The Lawyer Management: Higgs & Sons

Glyn Morris has been the financial director of West Midlands-based firm Higgs & Sons since 2006. He has previously held roles at Wragge & Co, where he was a financial controller for seven years.


 

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

Client needs, demands and preferences are changing at a faster pace than ever. Add new technologies and entrants to the mix and you have a big job to do. We put a great deal of effort into staying light on our feet, adaptable. We scenario plan, think things through and talk a lot so that we can become the law firm of the future today.

What impact, if any, are the structural changes to the UK legal market having on your firm and your role?

We are often approached as a potential target for acquisition or to acquire firms and we’ve met some nice people in the process. ABS is here and will become a more mature concept that will raise structural questions for us to explore. We remain open minded.

What’s in your in-tray?

Our year end is October, so the 2013 budget is sitting ready to review. We also have an initiative called ‘Going for Gold’ to execute, which involves two firm-wide bonus schemes and a donation to charitable community projects based on the number of gold medals won by Team GB?

What was the most pressing item you faced relating to the operational side of the firm last year and how did you resolve it?

Glyn Morris
Glyn Morris

For me and my team we undertook a lot of work in relation to our underlying accounting infrastructure. The cash flow increase was very satisfying.

In which key ways have you improved the firm’s efficiency?

We have formed a two-year partnership with Aston Business School to work on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) research project, which will look specifically at efficiency of processes. It’s been a superb experience so far. I can recommend a Knowledge Transfer Partnership to anyone.

More on the project in this year’s UK200 report.

What are the primary ways in which you source suppliers?

We are relationship driven. If a supplier has common values to ours we will find them and they will find us. Our strategy document states that our suppliers should enjoy working with us and us with them.

What problem would you most like technology to solve?

I am still in disbelief that there is not an all-encompassing Law Firm Management System available out there. I have met a lot of talented people, including developers, lawyers, accountants and support teams, and everyone knows what a system needs to do. Someone please make one. I’ll help and every­one will buy it.

Please briefly describe the management structure of your organisation:

There are the partners, then a strategy board, then a managing partner responsible for nine legal departments and five support departments. It works well.

Who do you report to?

The managing partner. He’s a very intelligent guy.

Which board/s do you personally sit on?

I’m on the firm’s strategy board and have recently finished a term as president of the ACCA West Midlands regional network, which encompassed 7,000 members. I am also on the steering committee for our Knowledge Transfer Partnership.

What is the most important lesson your role has taught you?

Profitability is a marathon, not a sprint.

Plus “Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down, but the race is long and in the end it is only with yourself.”

Sorry those are Baz Lurhmann lyrics from the song Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen).

Firm facts

Partners: 29

Staff: 159

Lawyers: 65

Offices: 2

Financials

Turnover: £12.5m

Revenue per partner: £431,000

Revenue per lawyer: £192,000

Doing Business

“I am still in disbelief that there is not an all encompassing Law Firm Management System out there. I have met a lot of talented people including developers, lawyers, accountants and support teams, and everyone knows what a system needs to do. Someone please make one, I’ll help and everyone will buy it.”

The firm has formed a two-year partnership with Aston Business School to work on a Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) research project into how legal firms can build greater client loyalty. Current clients include London and Cambridge properties and Avis car hire.

Systems

CRM: SugarCRM (open source)

PMS: LexisNexis