The Power of Collaboration: unparalleled coverage and value for the group
At the recent Alternative Legal Management Summit a ‘Samoan Circle’ discussion was held about collaboration, its limits, how it works in practice and the achievable benefits. I found it interesting to see who recognised the themes, knew the answers and were first to join the discussions – it was the Managing Partners from the Law South Group, where the collaboration dates to 1988.
Today Law South, an invitation only collaborative group, which is owned by the 12 member firms represents over 2,700 staff (of which over 1,600 are lawyers) and a GFI of £200m+ with a range of £8-£38m. The office spread is from Cornwall to Essex and up to Buckinghamshire.
The group is centred on core commitments to confidentiality, ethics, etc. that have been established to unlock the power of sharing ideas, knowhow and experience. But the core economic ‘glue’ is the risk and insurance programme where the joint commitment to high standards, owning a captive insurance company and broking all firms to the market together brings unparalleled coverage and value to all members.
With Teal Compliance as a strategic partner all firms are driving ever higher standards. The good habits of networking and collaboration extend to all areas of the business including Finance, IT, Marketing & BD, HR and Learning & Development and Workplace & Facilities. At the group meetings there is usually an outside presenter or demonstration on a topic of interest to the members. This is followed by discussion of key issues raised by the members under ‘Chatham House’ rules.
When your whole firm has made the commitment to be part of the group and you get to know your contemporaries in other firms, the level of help and true collaboration reaches new levels. There are many joint initiatives all of which help members develop their knowledge in key areas and many of which result in a better overall value proposition or preferential commercial terms.
The ‘good guys’ on the supplier side quickly understand the power of the group and help with educating rather than just selling. Where members are already using products, the group works with suppliers to help the managers and user groups to get additional support and value from the relationship. Recent joint initiatives have, amongst others, included client listening research, change management, coaching, Cyber Security, understanding Digital, Intelligent Automation and AI, flexible resourcing, innovation, LTC4, visits to Microsoft on 365 and Teams and pricing.
The Law South Group flagship annual conference is well attended each year. We also discuss and target attending conferences such as ALMS together. The learning and development programme is tailored to meet the needs expressed by the members and brings new innovative courses to the attention of members who have a ‘taster’ before deciding to book it in-house. For many years all the Trainee Solicitors in the group have come together to complete their PSC, develop business and practical skills such as mooting. This network of contacts stays with them as their development from newly qualified moves onwards to Partner. This is all managed in conjunction with the member firms who are well placed to move into the post-SQE world together.
The Law South Group is an excellent example of how law firms can effectively network and collaborate. We are open to suitable new members who share this ethos, and have geographical gaps in Bristol, Cambridge and elsewhere.
Please contact me directly if you would like to explore potential membership:
Mark Day, Chief Executive Officer, Law South Group Limited
M: 07912 270158