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Episode ten - Peter Jackson

Episode ten of the Your Law Firm Success podcast features Peter Jackson, CEO of Hill Dickinson, to discuss leadership, culture and practical tips on how to get your pricing right with host Stephen Moore.

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Okay so today’s edition of the law your Law Firm success podcast was with Pete Jackson the soon to be retiring CEO of Hill Dickinson, Hill Dickinson is a mid-market law firm turning over around about 140 million during Pete’s time he’s been there from going from roughly about 50 members of staff to 1000 so he’s been through it all from small to large firm one of the subjects that we cover in some detail which I think is really interesting is around the impact of the billable hour and its impact perhaps conflict in fact we didn’t find it to be a conflict as impact on the client solicitor relationship and also on the extent to which this Listen can find purpose within their job I hope you enjoy it and thank you for listening Peter thank you very much thank you very much for your time you have been the CEO of Hill Dickinson for some for some time now and due to retire I was wondering if we could start off with a bit of background on you I know you started off from recent article as a glass collector, but you’ve obviously moved on from there yeah I think I’ve gone down in the world but we’re coping with this we’re coping with it yeah so my first interest in the law really came by chance because I did what we used to call Arts at A levels at school  English and history was what I really enjoyed I turned up at French lessons and I think I got a I think I got a pass in it but it was only just but I really had no idea how I would use that that education save that I knew somewhat instinctively then that I didn’t want necessarily to be a teacher that that wasn’t where I envisaged going and it was a very close pal of mine some family friend who had done a similar route to the same school but a few years before me and had gone off to University to study law that sort of gave me the idea because as he described the study the sort of things that that he did that peaked my interest  and in a in a number of ways I mean a subject in principle the method I was a bit of a bit of a SWAT if the truth be known I didn’t mind studying and working hard and it sounded like a subject that was part practical but very academic as well and for some rather sad reason that appealed to me so I applied to do law was fortunate to get in and did it I still then for a couple of years had no idea where it was leading me in terms of a mean meaningful and gainful employment at the end of the day second year of evening my tutor made it clear that  not having an idea where I might be going with this wasn’t really the best thing I could do and at that point really it was a choice between going to the bar to become a barer or  into private practice to become a solicitor or at least it was for me anyway I didn’t think then that I was going to be quick enough on my feet to be a barrister and engage in  wise debate with Learner members of the bar judges so I took what I thought was the easy route and applied to go to college of law solicitors and also then had to apply for what we then called articles of clerkship to train to be a semester and through a rather  windy route I ended up at Hill Dickinson I did an internship for a couple of years here then, in the early 80s and then started on the 1 September 1983 as an article Clark was paid Prince princely s of £3,500 per annum for the privilege of learning at the feet of the Masters and to be honest it wasn’t long after the payment regime was the other way around that if you wanted articles you had to cough up for them thankfully that had changed by my date yeah Changed by my day but  that was the old the older idea so yeah first September 1983 okay so that’s and I was not that good at mass at school but that’s 40 years ago this September and he tell me about Hill Dickinson at that point yeah Hill Dickinson at that point was an entirely different business to that which it is today  it had offices in Liverpool and London that weren’t in any way really coordinated they were just two businesses with an element of Goodwill that operated separately  I think we were about 10 Partners in Liverpool there weren’t many qualified lawyers below the rank of partner it was very top heavy Partners were workers you know the idea of Business Development in any scientific or structured way wasn’t really on the agenda  there was no transparency about how the firm was doing financially so far as I was concerned as an as an article Clark and in fact quite frankly for some years afterwards it was a very different culture  I do remember going out with my principal to the slaughter house  in Liverpool city centre for a good night out the night that the Liverpool office billed million per annum for the first time ever so can you tell me about Hill Dickinson today then by means of contrast sure yeah by terms of contrast well I mean this year we will turn over around about 140 million pound sterling we’ve got a thousand people 155 of them are Partners at one fall shape or another we in Liverpool London Leeds Manchester Birmingham I’m sure I’ve forgotten something the Newcastle in the UK and we have overseas offices in Monaco Hong