Since the introduction of alternative business structures in 2012, many law firms have shaken up the way they work and brought in non-lawyer managers and partners. Cheshire-based Blunts is an example of a firm that did just that. This month, we caught up with their Director, Kayley Wilson to talk about the evolving state of the profession, her plans for the year and two very important members of the Blunts team, office dogs, Ollie and Cola.
How did you end up getting into the legal profession?
By accident really - working in a law firm was not something I’d ever considered but an opportunity presented itself and I was ready for a new challenge so I just went for it.
It’s becoming more and more common for firms to appoint non-lawyer partners, like yourself. Why do you think this is and how do you think this benefits the firms?
Over the years, legal firms have become complex commercial businesses. Whilst many firms are managed successfully by lawyers, some recognise the need for business and finance directors from outside the legal industry who bring different skills and experience. This expertise has been key to many firms’ success as the focus has shifted to business strategy, commercial intelligence and quality of service delivery.
Having Alternative Business Structure (ABS) status allows firms the ability to bring in new skills and talent but also to attract and retain high-performing non-solicitor employees.
What’s the best part about your job?
I know it’s a cliché but if I’m going to give an honest answer it has to be all of it. I have such a diverse role as a director; I can be dealing with anything from setting strategic goals to speaking to local artists about sketches for reception.
All the things I enjoy about my role involve people - our team, our clients and our business contacts. I love the human interaction and enjoy the challenge of finding solutions to people’s problems - not necessarily legal issues but knowing someone who can sort it!
We’ve heard you have ‘stress managers’ at Blunts, Ollie and Cola – how does having a couple of furry friends around impact your team
The dogs are great fun to have around the office and definitely take a level of stress away. I would go as far to say that since we introduced Ollie and Cola into the workplace, our team has become closer - almost like a family. By having the dogs here they create a warmer working environment which brings health benefits to us all.
What do you like to do to unwind?
Most of my spare time is spent playing or watching sport. I play squash, touch rugby and five-a-side football but equally love running around, climbing and messing about (usually with my children). I enjoy the camaraderie of team sports - it takes me back to when I was at school, running around a pitch in the cold weather but now with the added advantage of meeting in the clubhouse afterwards!
Any exciting plans for the year ahead?
Ooh, exciting plans… I’m hoping to get a few cheeky trips in this year. I have been toying with the idea of doing the A–Z travel challenge, visiting countries, cities and towns and maybe writing a blog about each adventure. With so many beautiful places to see and experience both on our doorstep and worldwide, there are exciting times out there for all of us.