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Greg Whyte – From 0 to 254 staff in 10 years

In episode two of Your Law Firm Success, Stephen speaks with Greg Whyte, Managing Partner of Jones Whyte, to discuss levers of success, lessons learned, the importance of culture and the future of legal services. 


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as long as my name is Steven Moore and I’m the presenter of the your Law Firm success podcast this podcast explores the roots to Law Firm success we chat to those who have done it those who are doing it and those who help law firms do it this podcast is brought to you by MLT digital the leaders in law firm success In this edition of the your Law Firm success podcast I spend some time chatting to Greg Whyte of Jones Whyte. Jones Whyte is a general practice firm based in Scotland that has grown in the space of 10 years from the two original Partners Greg Whyte and Ross Jones sitting at a table in an architect’s office to a 250 strong firm it’s quite remarkable genuinely what they have achieved in the space of 10 years they’ve done in that period what it normally takes firms maybe 30 to 60 years to achieve in this episode Greg talks about some of his levers for Success some of the Lessons Learned along the way why culture is extremely important to him and where he sees both the future of his firm and the future of legal services in general this podcast is brought to you by MLT digital MLT digital specialises in generating Business Online for law firms and turning the internet into a significant source of new business opportunity you can find out more about the your Law Firm success podcast at mltdigital.co.uk/podcast hi Greg how are you it’s nice to see you hi Stephen yes uh I’m glad to see you it nice to be um thank you for accepting invite to come on I was really keen to speak to you because we’ always known each other for a while but in my view you’ve achieved with your law firm in the space of roughly 10 years or so what it’s traditionally taken firms maybe a hundred years or so to achieve its we’ve certainly grown quickly we’ve certainly grown quickly and growth was growth was never actually the end goal or really much part of the plan certainly when you begin and you mentioned it was almost exactly 10 years ago as I’m sure it is for everyone else in that situation it’s all about survival it’s all about just seeing uh how you can go on and keep the lights on so yes um the growth been great it uh allows you different opportunities different headaches and but yeah it’s there’s been Soul growth yes and so to go back to that phase if we could talk just initially about why you started Jones Whyte with your partner Ross Jones when that was where it was and then maybe move on to where you are now let’s do it backwards said where we are now um with a firm at last count of 264 people and were based in Glasgow City Centre operated throughout Scotland and indeed in parts of for parts of our work we work in England as well um so when 2013 uh is when we started and where we first started was we literally rented a couple of seats in an architect’s office in West George Street and we were there for a couple of months until actually we kicked out in a kind of midnight flit style and like the business we were in with at the time had a bit of difficulty with our landlord so met the of the business just having a coffee one afternoon he said look need to tell you this we’re going to about the building tomorrow so you need to find somewhere new to be so yeah that was kind of that was um reflective of what it was like at the start a bit chaotic in many ways but you get used to that quickly so like I’ve saying different challenges at different stages of the journey and so why you know I think you were at Thompson’s I think before then weren’t you as a as an as a solicitor what prompted you to actually make the move into opening your own practice um it was something that I always fancied um and it was kind of always the plan to extend there was a plan now obviously consider different things you have different crisis of confidence you look in different directions you look at uh different jobs different careers and I would have been more than happy staying Thomas’s which is a brilliant firm still got really good strong connections there um but I’m I want to try and Branch out myself and I at that point I just happened to meet Ross who was a guy that I had known loosely um from University and he was of the same mindset at the time so it kind of felt like uh a problem shared was a problem half in that regard and we both kind of encouraged each other to go for it and to take it take the plunge and to take the risk and yeah that that worked out and that kind of forces you to the point you no return so very quickly you as you know yourself Stephen you begin to spend money on things that you was required to go into business to open a firm and you get to the point where you know you’re at the point of no return and before you know it you’re you know you’re having to speak to friends speak to colleagues speak to family and say look this is what I’m going to be doing um decision sorry apologies Greg um what type of University student were you oh the best types St as you can imagine you know just I I don’t straight is all the way um you know just all kinds of academic honours and merits you know I’m sure my name’s probably up there somewhere in the University but yeah I don’t like to dwell in these things no I was a very I was a very average student I I don’t think I actually particularly liked being a student to any great extent and I went to Glasgow University could good University I did the diploma in Aberdeen nowhere near the top of the class didn’t trouble it in any which way at all um and yeah it’s for me it was it was a means to it was a it was a it was a fun thing University um but yeah you certainly wouldn’t see my name in any kind of halls or honours there in terms of