Above, Beyond And Behind: The Importance Of Support In Legal Success
Published on 13 January, 2023 | Jo Wilson
Seven years ago, I was sat in a small office in the centre of Manchester, involved in preparations for the launch of a new business.
It sometimes seems hard to believe what has happened in the time since.
From that single room and three employees, Hall Brown has grown quickly and now boasts four offices – in Manchester, London, Sheffield and Leeds – and almost 60 staff.
It has cemented its place among the country’s very best family law firms, winning a string of major awards.
Much of the attention has rightly focused on our legal capabilities. In a short space of time, Hall Brown has attracted some of the most talented specialists handling often complex children’s law matters as well as high-profile and high-value divorces.
Without fear of exaggeration, we have become something of a destination for ambitious family lawyers, whether they are at the start of their careers or considerably more experienced.
However, all of Hall Brown’s lawyers would acknowledge that an essential and very much complimentary part of the growth which the firm has seen is the support team which we have also been fortunate enough to assemble since first opening our doors in April 2016.
At a time when some firms have moved away from the very idea of having an in-house administrative function, we have remained committed to the idea that an effective and efficient support team is a key component in success.
Of course, managing that process is easier when everyone is gathered in a single location.
I believe the fact that standards have been maintained even as Hall Brown has expanded into new cities reflects character – both of the firm and the individuals within it.
Right from the outset, James and Sam wanted to establish a very distinctive culture.
As important as the emphasis on providing the very best support to clients possible was the determination to make sure that ours was a very positive place to work.
After all, trust is a vital quality in what we do. Just as our clients rely on us to guide them through incredibly sensitive periods of their lives, so we – fee earners and administrative staff – have to able to be there for one other.
It is helped by having a tremendous amount of experience between us. Most of the back office team have known each other for a considerable number of years.
Those new faces have remarked on the strong collective personality of Hall Brown as a whole.
It is something which actually enabled us to thrive during lockdown, when the camaraderie which comes from physically sharing an office together simply wasn’t possible.
As the senior office manager, I look upon my role as doing more than trying to equip support team members in each of our premises with the tools that they need to do their jobs to their best of their ability.
Just as we have invested in developing the skills of everyone who joins us, we want to make sure that each new recruit feels valued.
Confidence is obviously critical in terms of fulfilling their potential. Unlike many firms, the support team is not micro-managed or set specific targets.
Those who join us are given plenty of autonomy to do their best work in an environment which recognises – and does its best to deal with – the physical and mental strains which can arise from being involved in cases which present delicate and occasionally distressing issues.
We know that actions matter more than words and so physiotherapists are on hand to help both lawyers and administrative staff.
I would like to think that is one reason why Hall Brown’s growth has been relatively straightforward. Absolutely everybody matters.
Prospective clients know that from the first look at our website. Everyone who works within the firm is featured: a visual illustration of how we are all representatives of the excellence which Hall Brown wants has become known for.
It is no false picture. We are genuinely all seen as making an equal contribution to the firm’s progress.
Others outside of our office walls have seen that too. I’m so very proud that our support team has named by its peers as the best in the North West.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Hall Brown has now become as much of an attractive proposition for support staff as for lawyers.
Whilst that wasn’t guaranteed when we launched back in 2016, it proves hard work and putting trust in each other is not necessarily going out of fashion.