This week Jason Nottage speaks with Karen Bexley and Anna Beaumont to catch up on their exciting journey with their law firm Bexley Beaumont. After the firm exploded onto the legal market in 2020 we caught up with Karen and Anna on life at the firm now, growth in 2021, and what the future holds for this progressive and exciting boutique law firm which is shortly to launch in London.
When we last met in 2020 the firm had progressed to 17 partners with plans to continue the upward growth. What has the journey been like for the firm in 2021?
KB – We have continued with our measured growth and we are now a team of 25 partners enabling us to provide a wider offering to the Bexley Beaumont clients as well as further strengthening the existing teams. Our growth has never been simply about partner numbers as we are not aiming to be the largest firm by partner numbers, we focus on quality and talent and providing a different offering for both lawyers and clients. We have a strategic approach to onboarding new partners and we have been delighted to also welcome many new clients to the firm during 2021. We have been very fortunate to receive some award nominations for our innovative model this year. We have also spent time progressing our innovative CSR strategy this year which will go live in 2022.
As the firm has developed have you tried to focus on a particular area of law or had a particular sector focus?
KB - As a growing business our aim has always been to provide a full corporate and commercial service offering to our clients so we have focused on certain practice areas this year to ensure this is achieved. Our senior experienced partners have gained knowledge working in a wide range of different sectors and naturally some are more experienced in certain sectors than others, we don’t however have sector specific teams.
Having got to know you both very well since your launch I know you're both very passionate about building your firm out of a collaborative culture. How have you gone about successfully achieving this?
AB – Our Team Culture is not a thing for us, it is absolutely everything. As you mention we are both hugely passionate about collaboration and the phrase “Grow the Team, Keep the Culture” remains our focus. It isn’t easy and it hasn’t been easy but it’s one of the reasons why we are different, and we continue to work every day on our Team Culture. It helps we recruit on cultural fit so the importance of collaboration, team culture and what that actually means is discussed at the outset. For us it’s the small things we do daily as a team which help create and nurture that culture. It’s working well and there is a lot of collaboration, introducing clients to each other, pitching together and providing support such as holiday cover happening within the teams. We believe this way of working is far more enjoyable and it helps to feel connected. It also enables our partners to further build their practices with the confidence of the team working together and supporting each other.
As the law firm has grown what have you found most challenging?
KB –We scale with intention which also means not falling into the trap of diluting vision or quality as we grow. Establishing, growing and then maintaining our team culture during the pandemic and three lockdowns has been challenging. Whilst our model has always been about agile working, empowerment and control we didn’t expect every part of our business in month 3 to be done remotely. We have also had to adapt how Anna and I work together having spent the majority of 2019 working side by side together.
For anyone considering making a move to a boutique law firm like Bexley Beaumont could you give us an insight into this type of law firm and what it's like?
KB – We are a law firm with an uncompromising approach to quality and a focus on support, collaboration and team culture. The Bexley Beaumont partners enjoy all the benefits of a fee-share model and are remunerated on a fee-share basis however the ethos of the firm is very much a hybrid – giving partners the control that comes with a fee-share model while also providing the support, culture and sense of shared purpose and values that more usually characterises a traditional firm. We also have fun and enjoyment along our journey and we celebrate success together. We have weekly “sharing success” stories circulated internally, we have just launched a Wellness programme and there are many other opportunities to come together which include coaching sessions, listening to guest speakers about their journeys and virtual fun events such as chocolate tasting. Reflecting as a team and celebrating those milestones is important to us all.
I noticed Bexley Beaumont has been shortlisted for a number of awards this year. Do you feel your firm, now established is starting to get noticed and recognised a lot more?
AB - Over the last couple of months we have been shortlisted for six awards which is incredibly humbling and a great recognition for the team, the Bexley Beaumont clients and all our supporters along the Bexley Beaumont journey. We have been shortlisted for The Law Society Excellence Awards 2021, the British Legal Awards, the North West Business Master Awards 2021, the Greater Manchester Business Awards 2021, the Enterprise Vision Awards 2021 and the National Business Women’s Awards 2021. Our different offering and team success over the last two years is certainly receiving more recognition!
With 2022 around the corner and the easing of the pandemic restrictions, what are the plans for Bexley Beaumont?
KB - We are launching a London office which has been planned for a while now and we are currently enjoying finding our London home. Anna and I are “on tour” shortly meeting new partners face to face as we still haven’t met everyone and that’s an important part of our culture. We held our first in-person event earlier this month which was fantastic, it was a great way to feel connected, to meet colleagues and new partners who are joining the team over the next few months. We shall continue to grow whilst keeping our culture, maintaining our approach to quality, supporting each other and enjoying the journey!