the sort of motivation to actually start your firm and where you thought your skill set your skill sets um where or where they live obviously you’re taking a leap with Ross you’re a relatively young solicitor you’ve not been doing things very long you’ve then got to go out and start to build a client base and build a service offering how did you go about that and where you did you have had you learned any lessons from your time in Thompson’s or from others where you thought I’m not going to do this I’m going to go at it more from this angle yeah I mean funding interest is a very basic thing and I was able to had quite a broad network to use that horrible words had a decent amount of friends I was coming to an age where your friends were needing to use Legal Services be that their business be that for buying a house be that for a dispute or whatever else it is and it was something more than more frequently that they were coming to me as a lawyer and saying look I’ve got this problem got this driving conviction I’ve got this claim that needs dealt with I’m buying a house I’ve got a dispute going through problems with that partner and they were asking you more and more of these questions and I was either dealing with this work within uh my role my previous or I was referring it to other lawyers on knew and then a bit of a kind of back packet mathematical equation you sort of say well look if all these things actually came to me and I was able to do them would that be enough to support myself and I thought with that and with a bit more digging and bit more get into the market and speaking to those who had the power to refer business that it might be something that could make A F step so we did it you have then experienced you know very significant growth so you would have started off from a turnover of zero are you happy seeing you know what your turnover is today um yeah yes I well I’ll probably get a Stevens maybe when we need to defer back but I think it’s think it is around about 15 or 60 million uh as of last count so yeah decent we obviously want to grow that um that has grown consistently over the years and it continues what touch would that it continues to do so um obviously with growth grow all very well

 

[10:00] as long as you’re profitable um and that you know the B the bottom line dictates everything really uh so yes it’s a turnover of nothing is very correct especially the first couple of weeks and months it was literally a turnover of nothing it’s about um you know it was about getting invoices out and crossing your fingers to some extent or you know progressing cases at the fastest speed possible and you know I can remember those first couple of Victories and you know literally have still got the names on the mobile of the first couple of clients that we had uh bigger cases smaller cases and can remember them specifically and to remember feeling you were getting a slightly different treatment from certain firms on the other side because she were a small fish at that time and we get pushed um in the person injuries you’re start get push to quite more so than you were used to a big pursuer firm because I I don’t know if you’re been tested or that was just the nature of it so it was um yeah it was exciting it was nerve-wracking um and to an extent as long as you can see that you’re going to come into flow with turnover you can see point where cases are sing invoices are getting paid It’s You can predict what’s happening baring any disasters and you can say what can just keep going through another week or another month then that would come in and that would pay for this and then you get the flow like I say I you know yourself yeah I can imagine it was I me mean I remember that day myself when I set up my business and it was literally sitting at the kitchen table with a laptop thinking right what now yeah you know and it’s exciting and liberating but frightening and I you know we were I was discussing that the other day I think it’s only something that certain people are up for and that’s what then becomes helpful as you grow your practice is because you know you’ll have a lot of sisters or people who work for you who would have no real interest in taking the risk that you took so this is a you know a podcast about your Law Firm success and it’s about providing lessons or insight to other lawyers who are facing challenges about how they build the law firm of their dreams how they achieve the growth that you’ve achieved so it would be interesting to have a brief discussion or a in fact a more in-depth discussion about a number of the factors or the levers that you have pulled that you think have contributed to your growth most significantly so I don’t know what you’d put as being your top um top one probably taking risk I mean It ultimately comes down to that you’ve got to if if you’re wanting to run a law firm if you’re wanting to work for yourself in terms of your own Law Firm then you’ve got to take that risk and totally would agree that it’s not it’s not for everyone um it’s very easy to reflect after 10 years and you know only remember the good bits that were certainly stressful bits especially at the start but there were times when it could have gone up you know another way in many different respects I can recall just being completely candid I can recall what’s in that first year working extremely long hours work the night didn’t mind it so much because you could see it as part of a project but then also uh can remember going to meet I think Dad’s birthday and come down from wish that the Architects office in West George Street about 88 on a Friday night to go and meet my family for a dinner at Two Fat Ladies I think it was sitting down and feeling myself getting anxious at how long the meal was coming because I wanted to get it eaten because I wanted to go back up and finish what it was I was doing because I was you know feeling the pressure of that and the plan was to work that weekend and