Kong Singapore and Athens Piraeus with Associated offices in Cyprus and in Geneva so it’s a very when I say it was a totally different animal I mean it’s unrecognisable to what it is today and so can you remember how many staff were in it when you started in 1983 oh I’m trying to think if he was 50 including the partners in Liverpool at the time I might be exaggerating to be honest it was a relatively small operation yeah so this is quite interesting I think because this you know the your Law Firm success podcast is focused primarily on the majority of the legal Market in the UK which you know small to medium-sized practices and you obviously started when Hill Dickinson would be regarded now as being a small firm oh very now it’s a large firm and you’ve been there throughout, and I think I imagine that many people couldn’t see themselves going from being a 50-person firm to a thousand partner fir but you’ve been on that Journey can you tell can you tell me a bit please about your involvement in that and your movement from obviously being you we talked about you being an articled clerk you know a trainee yeah moving into being qualified and then moving into management yeah sure  my involvement in the growth really came in the second phase of my career as i’ve put it as a  leader as a manager although there were elements of growth in the early part so I qualified in 1985 and became a marine lawyer shipping lawyer  practicing in Liverpool for a good few years my client base was really Marine insurers  so some of the old names of UK Insurance Royal Insurance before it became RSA Sun Alliance that joined with a Boy commercial Union good old names Norwich Union and that was my client base because they would ensure cargos they would ensure pleasure crafts they would ensure Marine assets and when things went wrong, we would be brought in to advise them that was very much the nature of what I did many of my insurer clients or our insurer clients moved from Liverpool to Manchester during the course of the 90s and there was a shift in the insurance power base in the Northwest and the broking houses of course a generate business for insurers were becoming to be really focused in Manchester so we opened an office in Manchester 1997 and I moved over to head that office for eight years continued practicing in the same way but also became gradually over that period not disillusioned with practicing law as myself not disillusions the all were but I was beginning to see that if that was all it was then I’m not sure it was for the rest of my life as I say that wasn’t a sense of disillusionment it was just a sense of I’ve probably gone as far as I can go as a practicing lawyer without making some dramatic changes and moving into new disciplines or whatever which is very difficult to do I became Deputy managing part the first which was no promise of the of the big seat but it was we needed a deputy to help David, David Waring was this guy and ultimately was elected by the partners to be his successor in 2005 managing partner and at that point I stopped practicing  because we were there of the size that the partners felt and I agreed with them they’re trying to manage the business and manage a caseload of marine insurance work and clients was going to was going to end in disaster somewhere potentially so I had to focus on one or the other and I was comfortable with that and in the sort of 12 months leading up to it we’d gradually  introduced others to my client base and I had a successor in the team anyway who was clearly you know going to do a better job than I did quite frankly that’s the way it should be isn’t it  to be honest and he has done by the way he still doing so and so but no he’s doing a great job but we interest we started the Handover the transition if you like of the fee earning and the client work to Adrian and the team  we didn’t lose a client on the back of it not quite sure what that says about my press as a lawyer but never mind he but he did a great job in keeping it and that freed me up to go into management with a with a clear slate so to speak the size sorry just to just to finish on one final Point the size of the business when that happened was about 35 million turnover so we grown substantially over the years leading up to that and we were then still only in Liverpool Manchester and London and we’d gone back into London a couple of years well we’ve gone back into London June the 90s so this was in the early 2000s this change happened 2005 1 of November 2005 I took over as managing partner yeah and what was it about management that appealed to you and what do you think are the most important elements of behaviour that you had to change as a result of going as a result of transitioning from being a fee earner a technician to becoming a manager yeah What attracted me I think was  well no it was it was the leadership role it was a it was a job Spec if you want to put it that way that I thought I would find really interesting and satisfying and I could I had a little bit of a vision about where we might do things better and take things on and that sort of led me to put my hat in the ring and ultimately get it the second part of that was you know what yes skills do you think yeah I mean one thing I would say and I’m sure you’ve heard this from other law firm managing Partners who are My Generation we didn’t have a clue what we were doing