On 19 October 2010 I was interviewed – in real time on twitter – by Lance Godard of 22tweets. Here is the interview in full, courtesy of Lance and 22tweets. You can read more of Lance’s “twitterviews” with practising lawyers at 22tweets.com.
I will develop one or two of the themes in future posts.
UK Litigation / Disputes Lawyer
Today we’re tweeting with Hampshire, UK-based litigation / disputes lawyer, blogger, photographer, and podcaster @HampshireLawyer
- @HampshireLawyer, thank you for joining us on Twitter. Tell us, who is @HampshireLawyer?
a 51 year old husband and father who happens to earn his living as a lawyer
- Tell us about your law practice.
now in a small country town, mainly representing private clients, soon to move to a small commercial firm in a larger town
- What type of clients do you represent?
private individuals and owner-managed businesses
- And what is the single most important legal issue affecting those clients?
Private clients – the value of their property, protecting that value, leaving something for their kids …
… Biz clients – it all boils down to keeping head above water
- What do you tell every new client before you start working for them?
litigation is expensive; consider alternatives; don’t go to Court unless committed to the time hassle expense
- Tell us about one of the more significant client representations you’ve had.
11 years ago instructed by 3 guys with small co. Engineers with no business sense. Small case but to lose would kill co…
…8 years later they sold for £m+. I still represent one of them (others retired)
- Wow, that’s great. Why do your clients hire you?
reputation of firm, recommendation to me. I try to cut to the core issues to achieve cost effective outcomes
- I’m sure they appreciate that. What’s the most active area of your practice at the current time? Is that typical?
no 1 thing, but sadly a lot of neighbour disputes, boundaries; often caused by car parking space needs. All take, no give
- You recently announced a move from a private client practice to a commercial practice. Why the change?
litigation for private clients is dying on its feet. Process too expensive and risky. Best advice not to go there…
… So with diminishing workload/fee income I had to look for the work where it is. That means focussing on business clients
- Do you think you’re alone in changing your approach? Will access to lawyers eventually be limited to wealthy elite?
I doubt I’m alone. If I am, there will be some extinct dinosaurs out there. Access to justice is a real issue …
… I think there needs to be a “simple cases” track with a slimmed down procedure for disclosure etc, 1/2 day trial …
… Fixed costs awarded to winner. Possibly rough justice, but a product I could sell
- Interesting. How do you describe what you do to people you meet at a cocktail party?
I used to say I play sax at Ronnie Scotts (jazz club in London). Until I met someone who did! …
… Often still flippant, something like fat cat lawyer manqué.
- How do you market your law practice? How has it changed over the past five years?
stop waiting for work to come through door. Work the contacts. Visit clients (esp biz) at their place. I don’t believe …
… in offering freebies or loss leaders to new clients. Prefer to say meter not running till we agree I can achieve something
- You’re very active on Twitter (as @hampshirelawyer and @gaborelectric). What’s your Twitter strategy?
strategy, moi? If anything, it’s about engaging, being known, profile raising. If a strategy, it’s still being worked out
- 🙂 You’ve got 3 blogs, including one on law (http://bit.ly/9iRKu9). Why do you blog? Why should others visit them?
Legal blog started as part self-promotion, part to sell blog idea to firm. Rely on others/twitter to spread word…
… I guess others visit following links with reference to subject matter of post as of interest …
… music podcast a hobby so visitors have common interest. Ditto photo-blog. 2 other blogs r for me don’t care if no visitors
- I’d say they’re worth visiting. Have your Web 2.0 activities led to any additional referrals or client engagements?
surprised but yes. Instructions both via twitter (lawyer referral) and anonymous participation in online legal advice forum
- Very interesting. Let’s change gears now: What is the most significant issue currently facing the legal profession?
finding and maintaining the quality work justifying realistic fees; pressures impacting ability to deliver quality service
- What will the legal landscape look like in 10 years?
at my level, more smaller niche specialist expert firms. Fewer high street generalists. Black hole areas of no legal service
- What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?
No idea! Law was the one idea for Uni course my parents never talked me out of! Possibly teacher, probably languages?
- How do you want to be remembered?
other than for my striking resemblance to Bryan Ferry? As someone who made a difference, someone who cared
- What do you do when you’re not working?
indie music; photography; garden & enjoy home grown fruit & veg; support parents (dad had bad stroke April); family stuff
- What advice can you pass along to lawyers currently under- or unemployed due to the economic crisis?
Stay active; keep brain engaged; consider pro-bono type work; blog and tweet; network network network
- Last question for you: What advice do you have for people going to law school today?
not enough just to be a good lawyer (although a given). Understand the business of law. Make, nurture, keep contacts …
… especially your non lawyer contemporaries: when you are senior they will be too. Do favours; pay it forward
That’s very good advice. Thanks so much for tweeting with us today; enjoyed learning more about you & your practice
You’re welcome, I enjoyed it. It’s a challenge to fit something worth saying into 140 characters! Good evening.