John here again and I am just thinking back to the excitement of opening up the practice for the first time with Lorraine Brady 15 years ago.
After spending countless hours in preparation over the preceding 9 months, we first opened our doors on the 2nd July 2001, so it is a big birthday for us.
Such a lot has happened since.
We have helped many thousands of wonderful clients recover tens of millions of pounds in compensation for injury claims. No win, no fee is the norm now and we have expanded from personal injury claims into clinical negligence claims, miners’ claims, disease claims and professional negligence claims against other solicitors who have made mistakes.
The world of injury compensation claims has changed hugely and faced many attacks over the period, but we have stuck to our main goal of looking after our clients as well as we possibly can. Other firms have gone down the “pile them high, sell them cheap” route, but we have consciously avoided that. We hate conveyor belt impersonal service and so we stick to our guns and ensure that we actually have a proper relationship with our clients. We are into relationships, not processes.
We still get over 70% of our work from word of mouth recommendations, which is fantastic for us and our clients. With us you get a solicitor, with a name, who will meet and know you and not a “para-legal” or “clerk” whose identity changes every time you call.
If I am your solicitor, when you call me you get me, John. A bit old fashioned? Maybe, but we are not selling knickers here. Our clients have usually had a pretty unpleasant experience and they are worried, injured and upset. They need professional and caring reassurance and help, not tick box conveyor belt processes.
It has been a great 15 year ride so far, with truly terrific staff and clients and so many life events along the way; births, marriages, retirements and, sadly, deaths.
We have faced it all with a caring and personal attitude at the very heart of the business. We are unashamedly and entirely intentionally not corporate in our outlook – people matter most to us. It is perhaps a negative way of looking at it, but we have never had a single complaint about us to the Legal Ombudsman out of all of those thousands of clients we have helped, and our “praise and complaints” folder is full of words and cards of praise.
Lawyers have a reputation that is not all good. Perhaps aloof, arrogant, superior, pedantic, cold, expensive, self-important…. I could go on!
I think that adds up to a description of a bad lawyer because you can’t help and understand a client until you listen to them properly. We have, from day one of our business, tried to really listen to our clients and, it sounds obvious, be nice to them!
I wonder where we will all be in 15 years’ time?
Best wishes on our birthday, John.