truth be not  in the sense that there was certainly for firms of our gap at the time there was really very little by way of consultancy management development skills set training courses or stuff like that I’m sure they were there because it is only 20 years ago for heaven’s sake but in terms of where we were in the market you know there was no suggestion that I’d go off before I took over and do courses here and courses there I chose to do something like that immediately afterwards because I realised there was a gap in skill set and I did the Harvard course a couple of years after I started but I had no training going in so it was inevitably in the first the early stage it was self-taught  and good  feel what a number of things I thought really had to change I think with any lawyer who does Defence work there’s an element of reactivity in how you behave because you know you Try to defend your client’s interests if no one’s protecting them or their protection is not being challenged a particular moment then why make matters worse you know you can leave things alone you can’t do that when you’re leading you got to be on the ball and drive things forward all the time and that’s fine I recognised that pretty early on I also recognise because I was a litigator, and you know the first the first reaction in any litigator is to fight and we’ll settle it down the line you know once we’ve established our position well you can’t run a business as a litigator if that’s your mind set  does it just won’t work particularly in a part ship where you’ve got multiple stakeholders and you have to take them with you on any serious decisions and that was a bit of a wakeup call for me as well that the idea of autocracy weren’t going to happen and you know for good or bad there was a level of democracy you had to have and that required skills of persuasion slightly different to those you might have as a litigator much more conciliatory much more that bringing people with you rather than fighting against people to get your own weight or your client’s weight so that had changed pretty quickly and I realised that very early on probably made a few mistakes in the early you know early months by being perhaps a bit too aggressive and dictatorial but I did realise that had to change early and I was able to get my head around that and accommodate it what didn’t realise early on enough I think was just how much of a role model you are as the leader inevitably and whatever the size of your business and whatever the size of those who follow you know whether it’s me at the time with whatever it was 40 Partners or you know a team leader as a partner with you know an article Clark a secretary and an assistant how you behave matters how you behave will be replicated by them or seriously disliked by them in which case they will be there the law and I’m not sure that really hit me as quickly as it should have done I get it now and I’ve got it for many  years but in the early stages probably underestimated the quite the authority you’ve got in that sense of being a role a role model for others which did take a bit of time to get my head around I think that’s I mean it’s something I’ve been very aware of and I think you can be aware of that in almost every single circumstance where you go into a business however you experience it whether it’s the local gym or the local shop or whenever it might be you know there’s a number of people working and the leader behaves in a particular way and as a result all the rest of the staff follow that and if that leader is setting a very strong example of the culture or the way that in which they wish to interact with people that’s positive the others follow and it’s the same in a in a negative sense and I’m wondering just you know briefly if you’ve got any particular sources of inspiration for your leadership style that you’ve taken or observed or watched over the past that you’ve thought they’re doing that absolutely brilliantly you know obviously it might not be somebody you’ve worked with it might be you know we before we went on the call we were we’re talking about we’re talking about Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool Yeah well yeah I mean I’d love to say I had work with Jurgen Klopp wouldn’t we all but I think actually all joking side Jurgen Klopp’s a very good example and  as you know I’m you know Liverpool FC had been man of boy for 50 years going to anfield  and I was actually aware of the culture of the club amongst the Stake holders the fans whatever before Jurgen Klopp took over he has the leader did doesn’t matter which club does it he is a leader came in and basically took all took hold of the club in in the operational sense not the financial sense that was dealt with by others but the operational sense of how his people his team his players behaved how they bonded as a unit how they would operate you know how they would play on the field  and that had been totally perceptibly totally missing for some time and if you read now because they’re starting to come out because we’re into phase two of his leadership period AR we and so those who were there in Phase One are starting to speak on podcasts and write books and give a bit of an insight to what he did he made he put people first and it wasn’t just about the senior Partners the Stars the  you know the goal scorers what however you wanted to do find them