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Creating business-minded solicitors

image4Earlier this year, we introduced a new ‘Business Seat’ as part of our 24-month Training Contract scheme. This seat, thought to be the first of its kind in the industry, enables trainees to be paired up with a director so that they can understand all aspects of the business, and see the contribution the solicitors make to the company.

“During the first year of my Training Contract at Minster Law, I mentioned to my mentor that I wanted to get more business experience,” explains John. “I know that business experience is vital to keep pace with the changing shape of the industry, especially after hearing SRA Chief Executive, Paul Philip’s speech at the COLP and COFA conference in October last year.

“At the conference, Paul highlighted that solicitors of the future need to be ‘business people first and lawyers second’. They have to be able to market the business and adapt to the changing industry and consumer perspective.”

With this in mind, John worked on an idea that would introduce a business element into his Training Contract. “The idea was that I would shadow one of Minster Law’s directors and support them with key work streams and projects,” continues John. “This would be a fantastic opportunity for me, and my proposal was subsequently agreed by Minster Law’s Executive Board.”

During his Business Seat, John’s time was primarily spent working alongside Minster Law’s Operations Director, Shirley Woolham, focusing on operational leadership. “To enable me to get the most out of my seat, and to get exposure to the governance systems and trading metrics, Shirley arranged for me to have an access-all-areas pass,” explains John. “This enabled me to attend all key governance and trading reporting platforms and the weekly operations trading meetings, as well as joining the Executive Operations Team.

“I was a participating member of these forums and had the opportunity to present papers, including at the Minster Exec meeting to the directors, share proposals on a variety of issues and contribute my views to the discussions.

“In terms of key work streams, I helped to develop our new business objectives for 2016-17 before personally presenting them to all managers across the company in workshop sessions. It was a big piece of work to help align a 450-seat operation behind a common set of goals to drive engagement and business value, and also challenging too.

“In addition, I collaborated with the heads of Minster Law’s various operational areas such as small claims and the MOJ (Ministry of Justice) Portal, Fast-Track non-litigated, Fast-Track Litigated and Multi-Track to develop clear, measurable strategies for 2016-17. This also involved working with our finance managers to pull together accurate financial metrics to clearly quantify opportunities.
“All-in-all, the Business Seat was exactly the experience I had hoped for. In terms of my personal development, the seat has given me the confidence that I can be an effective member of senior operational committees and personally lead high level work streams and projects.”

The Business Seat is now an established seat within all Minster Law Training Contracts. For more information about our Training Contracts, please click here.