A smarter way of working to navigate the partnership brick wall.

The route to equity partnership can be a long and arduous journey.  Traditionally believed by many lawyers to be the ultimate pinnacle of a career in the legal profession, increasing numbers have seen their early potential not realised, or their hopes dashed, as changing economics, tighter law firm structures and too many qualified lawyers chasing too few positions severely restrict promotion opportunities.

But for the successful percentage that do make it, challenges still abound.  Economic recovery may be talked up in the profession but there are numerous examples of partnership job cuts and practice areas being subject to shifting economic sands.  It can be a traumatic time when an equity partner, having worked so hard to achieve their position, is faced with redundancy.  In an increasingly competitive partner market, how do you stay in control of your business and your career?

George Bisnought, founder and MD of Excello Law, has long recognised the need for a better business model: “When I established Excello in 2009, I was breaking new ground in setting-up a firm that bypassed the internally competitive, silo structure of partner-led firms and one that focused fundamentally on the needs of clients and lawyers at its heart.

“Our lawyers are all successful in their own right and have a strong following, whether they have made partnership or not elsewhere. They come from all areas of private practice, including sole partnership, and thrive in a culture and structure at Excello that gives them total control and independence as to how they work, supported by strong technology, compliance, paralegal and marketing resource.

“Their focus is on looking after their clients and growing their business, not office politics or targets for billable hours.  For our clients this means greater access to senior legal advisors at more competitive prices due to increased efficiencies and overhead savings.”

Steve Thomas, an insolvency lawyer working out of the Leeds office at Excello Law, explains further: “Lawyers at Excello have their own client following but also have this urge to go out and get work, and deliver value for their clients.  That’s what we’re trained to do.  But you’re not on your own because the key to Excello is that you are joining like-minded individuals.

“We are all very entrepreneurial and we look at ways of increasing our client portfolio as well as the portfolios of our colleagues.   It’s collaborative and supportive; effectively we work as a team for the individual client.”

The legal profession has been one of the last sectors to adopt smarter ways of working, but measuring success and being rewarded on the service and value you deliver to clients, while retaining control of your career, is proving to be an easier and more fulfilling path to navigate for many lawyers.