Lawshare continues to grow and help legal sector

Having the right support in place can have a huge impact on the well-being of an individual. With mental health and well-being now at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds, it is always nice to see what different avenues are available to those in the legal sector to garner a little extra support.

I recently spent some time talking to Peter Finkill-Coombs, Partner at Lawshare to find out more about the support that is available through their scheme.

Lawshare provides firms with a streamlined solution for their clients in areas they don’t cover, or perhaps have capacity for. It guarantees preservation of the client relationship and generates an extra revenue stream for the referrer in work they’d ordinarily turn away. Recently, it celebrated achieving 500 members, who enjoy the benefits of this scheme.

Peter explained:

“Formed a decade ago by Joy Kingsley, the Senior Partner at JMW Solicitors, Lawshare is a scheme brought by the firm, which offers a free of charge referral and support network for lawyers and firms.

The scheme enables its member to refer matters with complete confidence from those enquiries they generate but which fall outside their area(s) of specialty. We guarantee to act only on the referred matter, ring-fencing each enquiry so as to not act for the client on a future occasion should they return. If they do, we signpost them back to the original referrer. At the conclusion of any matter where we open a file following a referral or recommendation, we profit share with the referrer.”

Who are the faces behind Lawshare?

The core team comprises of:

Stuart Cartwright, Partner

Stuart has headed the team since its inception a
decade ago. Formerly a Partner in our Business
Crime team Stuart was handpicked by our Senior
Partner Joy Kingsley to spearhead Lawshare and its development.

Peter Finkill-Coombs, Partner 

Peter hails from a Chambers background, a senior clerk from a leading set in his native North East and then latterly the national head of BD for Doughty Street Chambers before joining the Lawshare team a little over a year ago.

Abby Winkworth, Partner

Abby joined JMW in September 2020 from a leading
London law firm, bringing with her a wealth of
experience in professional services management,
spanning the legal and accountancy professions.

Pearse Weatherby, Business Development Manager

Pearse’s experience lies in the ultra-competitive retail market and boasts operational management experience in that industry. This is complemented by Pearse being a law graduate and having recently completed his LPC.

 

Elaine Johnston, Administrator

Elaine is the team’s dedicated administrator and comes to the team with amazing pedigree having spent time working in the client services team. Elaine has first-hand experience of the client journey and supports the team and our members in any way she can.

The team are supported by the ultra-efficient members of the client services team who process thousands of enquiries every year from our membership.

Are there any areas of law that you specialise in?

“That’s the good thing,”

explained Peter.

“Lawshare is a department within JMW and being full service we offer that complete, wraparound offering. From everything to a house purchase or sale, complex litigation, employment, family, corporate and commercial work and much more besides.

“Our departments and individuals are consistently recognised in all of the major leading legal directories and are habitual winners of industry awards.

“So really we specialise across every facet of the law!”

Have you seen an increase in the amount of work being referred to you?

“At the height of the pandemic our members were naturally concerned about their clients, the areas in which they practice and where new enquiries were going to come from. Coupled with the practical implications and logistical difficulties that came about by virtue of lockdown. So initially the level of referrals naturally dropped off. As people settled into new working practices and market changes brought about an increase in certain areas, family and employment matters were some of the first areas to peak.

“We’ve also seen a spike in members utilising the scheme in a more agile way. The SDLT holiday has created almost unprecedented interest and activity in the housing market. Firms with conveyancing departments have been overwhelmed and as a result have decided to utilise the scheme in an ad hoc fashion for enquiries they’d usually deal with. Being at capacity, rather than flatly turn away the enquiries, they directed them our way. Of course, they know they have the security of us acting only on that individual matter and at such a time that the market calms down, they can turn the tap off on those enquiries. So that conveyance that was turned away at a finite period of capacity, had it not gone through Lawshare might have ended up at competitor firm and the client may have been lost to that firm forever. It’s that flexibility and transparency which makes Lawshare such an attractive option.

 Why do you think this is? Do firms still have people on furlough?

“I don’t think it is necessarily one thing. Staffing issues and the use of furlough meant that some members went through a period of flux, getting the balance right was essential. All organisations, law firms being no exception, have had to take stock like never before. Whilst looking at all internal practices, the way they deal with new business was brought to the fore and the bottom line sharply into focus.”

If you’re interested in getting in touch with Lawshare, Peter explains how easy the referral process is.

“We’ve tried to keep things as simple as possible here at Lawshare. We’ve dedicated phone number and email address. The team pride themselves on being responsive. As you might imagine the majority of referrals and recommendations come to us by email – [email protected] The core team including Stuart still see every enquiry that comes through to that email address. So, members know that there are people at board and partner level with a helicopter view of everything that is referred to the scheme.”

What are the benefits to firms if they refer work to you?

“Peace of mind you are referring a client to a highly reputable legal practice, knowing your client will be very well looked after, whilst safe in the knowledge you’ll see them again on a future occasion. In addition, there is of course the financial benefit of profit sharing!”

What do you think the future holds for Lawshare? Where do you see yourself in three years’ time?

“I think Lawshare will continue to grow, just like it has year on year since it started. Like any great idea, the premise is very straightforward and coupled with the assurances we offer it is a scheme which has and will transcend the ages. We recently celebrated signing up our 500th member late last year. This accolade belongs to Capa Law, a new start up from the Wirral specialising in personal injury litigation. The diversity of our membership is now reflected in location. Traditionally our stronghold was in the North West which we’re delighted remains to this day. However, over the last decade and coming out of the pandemic we now have a national presence.

“With the recruitment of partner Abby Winkworth into our London office, which opened two years ago and has grown exponentially during that time, I can only see greater and swifter expansion in our membership in and around the South East. Another fall out from the pandemic has been the, somewhat forced, uptake of conducting business more remotely. Traditionally there has been a preoccupation with geography and there appears to have been a shift in mind-set for the provision of legal services being conducted remotely. Whilst we’re always likely to offer that hybrid, this has helped expand our reach.

“As the network grows ever bigger we’re always conscious of maintaining our very high service standards. Whilst there are lawyers in the Lawshare team, none of us undertake any fee earning and concentrate solely on the smooth running and development of the network. So with such growth it follows we’ll make sure we staff the department accordingly. We make long lasting relationships so the members we serviced ten years ago, we expect to be assisting in three years’ time and beyond.”

More information about Lawshare can be found here.

Today's Conveyancer