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The Law Society Awards deadline for entries has been extended until 4 June 2021. If you’re thinking about applying and need a bit of inspiration, Tom Bohills, founder of Chronos Law and winner of our Sole Practitioner of the Year Award 2020, explains some key things to think about.
I would certainly do it in two sessions.
I recommend sitting down uninterrupted and giving yourself an hour or two to get your first thoughts down on paper (perhaps on an evening when the emails have stopped!). Then, I would leave it a couple of days and come back to it.
Sit down with a coffee on a morning and read it again as though you are looking at it for the first time. If there are any changes that are blindingly obvious then make them, but otherwise try to stay true to the original draft.
As a sole practitioner, your firm is an extrapolation of you.
Ultimately, we are a client-focused, relationship-based profession. Therefore, pull together a selection of materials you have used for pitches and proposals to clients.
Treat the Law Society as a prospective client you are incredibly keen to land. Tell them what you have done that you are proud of, why you are different, and how you are making the law better, cheaper and more accessible.
We were still a very young practice at the time I made my application, so it was hard to go to new clients and ask them to support us straight off the bat.
Instead, I went to the core ‘anchor’ clients who originally encouraged me to launch Chronos, and who have known and worked with me the longest.
Once I had received their endorsement and testimonials, it gave me the impetus to speak to newer clients, to ask for their support.
Asking clients to write testimonials was the most challenging part for me.
We’re lawyers and we’re in a role where we are always working in our clients’ best interests. It feels incredibly odd to be asking for something back.
However, once you get over the initial queasiness, it’s a lovely way to bond with clients and ask them to assess you as an adviser honestly.
I do feel we’re quite a humble profession. We just graft away without complaint, and therefore recognition and thanks are always unexpected and massively appreciated.
The joys of being a sole practitioner meant that I didn’t have any colleagues to ask to proofread my application!
However, I asked my long-suffering wife to proofread it over dinner one night.
Winning a Law Society Award has definitely improved the perception of my firm.
The Law Society is hugely respected as an institution. It is seen as transparent and objective and therefore – unlike other industry awards – it really means something.
Obviously, the win was very useful from a marketing perspective, but the best part was the fact it felt like a real pat on the back after so many late nights and so much stress.
It sounds like a cliché, but I was honestly just thrilled to be nominated.
For the awards night, I wasn’t sure whether we were required to be on camera, so I got suited and booted in my front room.
My wife was next door with my young son, so I ended up fist pumping in full suit and tie on my lonesome when the awards were announced.
It was a really lovely moment and felt like an acknowledgement of the hard work I had put in to set up Chronos from scratch.
The great thing about the Law Society Awards is that they aren’t partisan or commercial. They are awards for lawyers by lawyers – judged by your peers. I was really humbled and grateful to be recognised.
Over the last 14 years, the Law Society awards have recognised the most outstanding legal practitioners in their field. They are a great opportunity to celebrate the hard work, expertise and inspiring achievements of the profession.
There are 20 categories to choose from and you can enter as many categories as you like – they are also free to enter.
In recognition of the uncertainty facing law firms and solicitors, we've extended the deadline for entries for the Law Society Awards to give you more time to complete your submission.
You now have until Friday 4 June 2021 to submit your entries.