Spotlight: Introducing Else Solicitors

Note from the editor

We hope that our readers had a good end to 2018 and an enjoyable festive period. For this month’s issue, to start off the new year with a bang we sat down with a most esteemed client of Davies + Scothorn, Else Solicitors.

Fact File: Else Solicitors

The company was incorporated by Chris Else in November 2003 and grew rapidly in the first few years at offices in Burton. He was joined by Andrew Hickman as a Partner in October 2007 when the company integrated.

Chris and Andrew each have more than 20 years’ experience in the legal profession, and they credit their professional yet personal approach to all clients and cases as the key component in their continued growth across the Midlands.

Else Solicitors recruit a number of excellent solicitors with specialist skills in a number of sectors including, Dispute Resolution, Corporate & Commercial, Commercial Property, Debt Recovery and Wills & Probate.

Their specialist team of solicitors collectively bring more than 100 years of legal experience and expertise to the company, enabling them to provide an outstanding service across all commercial sectors and to businesses of all sizes, as well as private clients.

An interview with …

Kate Henderson: Marketing Manager
Tracey Marsh: Practice Director
Andy Rudkin: Partner – Head of Dispute Resolution

Picture: Alex Cantrill-Jones / ACJ Media

Millie: “Can you tell me why Chris chose Burton specifically as his base?”

Tracey: “I think one of the reasons Chris chose to be out of the centre of town is because he has seen the model work for other law firms. Choosing an industrial park (Burton Centrum Business Park) just slightly out of the town works because you are able to create a hub of local, like-minded businesses, you have the joy of being right near the town centre, and the ease of being just outside it.

Millie: “You’ve got a lot of young lawyers and partners coming up through the ranks at Else, how do you feel they will be driving the business forward in the future? Will you be using traditional means of generating new business or embracing new technologies, such as CRM systems?”

Kate: “We are quite old school in that our marketing has previously consisted of a lot of networking and being very social in our community, because at the end of the day that is a tried and tested model, but obviously we have to keep up with the times and we are always looking to push the boundaries. In terms of embracing new technologies, of course we have just developed our new website with Davies + Scothorn, which allow us to compete with city firms. We have integrated a CRM system into the new website, which will enable us to accurately track leads and opportunities for business development. Social media also plays a big part in generating activity for us.”

Millie: “We know you hold a number of your own networking events, how important and effective is networking to you as a business?”

Kate: “Our Burton Professional Network Lunches work well for us. It’s a nice informal lunch which gives the busy partners and fee earners an opportunity to keep those legacy relationships going and in turn make some new ones too. The social side of business is really important to us, for example we play at St George’s Park where we get some massive national companies to play against us. This is really effective at reinforcing relationships and it means that our younger generation can be introduced to some of those key contacts, helping to build their own networks.”

Millie: “With the ongoing pandemonium of Brexit, do you have any interesting stories about how your clients are tackling it?”

Picture: Alex Cantrill-Jones / ACJ Media

Andy: “A lot our client base have taken a bit of a step back, so, once we know what’s actually happening with Brexit, we are planning on running some Brexit seminars, much like we did with GDPR, advising people on how best to prepare for an inevitable period of change.

In terms of our client’s there seem to be two different ways people are approaching the issue; some have tried to embrace it and carry on as normal, and others have drawn back slightly on their investment, which is more common with manufacturers that work in Europe for example.

We have an active interest in an initiative called ‘Brexit into Asia’ co-ordinated by No.5 Chambers in Birmingham. Basically, rather than being so embroiled with a potentially unsteady future with Europe, there’s an eager and ready to go Asian market waiting for traders to tap into. It’s growing rapidly and is much bigger than many European markets. There is actually funding available for professionals to go over there in an attempt to strike up a trade deal in certain sectors to almost bypass the Brexit issue altogether.”

Millie: “Are there any interesting new clients that you have taken on recently that you can tell us about?”

Tracey: “Yes, we are really excited by certain elements of work that are coming through in a number of sectors. In terms of corporates, we have facilitated multi-million-pound dental transactions and we’ve really hit a niche with event management companies, particularly festival organisers. We recently secured some work with I do Festivals, which we were thrilled about. Similarly, we are doing well in telecoms, for example, we are currently providing Abzorb with an in-house lawyer service.  Other new clients we are really proud to be working with include Iceni group, Knott Avonride, Ischebeck Titan, FRP and Wesleyan Bank.”

Millie: “What is your work culture like?”

Tracey: “We are not like a traditional law firm, the way we do things is a real reflection of our relaxed culture. The partners care, the work-life balance is there, despite having roughly 40 employees there’s still a family feel.”

Kate: “We have breakfast Wednesdays where everyone from both sides of the office can take some much needed time away from their desk to catch up for 15 minutes to half an hour whilst eating some croissants and cheese. We sit around the boardroom table to chat as colleagues and friends. It’s little things like that everyone looks forward to. We also have an Else WhatsApp group chat with all the employees, which is a lot of fun and summarises what we are about.”

Millie: “What are the most common situations where you think early involvement of a solicitor would have seriously improved circumstances?”

