Even if making resolutions is not your thing, creating a checklist of priority actions is a useful step towards achieving your goals in 2018. We asked experts from the Law Society’s Small Firms Committee to reveal their new year resolutions for business success. Here’s a selection of their comments and advice for small firm practitioners.
‘We plan to use the first quarter of 2018 to really focus on the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and, as part of that, our cybersecurity. Although it seems an onerous task, we feel the underlying reasons for the GDPR are sound and we are using it as an opportunity to escalate the importance of handling data securely and improving generally the management of risk.’
Philip Giles, partner, Giles Wilson Solicitors
‘In 2018, my firm will be looking to build on the success of the last four years and to continue to promote the advantages of solicitor advocacy to clients and fellow solicitors specialising in litigation. The advantage to the client is that they do not have to incur additional costs for a second legal professional to conduct their case to a final hearing; for the solicitor, the case can be run seamlessly from start to finish and at fixed costs, if required.
‘This year, the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) will continue to bang the drum for transparency in costs, and the consultation on the Jackson reforms on fixed recoverable costs will get underway. Your new year’s business resolution must be to adapt, so that you maintain a competitive edge in the legal market. As the Jamaican saying goes, you can be “Likkle but Tallawah” – small, yet strong.’
Sophie Khan, solicitor-director at Sophie Khan & Co Solicitors and Higher Court Advocates
‘Joint research from the Legal Ombudsman (LeO) &the SRA launched before Christmas found that only 34 per cent of law firms reported providing information to consumers about the LeO complaints process, even though solicitors are required by their own regulatory rules to do so. Small firms like ours can always improve the way in which we handle complaints. As emphasised at the Small Firms Division’s recent popular complaints management seminar, we must:
- mention the complaints process in our client care letter
- ensure LeO details are in our complaints process
- ensure LeO contact details and timescales are in our final response letter.’
Tony Roe, principal, Tony Roe Divorce & Family Law Solicitors
‘My resolution for 2018 is to get better at delegating. I think small business owners can be quite possessive about work, mainly due to concerns about junior staff potentially making minor mistakes which might upset important clients. It often seems easier and quicker to do jobs which could easily be delegated oneself. Delegating tasks, including complex ones, give junior staff extra experience and frees up senior staff to take on more work. It works well, provided there is good supervision. I plan to take on extra support staff next year and get better at delegating to them.’
Melanie Craig, principal, Craig Solicitors