it was about the staff in the canteen you know it was about the receptionists at the training ground it was about the caretaker they were all part of the business they all had a role to play it’s the old story about you know Kennedy asking sweeper Cape Canaveral what he does or Kennedy what he does well you know I said men to the Moon that was the ethos that that he brought into the club at that point and he also won over the stakeholders and I do have to be a bit technical on football again but I think it tells the story because what Klopp realised was he needed his customers on his side that he had to recreate that bond between the operational team the players and the customers what is the difference between that Elite Sporting environment and a  midmarket law firm like you did any Professional Service it’s all about people it’s all about the skill sets of the people it’s all about the people working as one unit and not as silos it’s all very well having both silent play but if no one gives him the ball because he’s a greedy so and so they ain’t going to score any goals got to behave as a collective and that was what Klopp was trying to achieve so very inspirational to go into that a bit more which I think is quite interesting is one of the things that we’ve been discussing recently on the podcast is the billable hour and the impact of the billable hour on purpose and also on the relationship that one can have with one’s clients because coming at it from one point of view would say well actually they’re in conflict because one party Wishes the matter to be concluded quickly and the other one has got fee targets to meet and has perhaps a motivation to keep that running and you talk you talked about the relationship between the club and its customers which are its fans whereas it’s  different you know for law firms because of that Dynamic what are your thoughts around that whole side of things because that’s been it’s been something that’s been raised a number of times yeah think if the reality is that you have that conflict Dynamic the relationship with the client is all wrong you know that that idea that the law firm should have a desire to run the case the deal the matter whatever it is for all it’s worth whatever the client’s best interests are if that is the real view of the law firm then that that’s that wouldn’t be if I were a client entirely acceptable if had to be totally unacceptable and it would also I think go totally against the idea I believe in that the best relationship between a client and his Law Firm her Law Firm is when the law firm is seen as a trusted advisor they happen to be a lawyer and the legalities may be what they are technically most proficient in but the best relationships are those where the partner the lawyer whoever it may be is consulted on anything that might be import to the business client regardless of whether it’s got legal implications or not because the way of thinking the trust and respect that exists between the client and the law firm is such that the client would just think he would benefit from having a view might not follow it might decide actually no I want to do something else but the relationship is such that he that he wants to know what his lawyer thinks and any anything that is predicated on well I’m working for this client so I must get as many billable hours under my belt as possible to upgrade the fee is totally eroding that trust and respect and the reality in any commercial situation with a client is that the client’s only going to do one job on that basis because as soon as he realises that his interests do not coincide with his own advisers then that’s the end of the relationship you have to put your client’s best interest first to your own detriment you have to be I think totally transparent about that and that’s how you win trust and respect that’s how you win work it’s a long it’s a long game you know being cynical and Commercial at the end of that nice little philosophical  monologue the commercial best way commercially is to have a client for the long time and a short-term approach of  massively milking the billable hour doesn’t achieve that objective in my view and isn’t in the client’s best interest so I don’t think there should be a conflict between the billable hour and the client relationship if there is you’ve got a bad relationship and it ain’t going to last quite frankly You’ got have that s so I was going to ask do you think if there is a conflict in that way then there’s also an issue with the way in which the fee earner is being targeted and managed around the way in which they deal Bill and work with their client base if there is that relationship then yes there is and whether it it’s driven by poor Management on the part of the law firm or poor communication between the management of the law firm and its players it it’s its lawyers I don’t know may maybe either may not but a sophisticated mature management team would realise that they’re actually just milk just asking its staff to milk billable hours is not in the business’s best interests because it will it will create a number of short-term client relationships and that’s not how you grow your business that’s not how you provide best service it’s not how you satisfy your client’s interest to the best Endeavor it’s not so I you know if that exists it’s not a happy situation I think it’s B it’s something that’s