try get things finished so it’s whatever you take it’s definitely not plain sailing at all in terms of the growth aspect that you asked about if I mean I’ll probably have lots of cliches here so you need to bear with me here Stephen but there’s definitely an aspect of speculate to accumulate in that regard and certainly if the nature of some work that we do you need to spend money to get that work I know we’ll undoubtedly s with digital marketing because that’s your that’s your niche that’s your area of expertise um and you’ve got to take a risk you obviously take a calculated guess you think about what the turn of investment is going to be whether it’s worthwhile whether it’s something you can afford to do but nothing’s certain and you know there was certainly times again probably the first three or four years where we took big step forward in terms of taking on sources of business which on a lot of occasions involved putting lots of money out the door before that money would come back for those cheques come home to RIS so you can see you know when you see Bank balances fluctuate in such a dramatic business which and basis which again will be something that you’re already can a small business owner be familiar with you’ve got to kind of hold your nerve and you’ve got to be if you want to grow you’ve got to be able to take those calculated risks so what a very long answer to a short question so risk is the answer that you’re looking for no it’s an important one though because I think um you know I would be the same and I’m sure many small business owners are the same where in their mood or my mood can go up and down with my bank balance and it’s you know I look at the bank balance almost every day you fortunately in our business we have a huge amount of recurring Revenue so it’s relatively stable from that point of view but I you know you mentioned earlier on about the personal injury sector and perhaps some of the bigger players maybe having a push at you maybe to test your resolve and also I imagine they’re also testing your cash flow from that point of view and because you’ve got to you’ve got to fund the cases as they are progressing yeah how is Ross from a risk profile point of view in that regard and how have you  manage to manage your cash flow from that point of view yeah I mean so that’s kind of that that’s quite uh that’s quite an important point for us as a partnership because Ross Sly compared with me Ross takes a completely different view of risk and actually that saved my bacon in a lot of occasions that’s help to have that kind of the Y and yang aspect to it you know he would joke about that he would call himself and you know the money guy the guy that watches the petties etc so I think I’ve kind of pushed him in that regard and he’s kind of pulled me back equally and that’s helped and you know upon reflection we had lots of arguments and but we’ve got a strong relationship and that’s been helpful I think one of the things that lost people will tell you terms of businesses don’t go into partnership don’t tie yourself to somebody because most Partnerships fail most Partnerships split up um and we’ve been lucky enough that we’ve developed an understanding and it’s an understanding which literally could involve you know raised voices to one another quite frequently but then we’re very quickly able to work it through and come to an agreement or be it sometimes an agreement but on reflection and again looking back I look it some with the battles that I’ve had with them where perhaps I’d be looking to take a try make it I’m not trying to make it sound adventurous or sexy I’m perhaps trying to take the next step forward he’s a bit more cautious but it and in fact he’s been right on a lot of occasions um you know so it’s useful to have that sound important it’s useful to have different personalities in that regard I believe yeah and so how then have you both dealt with the pressures of cash flow from that point of view you know in terms of you know been able to manage the way in which you’re reacting to some of those things given that you’ve both got different personalities in that regard yeah don’t know um I don’t have a magic answer to that Stephen I think one of the things that certainly helped do is when we set the firm up and indeed till this point we’ve always done a number of different areas of law so even when you’re talking about dramatic things like pandemics where certain things go through the floor all there be other things that are busier Etc just and that is and has always be part of the challenge now we become a bigger entity is just to be more consistent just to know and to be able to project what’s going to happen month to month to the extent that you can obviously you don’t control macroeconomic things like pandemics and there you know you’ve got to uh have some faith that if these are happening you find the way through but been able to practice in different areas of law we’re lucky enough that we’ve not had them all tanking at the one-time uh so there’s always been something to kind of keep going and but certainly there’s been bad days in terms of the convincing for example it losses kind of bread butter commercial property and there’s been bad days in terms of litigation stuff which i’ve taken work to do with um and you get through thankfully those bad days have been bad enough that it shuts the doors um you know we’ve we went through an acquisition of a firm a number of years ago now which was extremely challenging except a firm in administration where people were losing  jobs lots of clients and of that previous firm were left in uh stressful situations so you know there have been you there’ve been the tough days but I think again if you can sort of if you can see the light at the end of the tunnel then that definitely keeps you going because what’s the alternative yeah I think that’s a that’s a big aspect of running a business everyone talks about it about um resilience and I think a number of years ago I was getting mentored by somebody and he explained to me that running your own business was less like being a Ferrari and much more about being a tractor you know and being able to just keep going over the bumps and the road and over the rough terrain at a steady pace and that you know rarely you know you have an overnight success story it’s normally built on a whole a whole range of or a history of hard work and resilience so that the first thing really the first aspect you can attribute a lot of your growth to is one and I healthy and appropriate

 

