It is safe to say that the legal profession has changed almost beyond recognition from the time I first aspired to go into law. With relentlessly more stringent rules and regulations, constantly moving legislative goalposts and new entrants into the industry in more recent years, one may be forgiven for mistaking it for an entirely different profession. I have often stopped to wonder what Professor Shyllon, one of my rather unforgettable lecturers back in University, would think now of that ‘most prestigious of professions’ as he always proudly referred to law. Even without all of these changes, there is considerable difference between the lectures one receive in law school and the practicalities of the everyday work. Of paramount importance, anyone would agree, is the manner in which clients’ matters are handled, their expectations met or hopefully even exceeded and their custom retained. At the end of the day, all the ethics of the profession and the regulatory obligations are aimed at this most important of all issues, looking after the client; looking after the client’s money and providing the client and members of the general public with the quality of service which preserves the integrity of the legal profession.
It is little wonder therefore that at the very core of our corporate aims and objectives at Arnold Thomson, is client care. We are fortunate enough to have what I like to refer to as a unique blend of the traditional and the contemporary, the ancient and the modern. With the unprecedented changes in today’s society as a whole, the conversion of the once vast and indomitable world into a global village and the incessant discoveries of yet another faster electronic and/or technological gadget, it is very easy for focus to be lost of the things which should otherwise occupy prime of place on the list of priorities. I dare say this is the case in any industry. I can however only speak for certain of the legal profession because that, fortunately or unfortunately, is all I know. Some drastic changes and development have swept through the profession over the last few years which, in addition to the supplementary effects of globalisation, economic integration and technology, have had significant impact on the legal industry. Whilst it would be foolhardy not to embrace some of these often times impressive and even useful innovations, allowing things like technology to take the place of client care and personal service would be an even riskier business.
It is the genuine interest in a client’s matter, the dedication to their needs, and the determination to achieve the best result for them where possible that make the legal profession, and I quote my honourable lecturer yet again, the most prestigious of professions.The interaction between a lawyer and his or her client remains a crucial aspect of that relationship. Yet, it is rather easy to be lured into the world of robotic transactions, the realm of targets, of economic and time constraints, the world of legal jargon, the tick-box exercise regime where there is almost no personal touch to the service delivered to clients. This is what I love most about who we are at Arnold Thomson: the fact that even after more than 25 years of looking after the needs of our clients day in day out, we have not allowed ourselves to lose sight of what is most important, that we have refused, however tempting it must have been over the years, to become complacent or indeed, and God forbid, take our clients for granted! Somehow we have managed to hang on to the admirable traditional values that make us who we are to our clients, to remain passionate about what we do, while simultaneously brazenly and sensibly embracing the best of what technology and the other changes have to offer.
It requires relentless hard work, it demands hands-on, almost 24/7 management, it calls for team work between us all but I am confident that my colleagues will all agree with me that at the end of the day, it is all very much worthwhile when our clients are content and happy with our services. As Mike Thomson, our senior director once said and I couldn’t have agreed more, hence the quote, “we are, many of us, more fortunate than most to be engaged in doing what we love”. And I add that we are even more fortunate to be appreciated for it by our esteemed clients.