The Lawyer Management: Mishcon de Reya

Elliot Moss, director of business development



Describe your role

Client development, communications, brand reputation, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and overall marketing. I work closely with senior management on international strategy, including the development of Mishcon’s New York office, and opportunities resulting from the advent of the Legal Services Act (LSA).

How have you improved the ­reputation of Mishcon?

I’ve been focused on a positioning exercise that began in 2008 so Mishcon could articulate to its employees and clients, as well as in the media more broadly, what makes it special. Capturing the unique culture and values of the firm has been the foundation for everything we’ve created and ­executed in the market.

‘It’s business. But it’s personal’ was the result of a rigorous process and wide consultation. Everything we’ve developed since (including the new website and branding, lobbying government for children’s rights during divorce or for better conditions for entrepreneurs, and extensive commentary in the media) comes from the same position: we’re a law firm for the world of business.

What are the most significant external issues that currently have an impact on your role?

The economy. Also the pressure on pricing and the increasing comp-etition from more price-focused ­challengers, both in the UK and ­globally, and therefore the need to ­articulate ’value’ in intelligent ways.

What impact are the structural changes to the UK legal market having on Mishcon and your role?

I believe the changes represent a great opportunity for our firm and the role I play. That said, if they weren’t happening I still believe we’re following the right strategy. We continue to make ambitious strategic ­decisions; to believe in being the best in the markets we operate in; to invest in ’brand’, as we believe that differentiation drives top- and bottom-line value; and to hold our culture and values dear, because they underpin why we’re in business.

Describe the management structure of your organisation

We have an executive office comprising managing partner Kevin Gold, executive partner James Libson and chief operating officer Bambos ­Georgiou. Three boards report to this ­office: the heads of departments (hods) of each practice area; the directorate (the heads of each non-legal group, of which I’m one); and the strategic development board, which looks at longer-term strategy. The hods meet weekly, the joint hods and directorate every three weeks and the strategic board on an ad hoc basis.

Who do you report to?

The managing partner, Kevin Gold.

How many people do you have in your core team and who are they?

There are 20 people made up of business development managers and executives in each practice area, a ­business insight team, a client relationship management (CRM) and web team, a communications and PR manager and an events team.

What’s in your in-tray?

Working with each practice area on the business plan for the next 12 months; working with the partnership on the future of the firm and the next three-year plan (to be in place by April 2013); potential businesses we’re considering setting up in the next 24 months and beyond; how to effectively put knowledge at the heart of our business; how to improve internal communications; how to maximise our position internationally over the next few years; how to develop a CSR programme that goes beyond box-ticking and is genuinely impactful and leaves a healthy legacy; who we’re going to interview in the coming months on our Jazz Shapers programme (every Wednesday at 6pm on Jazz FM).

What are the most important lessons your role has taught you?

Asking someone intelligent for perspective improves your own thinking dramatically.

Firm facts

Partners: 70
Equity partners: 24
Lawyers: 194
Offices: 2

Financials

Turnover: £61.1m
Earnings per partner: £309,000
Profit per partner: £575,000
Top of equity: £800,000
Bottom of equity: £280,000
Revenue per lawyer: £315,000

Technology

Moss is clear about the problem that he would most like technology to solve. “Travel,” he says. “Can it please help me get home and to the office quicker so I’m late less often and not in such a crazy rush.”

That said, the firm is ­already an enthusiastic user of the technology that is currently out there.

Systems

CRM: Interaction
PMS: Aderant
DMS: Filesite

The firm also uses Office 2010, Windows 7, Laser Forms, Condeco, HR Pro, Workshare Pro, BigHand Digital Dictation and Voice Recognition