Why law isn’t a gateway to business: but it’s a start

Why law isn’t a gateway to business: but it’s a start

By Simon Goldhill

Another week. Another law firm in financial difficulty. Challinors, a sizeable Midlands practice, has announced the appointment of an administrator.

This piece isn’t about that, but it’s been sparked by one of the comments on this story on the Law Gazette’s website.

“Appointed a Non Lawyer CEO… Because we are constantly told Solicitors don't have the skills to run their own businesses.”

I don’t know whether or not this is the reason for Challinors’ problem. There is no doubt, however, that sentiments such as the above are still prevalent in the profession. This means that for the majority the corollary holds true; namely solicitors do have the skills to run their own businesses.

But do they? And is it reasonable and fair that we should even have this expectation?

Solicitors have to go through years of training and practical experience of delivering law in order to qualify. CPD obligations are there to maintain that expertise. But where is the training in the skills you need to run a business? I’m not talking about a couple of modules in accounts and practice management. In my 20+ years in practice, I was a partner for a fair chunk of it, ran departments, set up my own firm and thought I understood business. It was only after I left

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About the author:

Simon Goldhill is a business builder, strategic planner, and troubleshooter with over 30 years experience of the legal market.

The first 20+ years was as a solicitor at a number of City and Central London commercial firms. In addition to a successful practice as a commercial litigator, he also had senior management roles, including heading departments and setting up a new firm.

He then left practice and co-founded InterResolve, the UK’s first volume mediation business, which he successfully built from concept through to institutional investment.

Simon is now focused on strategic consultancy, working with innovators in the liberalised legal market. His work has included advising major national brands and developing new volume business and operational models for delivering legal services to consumers and SMEs.

 Simon Goldhill Consultancy

Simon Goldhill Consultancy works with innovators, providing strategic consultancy, advice and project work around the newly liberalised legal services market.

Coupled with other major developments in technology, consumer/client engagement and fee structures, this market will see large-scale and disruptive structural changes to how legal services are marketed, delivered, regulated and paid for in the coming years.

Its work has included advising major national brands and developing new volume business and operational models for delivering legal services to consumers and SMEs, in particular where volume and scalability are features.