Anna Beaumont always thought her boutique law firm was at the cutting edge of technology – until COVID-19 made her take a closer look.
Beaumont helped turn gunnercooke into one of the UK’s fastest-growing challenger law firms before launching Manchester-headquartered Bexley Beaumont with Karen Bexley in January 2020.
She says the impact of COVID-19 put technology under the spotlight for most law firms, including her own.
“In many ways we were fortunate that the infrastructure for remote working was already in place,” she says.
“Our model has always been about creating and establishing a team culture with lawyers working remotely and flexibly.
“However we didn’t anticipate every part of our business to be undertaken remotely. We already used platforms such as Teams, Zoom, e-signature solutions, contract management solutions, electric data rooms and bundling solutions.
“Last year made us look at other collaboration tools and focus on what efficiencies could be delivered by technology at an early stage of our growth.”
However Bexley Beaumont didn’t just invest in improved technology as they accelerated the recruitment of a head of projects and operations with a focus on delivering efficiencies and solutions via technology for their lawyers and clients.
Beaumont explains: “There is a lot of technology available but understanding what is available, how it can help, how trusted it is can be challenging and James (Williams) has helped us through that process.
“Streamlining repetitive processes and using automation helps drive efficiencies in a growing business and helps us scale. Tech works well when the systems are simple, integrated and seamless.
“At Bexley Beaumont it’s not just about using tech internally to help our growth but also understanding what innovative solutions are available to enhance and improve the client experience. That for me is really exciting and something we are working on currently.”
Looking back on the pandemic Beaumont admitted that her natural response was to ‘work harder’.
She says: “My co-founder Karen and I now have a great expression which is ‘hold your nerve’. When the pandemic struck it was a pretty scary place to be with lots of discussion around pivoting and our approach was to simply work harder. We knew we had the passion and the vision.
“Looking back we didn’t need to have worried so much but it certainly accelerated our growth in many ways in our first year”.
Beaumont also warned against sacrificing your culture in pursuit of growth.
“It’s important to understand why you’re growing and that you’re growing for the right reasons,” she said. “You can have fast growth but it can hide a lot of inefficiencies in the business and dilute the culture and dilute your vision of where you’re going.
“Celebrate success along the way. Pause sometimes when you’re on the journey, reflect and enjoy it.
“The expression we use at Bexley Beaumont is ‘measured growth’. It’s easy to get carried away with growth but remaining focused on your business, your why and your vision is hugely important.”
Beaumont offers three tips for growth: “Clarity of purpose; surround yourself with people who are better than you; and recruit ahead of the curve.
“In addition I’m a great believer in the support and challenge of non-executive directors and also personal coaching.”