Glynis Wright, founder and head of practice at Glynis Wright & Co, won Small Law Firm of the Year 2018 at the Law Society's Excellence Awards.
She talks to us about how the national awards have positively impacted her firm.
Why did you decide to apply to the Excellence Awards?
I think awards play an enormous part in helping staff feel motivated and proud of where they work.
As incoming president of Leicestershire Law Society, I realised that for a time my firm would not be able to compete in the local awards, but I still wanted the team to have the chance to show the world how proud we are of getting certain things right.
I was aware of the Law Society’s Excellence Awards, but previously hadn’t had the confidence to enter, as I thought the firm was too small to compete on a national level against larger firms.
However, I’ve never tended to let things hold me back so when I spotted the Small Firm category, I discussed it with the team and we decided to apply, even though it was a dream to get shortlisted, let alone win the award! But we all said, if you’re not in it you can’t win it!
Were there any parts of the process that were challenging for you in terms of getting the submission in?
As the sole director of my company, it’s very difficult to find the time to do anything that isn’t fee earning or managing the team.
The questions in themselves weren’t difficult, mainly because we were able to speak from the heart about what makes us proud, and found that we had plenty to say about our team and the work we do.
The application also encouraged answers to go beyond pure lawyering and client care, and encouraged information expressing how your firm was trying to establish excellence in its chosen field.
This allowed me to reflect, and to think about the things that were important to us as a team in our service delivery.
The nomination also allowed us to highlight the work we do in our community, as well as some of the wider ambitions we have.
For example, I was able to include our 'Pulled both Ways' campaign that encourages parents to think hard about the impact of divorce and separation on their children if handled badly.
How has your win impacted on the practice and the team?
Family law firms are always busy at this time of year, but we have had a meteoric number of new instructions and I do think it ties in with our success at the Excellence Awards.
We have found that a greater number of people are approaching us over social media because of the publicity that has surrounded our win.
Our firm is based in Leicester, and the public were able to read about us in the local paper. We have also been featured through online news agencies such as the East Midlands Business Desk and Leicestershire Live and, of course, nationally via the Law Society.
To be a local firm that has won a national award for Small Law Firm of the Year gives such credibility that it was bound to increase our work.
The team response to our success was overwhelming: to me, it was joyful to see their reaction.
We were not all able to attend the awards night, but the team members who weren’t able to go were watching their social media and waiting to find out the result, so we still felt unified.
Also, once we were back in Leicester, I took the whole team out for a fabulous meal so that we could celebrate together as a team. The motivation and pride amongst the team was so evident.
I recently undertook staff appraisals and one of the highest scores that was consistently recorded by my staff on their appraisal sheets was the pride that they take in working for the firm.
This was an increase from last year’s appraisals and is inextricably linked to winning Small Law Firm of the Year in my opinion.
How did you promote that you won the award? Is there anything specific that you did?
I made sure there was a substantial coverage of our win.
Our local paper ran a story which went on their website and went out in print, and as mentioned before we were featured on the East Midlands Business Desk, which went to the entire region.
We made sure we promoted our win over our Twitter and LinkedIn accounts too. I am invited to do a lot of public speaking, so I made sure I featured our amazing win at every opportunity I could!
Recently, I have been asked to speak at non-legal business events about the importance of awards and what they can bring to you to encourage others within the wider business community to apply for awards.
Is there any advice you would give anyone applying to your category or to any other category when thinking about whether they should apply?
Absolutely, unequivocally, go for it!
I think it is an incredible opportunity for small firms and sole practitioners because it’s often hard to compete with the big firms as you don’t have anything like the same budgets or resources.
But with the Excellence Awards, what you do have is the possibility of amplifying the amazing positive marketing and publicity through the national Law Society, even if you aren’t the overall winner.
The Law Society can shout about who you are and the work that you do. There’s nothing better than being able to say that you have received such validation from the national Law Society.
At the end of the day, the Excellence Awards are the most prestigious legal award that a law firm can ever hope to obtain- they are our Oscars! Why wouldn’t you want to be part of that!