[20:00] attitude to risk you you’ve obviously had to build your um client base so I imagine you’ve also taken a strong approach to business development and sales yeah I mean that’s kind of the main thing for me personally and as being the business development and the sales aspect of things they don’t get me wrong I I did the legal stuff back in the day and you know I like to remind existing colleagues of mine that I did do it I know how to do it as much as they might not believe me sometimes but yeah I’ve been to the trenches and been yeah and core I’ve been to tribunals and inquiries and all this kind of stuff which I loved it’s a great part of the job it’s fantastic I love seeing our young lawyers get exposed to that stuff when the opportunity arises as well but certainly then and now it’s been about getting the clients in um I I kind of feel that if you can do that or if we’re talking more broadly if you can do that than the rest looks after itself to an extent now obviously you want to fine tune your tractor so that it’s going it’s going and it’s working in a way that you know you’re getting the best possible result from every unit of business that’s coming into the machine uh but getting the business in is the fundamental part of it in terms of um so you’ve moved gradually sort of off the tools so to speak and I personally I think it’s absolutely fundamental that people play to their strengths and are able to identify in order for this business to progress I need to be building or bringing in a steady flow of new prospects to get it back to the stage where you know exactly how many conversations you need to be having on a monthly basis in order to grow your business have you saw um over the piece mentorship for coaching from others yeah um absolutely uh both on a formal and an informal basis um and especially the beginning I I spoke to and took it didn’t take advice I listened to advice from as many people as I possibly could and certainly that would be one thing if I got the opportunity to pass on you know to a younger me or somebody that was looking St any business I would encourage them to speak to as many people in the door as they can and then you know look at that advice and decide which part you want to take forward and which part you want to apply to your own situation so yeah that’s that rarely to have such a conversation Sly with somebody who’s been there and done it or you don’t take something away that you’re able to S action I also write everything down um and that’s uh mostly because my memory is absolutely awful I think we may have spoken about this before so you know I’ve got everything written down and that’s quite help to go back and reflect in that stuff and you know indeed when I look back to some of the notes and emails that I exchange with people before I started the F around about that time some of them you can you’d laugh out loud them some of the ideas you know what you thought you were doing and where you were going but equally I’m a strong believer of the old that you having a written plan really helps that because it allows you to reflect and that that plan should be your plan but it’s also have goals and you know what you would like to be what you’d like to achieve what You’d like to look like after the period of time I think that think that helps no I think um planning’s a big factor in something that I’m quite passionate about too but on the understanding that the plan the sort of written plan is a work of fiction and that it’s the process of planning that’s actually really helpful which means that you interrogate and reflect on your reasoning and then when you’re not hitting Milestones or when you’re not hitting targets Etc that you’ve set for yourself you’re able to understand and reflect on why and then amend the plan accordingly because I imagine the firm that you’ve got now is entirely different to the one that you envisaged at the outset or certainly the one that you planned for when you were at the table in the architect’s office yep absolutely of course it is I mean the firm that the firm that we’ve got we’re extremely proud of we’re extremely proud of the people that are there um quality of people not just the lawyers para legal  support staff of you know every team member um very proud of the ethos and the atmosphere within the f a place where lots of people lots of lawyers lots of trainees have peers everyone work with their best peers um which for me and I think I mentioned this sometime recently has been the biggest achievement out the lot it really is our social side of things are brilliant fun and it’s great to see you know these young guys I have heard yeah it’s stuff a legend some stuff I should say it’s CM down a bit it’s C down a bit but yeah it’s there still a great laugh um and it’s probably to see enjoy it thoroughly and but in terms of a plan I mean yeah plan beats no plan as they say right but it was to have thought that we would be the size that we at it certainly wasn’t the plan and it certainly wasn’t something that was anticipated at all the plan in the beginning I think the planning for everyone in the begin it has to be to keep going to make it past that first year two years three years and then you can take it from there and how have you refined your service offering well obviously with the size of the firm we are we’ve got to provide service to a larger number of