At a time when many other law firms have moved to abbreviate their names or moved to something more modern or hip, why have we decided to buck the trend with our new brand name?
To answer that, we should perhaps delve a little into our short but successful history. When I started the firm, I had just left a role with a leading venture capital company where I was in-house counsel. Reluctant to return to the constraints and internal politics prevalent in many traditional “partner-heavy” law firms, I was looking for something different. However the lack of that ‘something different’ existing in the legal market fired an entrepreneurial spark within me; I recognised that many businesses (almost regardless of size) found working with lawyers a chore and were left disappointed by the experience. Not only was the process expensive, but more often than not, the solicitor (and the firm they worked for) failed to engage with the client and take ownership of the task in hand. Nor did it appear that there existed a genuine interest in forming a long term, symbiotic, relationship.
It was against that back-drop that I started the firm, and called it “Inhouse Solicitors” to emphasise that the firm existed not only to provide businesses with the same financial benefits they might otherwise enjoy if they had their own internal legal team, but also to reflect my desire to show that we wanted to provide a service where our success was in some way tied to the long-term success of our client’s business. As such we introduced 12 monthly retainer agreement allowing clients access to highly experienced lawyers at reasonable rates under an arrangement that is automatically subject to an annual review. Such has been the success of the business that we hope shortly to sign up our one-hundredth client to our retainer model. So why change name now?
It has been a great year, and I am eternally grateful to each and every one of our clients who has instructed us and shown faith in our team. However the landscape for the provision of legal services continues to evolve; the balance in the relationship between client and legal advisor has been revolutionised. It is important that we not only embrace the change, but also look positively at how we can continue to develop as lawyers and entrepreneurial business people and so better meet the needs of our clients.
The change of name to Harper James Solicitors reflects the fact that we are a full-service commercial law firm, able to meet the majority issues faced by business clients. Moreover it recognises that our name is our brand and that a brand is essentially a packet of values on which our client’s can rely. Our values as a firm are traditional – “honesty, integrity, commitment” – and these are values I am proud to be associated with. Our way of working is however unique, pioneering and forward-looking, individual traits I am also happy to put my name to.
Our rebranding (which includes many elements such as this new website, logo, colour palette and will increasingly include an enhanced digital and social media presence and marketing materials) will help us to raise the profile and awareness of the firm, enable us to highlight our individual expertise and collective experience, to attract more highly experienced lawyers and other talented individuals and add value to our client service and experience.
As we go into 2016, I am optimistic and look forward to introducing a number of innovative new services, recruiting more talented lawyers and other professional and support staff to our already outstanding team, and to continuing to provide clients with the high levels of commercial legal advice and committed support they are used to receiving from us.