come up as being a of assumption and maybe it’s an assumption of mine sometimes because of the existence of the billable hour and I’m wondering how you’ve you know what your approach to that is with your fee earners in terms of training management growth moving into partnership because obviously there are Financial targets to be met yes there are and I don’t think there is anything mutually exclusive about the sort of ethos I’ve spoken about of you know partnership attitude towards the client relationship trusted advisor type and me as a as a leader me as the head of a management team demanding requesting insisting that then our lawyers do, 1500 chargeable hours per year that you know we that we have our own commercial objectives and we have to have our players deliver in accordance with those objectives but that’s not to say that we expect them want them or would allow them to do that at all cost you know and we measure everything these days and we have a pretty good idea for the value of a job and that’s the real I think that’s the real raise on debtor for these days for the existence of the billable hour it’s how we assess value because certainly in the commercial World client clients have got that the billable hour is not the be all and end all thought and value-based pricing has to be there whether it whether it is a litigation matter that is dealt with on billable hours fine or whether it is how billable hours are used to assess value in terms of fixed fee relationship or whatever it might be clients get that these days but I don’t think there’s any Mutual exclusivity there you know it also if you’ve got and I think we do have a very good quality control system in terms of listening to our clients getting feedback from clients reacting to how they come back to us we’ll know if fees are out of kilter and our lawyers are trying to do things they shouldn’t be doing and if we’re satisfied on any client coming back to us on that basis that that’s the case we take AC we deal with it so I don’t think there is that that conflict quite frankly this is really interesting because I think if you were we obviously in in my business we use time recording of course we do and we use time recording maybe in a much smaller scale but maybe a similar basis that we use the time recording as a way of then allowing us to estimate what the cost of or the price of a job will be going forward and then thereafter we use it as a benchmark as to whether or not we were accurate or not or need to move the price up or need to move the price down in order to achieve the margins that we’ve set as being acceptable  for smaller firms and for smaller firm leaders out there what would you say are your best lessons from that point of view in order to begin moving away from hourly based pricing to Value based pricing or fixed pricing and the types of reporting that is essential to enable you to assess that effectively and advance so you don’t end up shooting yourself in the foot yeah I think the first thing to say and it’s the constant dilemma debate that even we have quite frankly is you’ve got to get towards the stage of as accurate time recording as you possibly can for whatever purpose you know and I know lawyers these days B got it the well they always have bed about it haven’t they it’s not something that that lawyer mindset takes easily but it is essential for a variety of reasons that you know how long it is taking you to do a particular job as a starting point not saying it’s the only driver of a price range but you’ve got to know you know what time it’s taking you how much of your associate time is actually being taken on that deal because you know how much you pay him and you know how much the overhead around him is how are you going to make a profit out of him if you don’t know how much time he’s spending on individual tasks so to get towards true time recording is your first starting point I think the second starting point is to be absolutely clear with your client the basis on which you’re doing the job and they that may sound so obvious as to be you know not worth saying I think it’s absolutely fundamental you say it because so many times you see that law firms don’t do that they get so excited at the outset of a new job that they throw themselves into it and halfway through they think oh bugger I haven’t got an engagement letter and we never talked about costs and we didn’t do that that’s silly in this day and a that that’s leaving yourself open to all sorts of criticism you have to have its back to you your Hired Gun trusted advisor debate isn’t it you’ve got to feel confident enough to be able to say to the clients on day one the basis on which we will charge you for this piece of work is whatever it is hourly rate fixed fee capped fee whatever you’re going to whatever route you’re going to go down be absolutely clear and if it if it’s one of those jobs where you think well there’s a bit of uncertainty around this but if we get a certain result the fee could really be X plus y + Z Plus A8 but a vanilla results of this transaction is probably X well have that conversation because you know you only get X plus a plus b plus C if you do a damn good job I want you to do a damn good job this is not a this is not an acrimonious relationship hopefully be transparent about it be absolutely clear reduce it to writing the third thing I would say is Monitor it don’t