The Lawyer Africa Elite 2014 features an in-depth look at 46 leading independent firms’ strategies in 15 key sub-Saharan jurisdictions, as well as the views of in-house counsel from some of Africa’s largest companies... Read more
This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
David Bott, the sole proprietor of Bott & Co, is a man on a mission. He says he wants to “put the people” back into the law.
“It seemed to me the majority of personal injury practitioners were grab-and-run merchants,” he says. “We didn’t want to be a conveyor belt. Something was definitely missing in the marketplace.”
Bott, 35, is the eponymous head of Bott & Co, the Cheshire-based personal injury (PI) practice he founded in 2001, just four years after qualifying. Now his firm is projecting a turnover increase of 25 per cent for the current financial year, which would take it up to a healthy £4m.
Bott admits that the firm will only grow as fast as its clients allow. “Our growth is entirely based on client satisfaction,” he says.
Feedback cards are provided for clients before and after proceedings and the firm has begun to attract some high-profile cases, including a £600,000 settlement following a car smash. “We’ve some big ones bubbling under at the moment and we’re certainly not averse to tackling the million-pound cases. They’re inherently more interesting,” says Bott.
As not just the head, but also the finance director and practice manager of his fledgling firm, Bott has a lot of weight on his shoulders. But it is a responsibility he is sure he can handle.
“The way forward is always to concentrate on providing the right service to the right clients,” he explains
But it is not just the clients who get first-class treatment. The staff at Bott & Co are also well looked after. All 15 fee-earners have their own personal assistant. Bott himself is a firm believer in a happy workforce being a productive workforce. “We don’t want anyone to leave us on financial grounds,” he explains. And the low staff turnover at Bott & Co, at just 5 per cent, does indeed seem to reflect a contented workforce.
The rural location of the firm’s office also contributes to a happy and motivated staff, according to Bott. “It’s just a far more relaxing place to work,” he says. “You may as well go somewhere you actually want to work and let your staff enjoy coming in each morning. It’s all about quality of life.”
Bott, formerly of Bolton firm Keoghs, is acutely aware of the gulf between work and personal life that can often swamp lawyers at the larger firms. “We don’t particularly want people to work beyond the hours of 9am to 5.30pm. If they do then it’s a bonus, but essentially we like to reward efficiency,” he says.
Bott is keen to make up a second partner before the end of the year and is adamant the promotion should be an internal affair. “We have people who’ve been with us since the very start and you simply have to reward that. Bosses don’t treat their staff well enough in our industry,” he says.
‘Progressive’ is a word too often applied to niche firms, but with a state-of-the-art IT system due to be installed and its first ever trainee joining next month, in the case of Bott & Co it is more than appropriate.