Martyn Jennings interviews Andy Poole about the Law Firm Ambition collaboration
Martyn Jennings interviews legal sector partner Andy Poole of accountants Armstrong Watson about his support for the pioneering Law Firm Ambition collaboration that Burcher Jennings is also supporting.
Martyn: Andy, you are a well known figure in the legal sector, but tell us a little about yourself.
Andy: This may make me sound a little odd, but since I’ve specialised exclusively in the legal sector since 2004, I actually feel more like a lawyer than the chartered accountant that I actually am. I provide compliance accounting, tax and SAR services to law firms throughout the whole of the UK and I help them to improve by providing benchmarking, strategic consultancy, merger assistance, structural reviews and training courses. I pride myself on working proactively with law firms on issues that may impact them. I enjoy speaking at national solicitors’ conferences and I’m the co-author the Law Society’s toolkit on financial stability. I am proud that Armstrong Watson are partnered with the Law Society for the provision of accountancy services to law firms throughout England and Wales.
Martyn: And tell us about Law Firm Ambition (LFA) website.
Andy: As LFA’s strapline says, the purpose is “Making it easier to grow your law firm”.
If you look at the list of over 100 legal sector experts who are involved, you will see that it is quite an ambitious project. Law Firm Ambition is a resource for law firms, featuring advice and insights from the industry’s foremost experts. You will find every important subject covered, from growth strategy to finance, risk and compliance – and we are adding more content the whole time. It’s exactly what you need to make it easier to run and grow your firm.
Martyn: You were very quick to join the Law Firm Ambition (LFA) team. Who is Law Firm Ambition supported by?
Andy: That’s the really exciting part. There are six excellent legal sector brands behind it, in addition to Burcher Jennings and Armstrong Watson. They are Travelers, Lloyds Bank, The Cashroom, Document Direct, Hazlewoods and Shieldpay. Between us all, we have plenty of knowledge to share.
It is a very strong group and there’s a lot that we can do to make life easier for law firms and to make them safer and more prosperous in the process, for everyone’s benefit. It was a no-brainer to be part of such a ground-breaking team of experts.
Martyn: What makes Law Firm Ambition different from all the other legal sector resource websites?
Andy: Yes, we are all drowning in information already, aren’t we? So there is no point just adding to it. For example, this week I could probably dig up a hundred published blogs talking about marketing or cashflow, interesting perhaps, but probably of little actual relevance or value.
On Law Firm Ambition, we all stick to helping people with practical issues around running a law firm. We only write something if we are confident that it will be well read and shared. We then regularly update each item, as part of a growing library of “how-to” content. We understand that everyone is so busy, so when we put content together, we make sure it tells you exactly what you want and need to know, with no frills.
Martyn: Right. So what topics have been covered?
Andy: We started with strategy and marketing, the two growth topics. We then focused on finance and risk control, as getting these right is central to stability and survival. Now we are broadening out into other topics, including people management and compliance.
Until you actually read the content, or watch the podcasts, this may not sound like a big deal. But it is. The Law Firm Ambition content is quite unlike anything else I’ve seen in the legal sector.
Martyn: What is your favourite bit of content?
Andy: Well, I am delighted to say that the most visited page on the website is my own set of 27 FAQs on becoming a partner in a law firm. Another top page is my colleague Tom Blandford’s FAQs on selling a law firm. But to be honest you can click open any page and you will find the same hyper-practical type of information that gets straight to the point of the matter. The editorial team makes sure of that.
It makes quite a change to all the pay-to-publish content that one so often sees in the legal sector. The LFA content is written to address the issues faced by law firms, rather than promoting the agenda of the organisation writing it.
Martyn: What feedback have you received from law firms about LFA?
Andy: The volumes of firms visiting LFA and using its resources speaks for itself, particularly when those firms have multiple re-visits. When people come back for more, you know that it is valued. I’ve also spoken to a number of clients about it and they really like the fact they can obtain helpful guidance that’s easy to read and does not take them too long to digest.
Martyn: What are the plans for LFA going forwards?
Andy: Well, for a start, we will patiently carry on working with the experts to grow the website and update all of the content. We then have plenty of other plans for how we can make life easier for law firms, and these will be revealed over the coming 18 months.
Martyn: Lastly, I have to ask you, what are your views on the post-Covid world?
Andy: I’m not sure we’re quite on the post-Covid world just yet, nor may we be for quite a while unfortunately. Covid has definitely changed the business of law - in many ways for the better - and law firms will look to make sure the beneficial changes stick. Is the way we operate changed for ever and the office dead? Yes, and no. Hopefully we’ll continue to use technology to avoid unnecessary travel, printing, postage etc – helping to save time and have a better work life balance, as well as helping the environment. I think we’ll work more flexibly in the future, but we will need office time in order to build and maintain culture, supervision, training, collegiality and generation of new ideas. I’m just writing a chapter for a new book being published by Wilmington which focuses on the need for flexible management in the future of law – look out for that hitting your favourite bookstore soon.
The eight Founding Partners of Law Firm Ambition are:
Further information about Law Firm Ambition can be found at: https://lawfirmambition.co.uk/