get to the end of the transaction having quoted 50 Grand and suddenly find you’ve run up 250 Grand on the clock and have to go to the client and say actually when I said 50 that’s just again that’s poor management poor matter management poor time management keep an eye on it you know there are systems now available are it systems that have warning Bells when you hit various levels of working progress  that that’s the automated way to do it the digital way to do it do it manually but however you do it keep a track on matters as to where you’re going with them and keep a client updated in my experience the client that gets the atomic bill at the end of the matter he far more unhappy than the client who may pay more but gets it gradually over the course of a matter and can manage his own cash flow about how he pays his lawyers and of course that’s better for your own cash flow so I would certainly have that monitoring system in place however you do it personally I would always go for interring bills as well for the reason I just said in my experience clients prefer that you know they like to be able to cash forecast they like to be able to manage their cash flow particularly if it’s a chunky matter giving them small and often would probably be better for them than big and once at the end produces your leverage as well if you’ve done all the work and then you’re bombing them with a massive Bill they’ll be surprised if they come back and say really because your Leverage is gone so I would certainly Advocate that as well so four steps that may sound obvious but you’ve got to you’ve got to make sure they happen and they don’t always well it sounds like what you’re saying is achieving a state of commercial alignment and understanding the types of considerations that are going to be important to the client in terms of cash flow outcome value but also which is one of my favourite things is trying to introduce aspects of relationship that result in a win-win so if they win you win too and there’s an element of risk share there as well you know and I think I think that’s really and I’m conscious of time because actually we and I don’t think we’re going to be able to we haven’t actually spoken about what we agreed to speak completely off past we keep going keep going we’re having fun in in advance but it’s actually you know I think this billable hour element and trying to as younger people are entering the profession and purpose is increasingly important and a sense of purpose and I imagine you find that in terms of your recruitment that the things that are important to younger professionals entering the legal profession now are quite different to the things that were important to you and purpose being one of them and understanding how you can balance Purpose with the billable low and what you’re saying to me is actually you know if your management is done correctly then that’s entirely possible I think it is as I say I don’t think there’s an exclusivity I think there’s a commercial imperative that you do it actually and I think it’s not just a case of educating or being transparent with the client and in partnership with the client it is about I think educating your own law junior lawyers I dare I say you’re the lawyers usually the case that a law are is a business and it historically certainly when I started I don’t think now I can say quite clearly I didn’t think of the law firm as a business it was somewhere I went to practice law and you know I didn’t know how to make money I didn’t know what would result in me losing money we’ve never taught it either it was wasn’t something that Junior lawyers were expected to understand okay we are a large Law Firm mid mid-market Law Firm but we now do try to educate our lawyers in a very early stage of their careers yes they are they’re first and foremost a lawyer who’s there to run a process with clients to advise clients to whatever it might be with clients but actually you’re part of a machine that is not a charity it’s a business it’s got shareholders stakeholders and those stakeholders have to have a return on their investment or you isn’t got a job simple as that now you know that’s a dramatic end so let’s educate how you can help here yeah and it’s not just about the billable hour such and pricing and all that goes with that it’s about cash collection it’s about risk you know will you really do that job for that clients on spec with no money on account because we all know what’s going to happen oh and you’ve also agreed your bill at the end well isn’t that clever and all your leverage is gone you got their money in the bank and you just run up 50 Grand on the clock and you think he’s going to pay it okay let’s Analyse That shall we I think there is the there is a piece about getting your younger lawyers in the mindset that they understand it is a business if the client wants that the client is going to think much more of you if you show a commercial Acumen about you know how his business is being run I think you earn respect by that from clients that you want to keepand the sooner you can get your people in that mindset the better and it’s a gradual thing and not all of them will take it but those who do take it and become more senior and ultimately want to be partners it’s absolutely essential to get it for obvious reasons because there they are investors in a business they’re owners of a business