Have you got what it takes to be a Shulmans lawyer?

Tim Halstead, who was named 'Managing Partner of the Year' at the 2014 Yorkshire Legal Awards, explains what it takes to be a Shulmans lawyer.

Tim, is a Shulmans lawyer any different to any other lawyer?

Yes. Our lawyers buy into a particular way of doing things. It is unique to us, because it reflects our own brand and culture.

What is that way, that brand, that culture?

First and foremost, our lawyers are driven by a desire to do the very best for our clients. We look for bright people who are good at listening carefully, so that they are in tune with clients and able to understand what they want. A strong academic background is useful, but only if alongside commercial acumen.

My job is to provide the tools and working environment within which our lawyers can do that.

There is a fine balance to be struck. We want people who can see the big picture, helping to set strategy and never losing sight of objectives. At the same time, we need to pay attention to detail. Clients expect us to handle the small print. Our transactional lawyers don’t take points for the sake of it – only where they really matter to clients. They also tend to know what matters to individuals. They have experience of their markets, but also the patience to check that individual clients’ needs are met.

Our litigators will defend their corner robustly. Where necessary, they will pursue cases aggressively. They won’t do that however unless that is in the best interests of our clients. Where appropriate, they will seek to mediate and reconcile the interests of all parties.

A Shulmans lawyer will always have the interests of clients at heart. If it is right to settle a case, that is what we will advise, even if we earn less as a result. If there is a simpler way of structuring a deal, we will suggest it, though it may not be as lucrative for us. We find that clients come back to us because of that, and recommend us to others. That’s good for our business too.

We work in a very competitive marketplace. The best way we can develop our business is to ensure that our clients have no reason to use anyone else. The best way we can ensure that that happens is to create an atmosphere where the best lawyers want to work for us and stay with us. That is how our firm is growing so strongly.

The best advice I was ever given as Managing Partner was this: if you look after your people, they will look after your clients and the money will look after itself. That seems to me to be a pretty good way of running a business.