Andy: “I think this is most often the case with Contract Disputes. It’s difficult trying to get that message across, and I think essentially that’s what we hope to achieve with the new website. We want to try and catch people on the opposite end and say, if you get your contracts done properly first through a contracts team, you shouldn’t have to come and see me and my team, but unfortunately people are still naïve about this.

It’s normally one of two people that fall into this situation: the really, really big companies who think they don’t need to sort them out due to their size and success, or unfortunately it’s the businesses that are just starting out and can’t really afford it. Things like contracts are something that get pushed to the bottom of the to-do pile, but you mustn’t forget about the basics. When you are just starting out that is the best time to put contracts in place or when you have just bought into a new business for example. You should review everything, because if your terms don’t suit your business and the way that you operate, they are completely useless to you. If you go into a commercial dispute with a great argument, but your terms don’t match up to what you’re saying, it’s going to create problems for you.”

Millie: “How often should you review your contract?”

Picture: Alex Cantrill-Jones / ACJ Media

Andy: “It depends, if it’s your own business we would suggest reviewing it once a year. You don’t need to go through it with a fine-tooth comb, but every year you should be thinking about what has changed. If it’s a supplier agreement I would think anything between 2 and 3 years or at any time where a business considers it appropriate.  In essence, you can never review them too often but it is a commercial exercise of course that every business will need to consider separately based upon their own markets and trading activity. Always make sure your contract is consistent with your mission plan, because every contract you enter into will be different and the cost of not doing that when it comes to a dispute can be immense.”

Kate: “I think that also relates to Wills and Probate. People often do DIY Wills and they eventually find out that they aren’t really worth much and they would have been better off to pay the proper fees first time round and have a solicitor who is fully equipped to deal with these issues.”

Millie: “So, how did you initially forge the relationship with Davies + Scothorn?”

Kate: “When I joined last year in March it became quite evident that we needed a new website, but we didn’t know whether that would involve fixing the issues we had or creating a completely new website. After receiving some initial feedback we realised that starting again would be the most efficient thing to do in terms of time and money. We sent out a brief to 5 local and national companies for their bid. Davies + Scothorn just stood out for me, because they are local, and also because they had already done some consultancy work for the firm in the past, and we liked what they had achieved. I’ve worked with great suppliers previously but they have tried to take over and control the brand, which is always frustrating. Being accommodating is very important, and Davies + Scothorn understood that very clearly from the off. I liked the way that they answered my silly questions and humoured my naivety about certain things. I just felt like they were the people that could deal with everything we needed to do under quite challenging and tight timescales.”

Millie: “How has the end product been perceived?”

Andy: “It’s great, both clients and colleagues love it. It brings us into the new market; everything is on phones nowadays, our old website just wasn’t suited to that at all. The first thing that people have been saying is ‘we can now actually navigate your website in the real world. We had never really thought about that until Davies + Scothorn mentioned it, sometimes you need that outside eye, because internally of course we all use computers, so it appears that the website works all fine.”

Kate: “There were elements that were really strong about our old website, we did get some quality leads from it and our SEO was perhaps quite strong actually, but it was inconsistent and not measurable. What has been great about working with Davies + Scothorn is that they have managed to lift everything that did work from the old website and bring it in to the new, so we’ve got all of the existing SEO stuff, but it has been improved and we are getting more leads, in areas that we have never had leads before, so that is really exciting. The biggest thing for me from a strategic point of view is that we can see what works on our website, where the traffic is coming from, and we can see consumer behaviour. We didn’t have accurate information before, but now if we see we’ve got some interest in an area but not many inquiries, we can tweak that to boost it. Being able to pinpoint weak spots in our marketing strategy to readdress and then make lots of profit is great. Equally, the website analytics have also highlighted a lot of interesting trends for us.

Andy: “In the past we knew the standard seasonal trends were there, but we could never measure them and now Kate has the ability to come to us and say ‘x’ is being searched ten times a day and we can do something about it, whereas before we were stabbing in the dark a little.”

Millie: “How do you feel you compare to business in the Burton and Midlands area now with your new positioning and strapline?”

Tracey: “The strapline ‘Legally speaking, we’re on your side’ does what it says on the tin. Firstly, we are very plain speaking, there is no fluffiness, we will tell you what the law is and how to deal with it. Secondly, if we are representing you in any way, whether it’s regarding your wills, buying or selling a business, reviewing your contract terms, sorting your debt recovery out, we are on your side and we have got your back.”

Contact

If you want to further your marketing effort and are seeking to grow your business, Davies + Scothorn have an extensive skill set and a high level of marketing and design expertise that can help you to achieve your goals. Feel free to get in touch.

Email us: millie@daviesscothorn.com

Or give the office a call on 01283 532780.

Alternatively, come in for a chat and a coffee, our address is: The Studio at Hodges,

82 Horninglow St, Burton-on-Trent DE14 1PN

Take note that anyone who features in Spotlight will be provided with some great photography done by ACJ Media, which you can use in all of your marketing.

If you are interested in this prospect, email Alex at: Alex@acjmedia.com or call on 07894114681. Equally, if you fancy a face-to-face meeting to see Alex’s work, visit him at the above address.

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Drop us a line if you are keen to find out more.