Under the microscope here is Edmund who is a Legal Manager and Commercial Lawyer. We get asked numerous questions about what it’s like to work at Riverview Law so we decided to profile some of the different roles throughout our business. This is the first in a series of case studies from Riverview Law employees which will give you a feel for the people within our business, the roles they undertake and what it’s like to work here.
My role: Legal Manager and Commercial Lawyer
What I did before joining:
Before joining Riverview, I was a senior associate and part of the corporate team based in the Liverpool Office of a global law firm. I spent lots of long days, and often nights and weekends, working on international acquisitions and disposals with a niche practice in offshore property trusts.
Why I joined:
In all honesty, when I joined Riverview Law in August 2013, I knew very little about the business or the team – there was very little to know given how new the business was and the paucity of publicly available information at the time. I accepted the invitation for an interview as I was intrigued by this “new” legal services business model and wanted to find out more about it. The interview lasted one hour, and I spent a further hour and a half meeting various members of the team based at the Wirral office (which at that time only numbered around 20!). It was the time spent at the interview, as well as the enthusiasm and positivity of the team, which convinced me that this was the right career choice for me, and I have not looked back since!
What surprised me most in my first week at Riverview Law:
The biggest surprise to me in my first week at Riverview Law was the clarity of vision of the business – not clever PR tag lines developed to promote a brand but meaningful business objectives that underpin everything each of us actually do.
What I’ve learnt since joining:
The biggest single lesson I have learnt here at Riverview Law is that there are many ways to be a lawyer. Previously, as a lawyer within a traditional private practice environment, there was only one “proper” way to progress in your legal career. If you bill more, work excessive hours and spend all your spare time developing your own client base (all of which are more self-serving than client-focussed), you may, eventually, get a shout at partnership at some stage. Conversely, failure to adhere to this path can be seen as a lack of ambition. Working within that type of environment, I just kept my head down and got on with it. Stepping away from that environment and having spent time learning about the bigger picture has helped me understand how narrow and unsustainable that particular perspective is, and that we can achieve great things in law a different way.
What I enjoy most about my job:
What do I enjoy most about my job? Easy one this – the people. The team has grown from around 20 or so employees when I joined in August 2013 to over 100 employees (as at September 2014). Throughout this period of rapid growth the business has not only successfully retained but has also enhanced the enthusiasm, the positivity and the team culture that makes the Riverview Law business as a whole, and each and every individual within the business, so individual and unique. Is it perfect? Absolutely not! There are many challenges to this business, some of which are common to legal businesses and some of which are unique to Riverview Law, and the team works together and works hard to address them. Is it the best place I have ever worked? By an absolute country mile.
How Riverview Law compares with other places I’ve worked:
Riverview Law, compared to my previous experiences of traditional private practice, is in a word – different. One of the key differences is that there is a pretty flat management structure. Of course there are line managers and reporting lines, but no hierarchy as such – everyone has a say and everyone’s views are considered equally. Also, there is no “clock”, which from a lawyer’s perspective is hugely liberating. In my view, formal time recording is a management device used by law firms to artificially drive individual financial performance, but it is an old fashioned construct that no longer reflects good business practice. It is not just the removal of the administrative burden of recording time and monitoring personal financials that is liberating, but the fact that it frees time up to focus on supporting and developing other members of the team.
Why I’m still here:
Back in 1996, I started my law degree and took the first steps towards a career in law with that vaguely unspecific and romanticised notion of making a difference. Many years of commercial private practice later, I finally have the opportunity to do so.
What I’d say to potential applicants:
The most important piece of generic advice I’d give any potential applicant is to do the research and make sure you are applying to join for the right reasons. Riverview Law is a young, dynamic, fast-moving, forward-thinking, non-traditional legal services provider. The office represents an open, collaborative workplace environment where members of the team across all roles are encouraged to take ownership of their work at a very early stage as well as to proactively contribute towards the business itself. In addition to this, applicants will get a lot of opportunities to work closely with FTSE 100 customers and to develop their legal and wider business skills accordingly. There is also a clear focus on each individual to maintain a proper work balance. Taking a proper lunch break and leaving on time are not only not frowned upon, but actually actively encouraged! If this sounds like you, please apply!