Passionate advice / impartial professionalism

By Ed Savory, Birketts

AI, automation, systemisation, mechanisation, digitalisation and modernisation are accelerating in the world of professional services, so ignore them at your peril.
Published in Norfolk Director Magazine, Winter 2021|22
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Legal: Birketts

The glue that binds

Yet, relationships, rapport and passion are the glue which binds clients to their professional advisers. Importantly, it is also the glue that binds employees to their employer. And if you accept that the outfacing persona of a professional firm reflects its internal self, then you should abide by the following order of priority: employees, clients/customers, owners. In that order. 

None of this glue can be automated, systemised or mechanised. Using the latest technology to improve service levels, accuracy and efficiency should sit alongside the human side of providing professional advice.

At Birketts we are passionate about what we do. Why? Because without passion there is no soul (and for jazz lovers, without soul there is no rhythm). Why does that matter to our clients? It is all to do with the advice and the experience…

Impartial advice

If you want the legal answer to a question, you can probably google it and get most of the way there. In reality however, much of our work is about providing guidance, counsel and an impartial view on matters which are quasi legal at best. The response to which is un-googleable. This is because, the adviser needs to understand the business, the commercial context and the personalities involved.

The only way to be in a position to learn all of this is to go deeper with the client and this is where the passion comes in. You can only be passionate if you are engaged and in order to be engaged, there needs to be enjoyment. And remember, the opposite of fun is unfunny, not serious. In other words, providing serious professional advice whilst having fun is mutually compatible.   

The way we manage our client relationships is by getting to know you and tailoring our approach accordingly. Often, this involves bringing in colleagues or contacts who have specific sector knowledge or professional expertise. This approach allows us to develop a commercial awareness of the situation and to overlay the advice with business acumen.

In addition, because we are not ‘in the business’, we are able to provide impartial advice. This means sometimes telling the client what they don’t want to hear but need to hear. For example, when advising on an M&A transaction, the best advice might be to pull out. Yes, we may not earn the fee we had hoped for but the long term relationship with the client is far more valuable than the short term financial reward.

Interestingly, I have drafted this article on a train to London on my way to meet with a client to discuss business and opportunities. Could we have each stayed at home and done the meeting virtually? Yes. Would I get the depth of insight into the business and further develop my passion for advising this client? I very much doubt it. 

If you are interested in enjoying your experience of working with lawyers who are passionate about helping to develop and evolve your business, then Birketts could be the firm for you.

Ed Savory is Partner at Birketts LLP
T: 01603 756479
E: edward-savory@birketts.co.uk or visit birketts.co.uk/our-lawyers/norwich/ed-savory 

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