Does having a proper regard for ensuring the right degree of independence make you appear aloof, arrogant and uncaring? Geoff Wild reports.
Over the past few months I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about our brand values as we prepare to launch Invicta Law on 1 June. Brand values in the context of our new business are all about leadership from the top, espousing a vision that is credible, achievable, understood and appreciated by the people who work with us. There is an expectation from shareholders and stakeholders that everyone who works for a business will accept and intimately understand the objectives that flow from their brand values and ensure that they are delivered.
Yet most lawyers value independence above brand values, even though clients think that brand values are more important. This tells us very little except that in terms of the client's perception, we lawyers are giving them a different message to the one they might want to receive.
Independence is not necessarily a concept clients will always appreciate or that can easily be conveyed. Independence in the eyes of the client is only a short step from being seen to be aloof, arrogant and uncaring. It would be very unfortunate if our proper regard for ensuring the right degree of independence was confused with arrogance.
What distinguishes a merely good lawyer from an outstanding lawyer is the ability of the outstanding lawyer to get so close to a client that they become a trusted team player; yet remaining able to retain the independence of thought to give useful, sometimes difficult, advice when the situation demands.
Whilst at Invicta Law we’re keen to retain many of the values that have helped us to be successful over the years, there is also a need for change if we are to fully benefit from the opportunities that face us. So, to help all our staff understand Invicta Law’s brand values and tread the fine line between demonstrating independence whilst still being a good partner and team player for our clients, we have embarked on a change management programme that includes a series of cultural interventions to ensure all our people are ‘on board’ and believe in our brand values. These include being people and outcome-focused, caring, professional and innovative, as we start the next phase of our exciting journey.
Geoff Wild is chief executive of Invicta Law.