Lawyer Management: DMH Stallard

Scott Garner, head of business development

Garner

Scott Garner has been head of business development (BD) at DMH Stallard for six years. He was previously marketing and communications manager for the National Association of Pension Funds.

What are the key elements of your role?

The key specific element of my role is to drive forward the three-to-five year strategy of the firm.

I work closely with managing partner Tim Aspinall to agree what projects and initiatives will help achieve those strategic objectives and this informs the BD plan I prepare every 12 months. In 2012/13 I’m focusing on a number of discrete projects and this initiative is being led by a programme that involves fundamentally changing the firm’s approach to sales.

On a more general basis my role could probably be summed up as coaching and supporting the partners so they can become better business developers. This is a massive challenge for a small BD team and the trick is to develop a strong internal network so people are willing to help you and adopt your ideas.

How has your role changed during your time at the firm?

Social media was new when I started and now it’s second nature. A lot of our projects these days rely on LinkedIn, Twitter and so on. So looking at my role, the way we use and analyse data to inform and measure has become key. Before, you could argue that a lot of our initiatives and projects were based on instinct. Now, we’re very much focused on assessing opportunity so we know where to focus our efforts and what areas the firm can grow and develop.

It’s much easier to get buy-in from partners if you can evidence an area of significant opportunity and then measure progress to demonstrate success.

What’s in your in-tray?

A bag of Monster Munch and a bell. We ring the bell every time we get some new business. It’s looking a bit rusty, although it’s been used more by me than my predecessor (joke).

What was the most pressing item you faced on the operational side of the firm last year?

In September, the firm completed a merger with Surrey-based firm Callaghan’s and a lot of my time was focused on ensuring we made the most of that deal. The merger was part of DMH Stallard’s regional expansion plan and was supported by a focused comms and BD plan to ensure the firm could continue to build on its success in the Surrey and north Hampshire regions. I’m pleased to say we’ve made huge progress in a short space of time and its nice to hear people talking about the firm’s arrival in Surrey in a positive way.

What have been the key ways in which you have improved the efficiency of the firm?

Management information is exceptionally powerful now, and we’ve worked hard to ensure we have the right automated systems in place that can give us the information we need at a touch of a button.

In terms of delivering efficient client services we feel we’re ahead of the game. We’ve already got some great innovations in place and are always looking at ways to improve in this regard.

What are the primary ways in which you source suppliers to the business?

The same way we’d expect to be a supplier to a client – developing strong and trusted relationships.

What problem would you most like technology to solve?

In what context? The possibilities are endless. For example, I’ve always wondered why you can’t get butter in tubes.

Who do you report to?

Our managing partner.

What’s the most important lesson your role has taught you?

It’s not what you know (although it helps); it’s who you know.

Firm facts

Financials

UK turnover: £19.4m

London turnover: £4.9m

PEP: £150,000

Bottom of equity: £121,000

Top of equity: £175,000

Exciting times

“This is a really exciting time to be working in the legal sector,” comments Garner, when asked about the business climate. “Big change brings big opportunity, and big change is something we’ve been working on and preparing for at DMH Stallard for a few

years now.

“The firm is well -positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that are being thrown up at the moment, and anyone who is not prepared to embrace the changes that lie ahead could be in for a bit of a shock.”

IT systems

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