clients and sources so it becomes less of a personal thing it’s I obviously don’t touch or have interactions with most of the cases so we’ve got you’ve got to build systems and you’ve got to build processes the way they do that and that’s an ongoing project that you you’re constantly tinkering these things you’re constantly trying to prove them and you could always be doing better in that regard to what extent does the information that you are able to extract from your database and form your decision making and how has the sort of deployment of technology in general assisted with the growth of the firm yeah it’s massive it’s massive um it used to be very basic and that you know you spoke and we mentioned earlier fluctuations in the bank account that’s literally how it used to be you would look and you go right well it’s going well this month I don’t need to know anything else just by virtual or it’s looking tight this month how we going to back in these PS that are coming out or these invoices are due or direct debits or whatever else is and that was the extend if you’re and again to some extent that is fight that’s the ultimate isn’t it you know just knowing that you’re making the profit to survive and making the profit to be able to reinvest in certain areas of a business now I’m is certainly not my strong point but we’ve now got an excellent operations team uh that deal with that type of stuff that present information want excellent sales team um you know guys that turn snakes into ladders you know make it work in terms of the side of things so that you can look at a glance and make strategic decisions so it’s extremely important and really helpful I mean I think my own view of is that a lot of law firms use maybe fractions of their case management system and it’s potential in order to extract the information that they need and that’s why you do need to get either Finance or operations professionals who are able to pull that out for you are there any other levers that you’ve pulled that you’d would that you would say have contributed very significantly to your success looking back um so we talked about risk we talked about sales I think and again it’s kind of cliche but having quality people has been important and I’m speaking from the perspective somebody that of course has had people that haven’t worked out and perhaps not been the right fit for the firm Etc and everyone say everyone says it and you see you know you can of roll your eyes when you hear what firms talk about how they’re different and how the people’s the area or their people differential make them special um you know I wouldn’t be so bold to say that but I think you develop a skill of an intuition and I’m not me personally this could obviously be people within their organisation to find people that fit um My Kind Of Man late has been I would rather have somebody that is sharp and enthusiastic than somebody that has got 10 years’ experience and has you know has become a bit jaded from things or you know whatever is perhaps look get the right attitude for things we’ve got lots of them we’ve got absolutely battle Lo tends to be young sharp enthusiastic guy who you know you see as being the future of things you see be your Superstars you hope to stay you do your best to make them stay within the parameters that enforced upon you and having these guys and some of them have now been with us for a while extremely strong number of Associates or sisters at associate level just we’ve got brilliant para legal teams or created batch of Trades and just in again an extremely tight unit um and some of them are you know

 

[30:00] future superstars no doubts about it so you do what you can to keep those Superstars within your firm and that is more than half the battle so recruitment um retention but also really what you’re referring to a lot is culture yeah absolutely uh culture’s culture is massively important and again culture becomes quite Dr becomes quite po everyone says our culture is the best night there you don’t know I believe that our culture is a good one I believe it’s very much an open door policy I believe that we don’t even have the option to be a stuffy Old Law Firm because we’re not old and you know that and that’s a demographic thing and that’s also just simply age of the firm being 10 years old so it’s that work has changed since I’ve been in the workforce um you know yourself the pandemic is a big shift a big leverage you affectively with this um the attitudes or younger staff are that they would all and they should have it all and that’s brilliant um they should they  should push themselves for that they should push their own uh their own agenda well obviously being a team player um because you need you need everyone say direction for the greater good in that regard that’s a really interesting point Greg because it’s one that’s being referred to as this as this um friction between the sort of Baby Boomers and gen Z you know and I definitely we’ve been thinking about this a lot ourselves recently around the impact of the pandemic on working practice and people wanting to build their work around their lives much more but I’ve not heard somebody in your position Embrace that attitude to such an extent I don’t really think you’ve got a choice and actually I think it’s I think it is for the best um it’s chased completely and you know it be difficult if you trainees or young para legal was team members list this just what you talking about and what I’d really like through our perspective is if if you’ve got somebody into your firm who work other places and have seen what it’s like and are able to sort of feel the contrast again not saying we’ve got everything perfect we absolutely do not but it’s useful to kind of you know to have that experience of either what it used to be like or what it still can be like in some places which haven’t perhaps embraced that to the same extent I don’t but back when you’re talking about baby boomers you’re