Simeon Spencer sums up the year that was at Spencer West
As we close out 2022, I was musing on what has been quite a year here at Spencer West.
When Antoine and I first set out on the path we have taken for Spencer West back in 2017, I don’t think either of us could honestly say we believed it would have gone quite as well as it has.
Our vision was to build a kind of law firm where gifted lawyers will pursue their own practices whilst thriving on delivering excellence every day with their colleagues but in a different way – choosing the work they do, when they do it, where they do it, how they charge for it and, crucially, seeing more return on the money they generate for the Firm.
We quickly realised that the magic that would ensure our vision would be realised could be captured in one word – ‘collaboration’ – a much used but not always understood term in the profession. All fee-earners and staff need to work in as collegiate, collective, and community-spirited way as possible and our culture must be based on this. To adopt a cliché (they are clichés for a reason), the whole must be greater than the sum of the parts, and it is collaboration in all things we do that ensures this. The way we build and the way we deliver great work for great clients is by working together across practice areas, in sector-focused groups, in deal teams, at all levels of seniority, between fee-earners and staff, in a culture of respect and generosity.
When Antoine and I were essentially a boutique City practice with half a dozen people in the Firm we were focused on what made us happy when we worked, and on ensuring the people we worked with had the work-life balance that made them happy. We assumed such an ethos was only really possible in a small Firm, working like a family. In talking to more and more lawyers who were experiencing the same disillusionment with the traditional structures and working life in law firms, we started to ask ourselves why our way of working and living couldn’t work just as well in a much larger Firm. Spencer West proves that it can, and it is the collaborative culture that enables this. Having decided to see if we could work to scale our concept, the way things have developed since then has been quite incredible.
We’ve gone from a start-up five years ago to having now close to 200 partners working with us in multiple jurisdictions and to revenues which would already put us in the Top 200 law firms in the UK. Our growing network of international partners and offices sets us apart and is drawing in talented lawyers in multiple countries, all imbued with the desire to work collaboratively on an internal level.
It’s caught the attention of the market as well. This year we were recognised as the fastest-growing alternative law firm – ALF – in the country and I’m pretty sure we’ll be knocking on the door of the Top 100 UK law firms in two years’ time.
Through the roller coaster ride we’ve stuck to the principles we had when we first set out to be Spencer West and we’ve been incredibly fortunate to attract wonderful people who happen to also be talented lawyers along with a compliment of dedicated staff members supporting the whole project.
We still focus on giving people the autonomy to run their own practices, meaning they’re akin to business owners themselves, but with wrap-around support to ensure the myriad ‘detail’ of running a regulated law firm is taken care of.
Market analysts forecast a potential for as much as 25% of lawyers to be working in law firm models similar to ours (they are all different in many ways, of course) within the next five years. I think they’re right. Our colleagues tell us there’s a special quality to the way we work, and I think they’re right as well.
Who wants to be like everyone else? Being different has got us to where we are, and I’m absolutely delighted about that – and even more excited for the next five years.
So have a great end to the year, a great Christmas and a happy New Year. And watch this space for more from us next year. Trust me. We’re far from done with our growth.