There are many within the legal community who scoff at Twitter saying that “it’s as a useless piece of fluff”. However for those interested in learning about legal innovation and connecting with legal innovators around the globe, Twitter is indispensible. Everything that is happening globally in terms of legal transformation is shared on Twitter. Today I connected with another innovative law firm from the UK – gunnercooke.
Former general counsel Sarah Goulbourne got together over coffee with corporate lawyer Darryl Cooke in mid-2010 to chat about how a different legal model would have huge competitive advantage over existing firms. By the end of that year, gunnercooke was up and running.
gunnercooke took the sensible approach of asking corporate clients what they wanted – experienced advisors and budget certainty – then gave it to them!
There are no junior lawyers or students at the firm. All work is properly scoped and a fee set. The firm never goes back to a client asking for more money – even when a file goes off the rails. As Sarah Goulbourne told me, “clients appreciate that we share the risk, and that we are completely transparent about what our advice will cost. We don't record time sheets, we set fees based on the value we add. Setting fees is not an exact science; you win some and you lose some. But if you take time to properly scope each file, it should all work out in the end.”
While the firm is set-up as a limited liability partnership, it’s run like a corporation, with a lean executive team that has both the commercial acumen and the courage to make strategic decisions quickly and without wrangling.
The over 30 non-equity partners of the firm work as self-employed consultants. They are set up to be able to operate from the best place to serve the client, be it from home or from client offices, through a cloud-based system, supported by paralegals employed by the firm as well as by a roster of senior, ex-city and national firm lawyers who are happy to work on a project basis (read: gypsy lawyers).
Like Conduit Law and Cognition in Canada, gunnercooke is swamped with applications from senior lawyers across the UK looking to escape the biglaw grind – yet only a few are able to make the jump to this new style of practice. Nonetheless, gunnercooke is aggressively courting more lawyers with a goal to being seen as the premier corporate boutique in the UK – then the world.
Watch this firm!