probably closer to that when we so you can give the that perspective of things thanks um the uh I think yeah you know it it’s just a I think it’s probably the pandemic in my view has had the biggest impact on work and when I first started in legal practice I was determined that I was not going to be spending 9 to5 every day in an office like that or somewhere like that between a Monday and Friday that was before the internet really became a true commercial tool now over time attitudes have shifted but the pandemic has accelerated that somewhat and particularly for the younger person who I think early on in their career suddenly was able to build their work around their life and it’s trying to in in my view sort of try to get the balance between wanting to get everything now or wanting to you know as you described earlier on Greg and I was the same when I first started my business I worked I had a young family I worked every day and I worked every night in order to start to get that going now I have a very flexible life you know we do reasonably well as a business I’m fine personally Etc but I had to forsake or sacrifice a reasonable amount at the outset in order for that to happen and personally I think there’s just a bit more of learning that requires to be done a wee bit by some young are people to make a decision go either I want it all now or I’m prepared to do a lot more in terms of initiative Etc or engagement just now and then I understand that I’ll get it all a bit later yeah I I and that’s where I think there’s a bit of a conflict at the moment yeah I mean you can’t it’s you can think that you want about wanting it all now but you’re not going to get anything for free at all by stopping your feet and you know insisting that that’s going to happen you I would like to think that certainly within our firm if guys want to uh progress if they want to put themselves forward for roles promotion whatever then there’s a rout to that there’s you know there’s you but undoubtedly part of that is hard work and showing initiative showing leadership being a team player um finding you know new ways and New Opportunities and you know presenting them and I would like to think that us as an organisation support that to the extent we can we always at least try to and if we’re not we’ll have a conversation about it yeah I mean I think it’s about being open around the discussion around it and understanding that there is a change Dynamic at work which has been brought about by being able to work at home but making it more obvious that there’s a decision to make I mean people talk about younger people it’s harder to differentiate these days but actually I think it’s easier because if you do sure l of Engagement and initiative and enthusiasm and a willingness to attend the office whenever then if that’s what’s being asked of you then you can separate yourself quite easily from the crowd um I’m just getting a conscious of time here so I was wanting to cover as well are there any so we’ve covered a few aspects around reasons for Success what about any individual Lessons Learned that that ultimately will be a reasons for success but would have been a maybe a painful lesson at that time um I think we’ve covered a few of them I mean certainly with regards to you know risk Taking Chances I mean on a basic level we’ve always tried to avoid debt where possible um I think that is something that’s get the potential for you know stress uh disproportionate stress um and that’s just a personal thing to some extent in s like larger things acquisition and debt and that’s part of it but as long as you can see with anything where you’re spending a lot of money you’ve got to be able to see a clear return on investment because otherwise that spend is fat and it’s not muscle so Roi is extremely important and that you know that’s something you’ve got to keep under review with regards to everything you’re doing and to reflect back on what we were saying earlier about environment and you know work life balance and quality Etc we do what we can there we like to be able to you know have as many possible benefits as we can in the sphere of well-being and everything else that comes with it now you don’t obviously see an immediate return and investment in that in terms of pounds and pens but you hope to see investment by creating a better working environment by creating a place people work had there to be uh create a basis for trading and development they feel that they are supported um so that they want to stay with you and at least develop part of their career with you um so yeah Roi and perhaps direct Roi is important one for sure we spoke about Vice and you know certainly that would one of be open to all kinds of advice um and that’s been helpful because you almost always pick up something and then I guess lastly in that regard along the same thing if you do make mistakes and you do something which is costly provided that’s not vital then you’ve got to be able to move on from them quickly but you’ve got to be able to view them as learning you’ve got to view almost view that mistake if it cost you money or otherwise as tuition fees and keep that lesson with you you’ve paid for it the hard way so make sure it doesn’t happen again where that can possibly be avoided yeah we talked about that recently I think you know it’s a thing is very important one is that and is to look at the painful bits at the positives that come out of it in terms of a change of approach certainly where it’s not fatal in a sort of business sense obviously and um in terms of so we specialise in generating Business Online for firms to what extent is digital marketing played a part in your growth it’s big for us now um at the start we did none of it we did no marketing at all I’m just relied on uh personal relationships and developing those personal relationships like we referred to and to some extent that’s that that allowed us to have a necessary low profile which enabled growth at the time and now digital marketing are fundamental certain aspects of our business that we don’t ever wholly rely on digital marketing because I think that’s a dangerous space to be in but I think it certainly the world of Legal Services it’s a necessary supplement um for those PR those areas and you hear you hear a lot of sub stories

 

