The growth of Bexley Beaumont during the 2020 pandemic has been incredible. The firm currently has 17 partners which is likely to grow to 20 partners by the end of the year. Recently Jason has discussed the success of the firm with its founding members Karen Bexley and Anna Beaumont
What an incredible journey 2020 has been. Did you expect to have achieved so much given the difficulties we have all faced this year?
Karen Bexley - As you know we launched in January and being the first year of our business we knew it would be a challenging year for us, but we didn’t know quite how challenging it would turn out to be! As you have seen we are utterly passionate about our model and Vision and this passion has helped drive the business and kept us focused. We planned to have 10-12 partners by the end of year 1, we’ve been on an incredible journey so far, the growth has been humbling. If you had asked us in January, we certainly didn’t expect to have 17 partners by October and in March we weren’t sure what would happen to be honest!
How did you continue to build your law firm during a pandemic? This was during a time when most lawyers must have been calculating the risk of moving firm.
Anna Beaumont –We were small and agile when lockdown happened, so we refocused, challenged our model (even though we were only in month 3) and our thought processes, tweaked a couple of areas and continued on our journey. With or without a pandemic we believe in our offering and in Bexley Beaumont. We are genuinely excited about what we are creating together, and we all know passion and enthusiasm is infectious. Without sounding opportunistic the pandemic meant some lawyers have re-evaluated how they wish to work, where they wish to work and for what type of firm, they want to be part of, we were fortunate to be well positioned for those conversations. We are always happy to have an initial informal conversation with potential partners to explain our offering and why we are unique, and we had a lot of those conversations from April onwards. The Bexley Beaumont partners can work remotely or from the office, so we already had the systems in place, our biggest challenge has been creating a team culture over Teams and Zoom!
Many of your Partners have moved from bigger national firms. Can you give us an insight into the success of boutique law firms and what it is like?
Karen Bexley - Boutique law firms were far more prevalent 15-20 years ago, they were known for having great lawyers, great clients, some niche areas and a first-class collaborative team culture. Many have now been acquired. Some firms are currently on rapid growth strategies and personally whilst I understand the benefits to measured growth, I don’t understand the desire to just be the largest. People buy people. Lawyers want to feel part of a brand they respect and admire, they want to understand the Vision of the firm, they want to know how the firm is progressing and they want to work with like-minded professionals. Anna and I work full time in the business, it’s hugely important for us to spend time getting to know the partners and how we can best support them, everyone is individual. Our growth is measured, and we put the team and clients at the heart of everything we do. We have no desire to be the largest by partner numbers. We have a focused and tailored approach to recruitment. We know our partners and they know each other. We continually ask for feedback and ask them to challenge us, we need and welcome their help to grow Bexley Beaumont together as one team.
Clearly with a firm like Bexley Beaumont culture is everything! How have you been able to align everyone to your culture given your business has grown during lockdown and home working?
Karen Bexley - Culture eats strategy for breakfast! Finding ways to bring everyone together so we can get to know each other and build our culture has been one of the most challenging things this year for us. I am a great fan of taking time away from the business to reflect and think but this year with a new business and two children at home (don’t talk to us about home schooling!) it has been incredibly difficult. We try and have a range of touchpoints with the team and at the beginning of lockdown we had a virtual coffee and chat session that the partners could drop into daily. We now have Team Get-Togethers, a firm update every 4 weeks, monthly walks and quizzes and we also host virtual sessions with clients and contacts where they share what is happening in their world so we can help support each other. Consistency is the key (consistent messages, sharing success stories, sharing knowledge, regular touchpoints, the opportunity for everyone to ask questions and regular communication). We are open and transparent, and we share knowledge and information about the firm, who is joining etc. We also recruit on cultural fit, so we spend a significant time at the outset prior to any offer being made discussing our culture, our Vision, how we work together and most importantly what that actually means and how it benefits everyone.
The growth of Bexley Beaumont has been incredible this year, what are the 3 main areas can you say have contributed to your success?
Anna Beaumont - Our passion for our Vison is certainly number 1, you couldn’t do this year without having such a strong passion and really believing in what you are creating. Personally, my number 2 is the support from my co-founder Karen Bexley. I am incredibly lucky to have a co-founder who I trust, have a friendship and mutual respect with and who shares similar goals and values. We complement each other well with our skills, we genuinely like and support each other and we have fun along the way, it’s important for us both to enjoy this journey. We are good at knowing when we need to help each other smile and laugh to get through the more challenging days. Number 3 is the support from our families, friends, partners, clients, contacts and colleagues. It takes a degree of personal sacrifice in the early years whilst you build your business and the support from trusted friends and contacts has really helped us when we have needed a sounding board, a second opinion or just a friendly chat after a long week.
With 2021 round the corner what is next for the firm?
Anna Beaumont - Hopefully a firm wide get together! It would be amazing to be able to bring us altogether and that’s our first priority for 2021. We are also excited to be launching a London office in September 2021 - more to come!
Jason has worked with Karen and Anna throughout 2020.