me and my clients, which may mean at home, or in the office or at a client’s premises.
Because I don’t have to account for every hour of the day, I am in control of my time, which means I have less stress than in a traditional firm. I am freed from all of the noise that used to drown out the reason I became a lawyer in the first place. I can focus on the work I do for clients and the time that has been freed up allows me to pursue other interests as well.
2. Culture (and collegiality)
Despite the lawyers being consultants rather than partners in the legal sense, it is actually the most collegiate firm I have ever worked in. Ironically, it is because we are not partners that this happens, as no lawyer is competitive with another for their share of the profit pool. Everyone is happy to give of their time and to help out when they can. It is all about developing relationships with good colleagues and that is not impacted by financial competition and office politics.
But the culture does not come by accident. The firm works hard to build the right culture and recruit people who will fit into the culture.
The first two Cs mean that I can give clients my full attention without being distracted by hours of management tasks. Clients get more of my time rather than delegation to junior lawyers and that helps to build the relationship as not just a fee earner but as a true trusted adviser.
Because I am happy in my work and in my life, my clients get the best of me, not the hollowed-out shell that so many lawyers become. And the quality of work I do has not decreased, in fact, it has increased as I have more control over what I do and what I choose not to do.
And to those recruiters who approach me from time to time, may I give you some advice and save you some time – don’t bother, I ain’t going back!