[40:00] in relation to digital marketing you hear a lot of people that feel that they’ve been sold The Emperor’s New Clothes in terms of promises that they’ get made and then you hear about firms that survive and flourish on mostly digital marketing so we work both ways and you know it’s an important area from which to receive professional I certainly I think you know we it’s the same for us as a digital marketing business it’s a part of it’s a part of the mix in terms of the lead gen and what you have to have is a broad mix of um networking speaking to people event attendance you know as you say talking through contacts getting referrals as well as having digital marketing and Leen in in the mix that you can’t be just relying on one and then what so for the future of Jones Whyte where do you see that that going and where do you see the future of legal service going for you know you’re a medium-sized practice now but in this you know in the small to medium-sized practice environment so what I would like to see happening is i’d like to see some of these tends to be younger but some of these younger lawyers and leaders really kind of step forward and you know present a case for them to come and be part of the leadership team within our Pharmacy leadership team rather than partnership because a lot of the leaders within our firm are lawyers um so obviously um I feel that we’ve got the potential to be really strong in that regard because of the people that are coming up through the ranks and there’s obviously an opportunity and undoubtedly speaking there’s a large opportunity for Acquisitions um these are something that are getting presented more and more frequently uh to us and others that playing this sphere as again mentions as a baby boom generation come towards the age of retirement with a law practice that’s perhaps been allow for 20 25 years um there’s a real potential for firms like ours to work in partnership with them or work towards an acquisition with them or a merger and grow into other strategic areas so that’s a possibility and you know we got conversations in relation to that and we always tend at the moment I think that’s certainly got to be part of the plan but it’s not actually named as a legal services the one thing that I would say in terms of future of legal Services is I don’t think I think AI is obviously and everyone to speak to you especially the AI in the field that you’re in but I think there’s always going to be a place for a personal and a personalised legal service um especially in tactical areas of law such as litigation where you want to sort of be thinking sometimes a bit like moving of a chessboard and to the extent you put your faith in a robot in that regard probably remains to be seen but certainly for the majority of clients and we do with that sort of personalised touch we able to give that tactical advice I don’t think that’s going to go anywhere in the near future and know I think that’s it’s an interesting point because really you’ve got to understand your opponent in any particular case or negotiation or whatever that might be understand their personality understand the way that they might approach things and to a certain extent tailor your activity on the back of that and on the back of that understanding which I don’t think is something that can be replaced in any way quickly certainly in those areas where you describe as being tactical you also mentioned earlier on the fact that you will have areas of practice that cease saw you know and that’s something I think that makes the legal services area particularly sort of general practice very resilient because you have this balance within the firm so that where one area goes up the other goes down and vice versa I mean sometimes you get it where they’re just of sitting you know relatively equal um but what like to say now Greg is thank you very much for spending your time with me that’s been it’s been really useful you know I’ve said that to you before I think what you’ve achieved what you and Ross have achieved in the space of time that you have done is remarkable within Legal Services I’m not sure of many others who’ve achieved that growth in the same way that you have I do know from discussion with others you know that one of the main drivers for that is you and the amount of effort that you have put into understanding that in order to grow your practice you have to spend your time doing effective Business Development and in the back you know and as you say that makes life easier when you’ve got new business coming in and you’ve got instructions and there’s a degree of confidence about that then you can build your processes in the background and yes you will get some mistakes along the way as everyone will do but that’s part of the one it’s the part of the human condition and two it’s part of actually just running a business so congratulations to you and Ross I’m pleased to say that it’s becoming less and less about me all the time and less and less and more and more about what our team can do and you’ve got people in there doing specialised areas of work hell of a lot better than me so it’s all about you know keeping them and keeping them happy keeping them to be part of the team make sure we see a future with us but yeah listen a pleasure to speak to you as always Stephen and good luck with this series okay thank you thanks very much cheers bye-bye I hope you found that discussion with Greg of interest and of use to you thanks for listening Please Subscribe and to find out more please visit mltdigital.co.uk/podcast.

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