if by that stage in their career they don’t understand how you make money then there’s a problem you know serious problem and gradually you’ve got to get them to that stage and really they should only become partners for their own good never mind the good of the business if they have got that mindset can get the head rounds at least a minimum of how you make and can lose money and cash flow and things that go with that and if you all that I think there’s no issue with the billable art you know yeah I think you’re I think yeah I mean I’ve made the mistake in the past of assuming that everyone would think like me in terms of understanding well that will make us money and that will lose US money but it’s not the case and sometimes it has to be fairly explicit but I think P we haven’t covered what we’re going to talk about and we won’t have time to do that today but I’ve really enjoyed talking to you so far and I’m wondering if we could do that again in the future cover that bit but just before we finish this discussion today what I normally do at the beginning is ask I guess what their definition of law form success but we’ll do it today at the end if that’s okay because we’ve covered a number of other things in the meantime so for you Law Firm success is what okay it’s an Engaged Workforce an engage group of people with the colon ambition working in a culture that the vast majority of them find acceptable and actually enables them to operate to the best of their ability and I think the outflow of that is a profitable business I don’t think you can have the profitable Business Without a culture that matches that required by your people but if you’ve got a business with that culture that the vast majority you’ll never please everybody and there’ll always be out outliers but just recognise that accept it but if the vast majority of your people are in a culture that they want to be in that they find acceptable that meets their professional personal characteristics values whatever it might be then they are much more likely to behave at their Optimum levels and want to grow and want to bring others into the business to join them and want to drive on and seek new clients and all that goes with that and that produces a financially successful business at the end of the day don’t see you can have one without the other okay I think that’s a great definition good well I think we I think we’ve got it at the moment to be honest I think our culture is there’s no good or bad culture you know we’ve all got to recognise that the culture has to be what suits the people that are in it and what I might find a bad culture others would thrive in and vice versa and we could both name law firms that neither of us would want to work in but loads of people do and they enjoy it and they get on with it that’s fine not a problem but you’ve got to create a culture that works for your people and I think we’ve got that at the moment and we’re seeing success as a result of that  and that that’s you know that’s the way it works for us I think it’s obviously something you’re very strong on clear on whether you’ve been clear on it as as a result the whole time or as a result of experience your hunches or your feelings about it have been proven to be correct as a result of the results that it’s delivered both for you and the other partners the other stakeholders and Hill Dickinson you know which then as a result underpins your confidence in that and makes it more certain for you it does and also I think I mean I don’t mind saying that it hasn’t always been like this you know we we’ve had periods where like all law firms over the last 20 years I mean there’ve been you know ups and downs for everybody but you know as as recently as seven or eight years ago there was a part of our business that no longer fitted common knowledge I’m not telling any Tales after school and at that point in time the culture wasn’t right because we didn’t have a common alignment we we had Financial issues and a result of the that didn’t fit that we’re impinging on the whole of the business because we’re one firm one partnership financially we don’t separate out profit pools or anything like that and as a consequence of that we had the reverse the culture had gone and we had a part that was sticking out and we had to do something about it and actually we were able to turn it around but I think by recognising when it was also not where we wanted it to be helps you he change that U but also when you get it where you think it should be you easily recognise it hopefully what we can do is talk about that the next time when you’ve got time if that’s okay yes but I’d like to thank you very much for your time today that was great I say we’ve not we’ve not really talked about what we agreed in advance but I think the all of the discussion around the billable hour will hopefully be of significant value to those who listen so thank you very much it’s pleasure my pleasure must it again so thanks very much for listening to today’s episode I hope you enjoyed it I hope you’re enjoying our content we’d be delighted to hear any feedback that you have you can find out more about the you your Law Firm success podcast at MLTdigital.co.uk/podcast/ Please Subscribe please share with your friends please share with anyone who you know that you think would be interested.




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