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Lessons learned in 15 years of business

Hi everyone!

As of 1 May 2022, Virtuoso Legal will be 15 years old. Yeah – I'm still here! So that's a pat on the back!

Most businesses don’t last anything like that long.

Here’s what I’ve learned along the way.

#1 Go your own way


I set up my specialist practice because I realised, I couldn’t grow or fulfil how I wanted to serve businesses best - unless I did this my own way.

I still believe that if you want to grow both personally and professionally, the corporate structure of many big businesses just isn’t the right place to do it.

Hang on in there if you want money and security but don’t stay in a big organisation if you are creative, see things differently or want to make a name for yourself. If you do, then eventually it will start to kill you; slowly and then quickly.


#2 Surround yourself with good people

In the past, I’ve worked with the wrong people.

They were toxic or just plain draining and frequently both!

My own practice enabled me to remove people like that from my life.

That made me happy in 2007, it still makes me happy in 2022. Long may it continue.


#3 Never a dull moment


Running a business is a constant challenge in so many ways.

Keeping your staff and your customers smiling is never, ever going to be easy.

It is also never going to be dull!



#4 Standing out from the crowd

If you want to be recognised in your field, it is almost impossible to do that in a big business. Why? See 1 and 2 above.

Trust me, there’s always going to be a system or a person/group of people who will make that journey sclerotic or block you altogether.



#5 Depth beats width

Working in a specialist practice means working with people who truly, deeply understand the legal issues and who have a laser-like focus on resolving them.

The senior team at VL have decades of experience. Few places can offer that. Experience counts.

If you need heart surgery, do you want a surgeon who’s done 100 operations or a surgeon who’s done 1000 operations?



#6 Choose your clients

We value people and relationships – both internally and externally.

We choose our clients and who we work with generally.

Does that make us exclusive? Yes, but it also means we have the courage to say no.

We’re driven by values. Financial targets sit behind those, but profit flows from repeating good advice and good service. You can only do this by adding value to your clients.



#7 Hire good passionate people, before all else 

Business is ultimately about people. We recruit on attitude and provide our teams with the best opportunities going to develop themselves.

That means taking on the brightest and the best but also giving them the tools, the opportunities and the client contact to ensure growth.

That’s why we now have massive demand to train here as training with us is a privilege.



#8 Don't overlook soft skills

Soft skills are vitally important.

All our team have constant training to ensure they know all about the businesses they help.

The law works best where it delivers real value to clients. My team know that.



#9 Your team should be a mirror to the world

We champion diversity.

I truly believe that we work best if we understand that one size doesn’t ever fit all.

I love the latest Virgin Atlantic advert – it speaks to my heart. Who would want to work in an organisation that only employs a specific “type” of person?



#10 Always know what the next big move is

Our next big puzzle piece?

Finding the right senior team to take us forward for the next 5 years is taking up a lot of my time at the moment – not least because I’m not looking for just anyone.

If you come here you have to be technically good, but you also have to have excellent people skills and the right values lead mindset. (So, if you see yourself growing into an IP powerhouse in the next 10 years, you’re dynamic and like responsibility then do get in touch!)


Wrapping up

It's a bit of a cliché, but 15 years seems like it has flown by!

What I am most proud of is how we've stuck to our guns and created a truly unique proposition (and business) in our space.

Moreover, the fact that we're up there with the best 3% in the industry is testament to the fact that our audience of peers and clients "get it" too.

Here's to the next 15!

Watch this space.



Elizabeth Ward, Principal of Virtuoso Legal

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