A different business model for lawyers | Merali Beedle
No targets, no set hours, less cases, remote working.
A different business model for lawyers
Nico Beedle, Partner and Co-founder, Merali Beedle
In 2014, my friend of over 20 years Adam Merali approached me and suggested a new way of working. Adam had also been working at a traditional firm, working on a large number of files, billing a significant number of hours, and was being paid a salary fixed regardless of the hours he put in. Adam wanted to have greater flexibility and control over the number of matters he worked on, and a larger share of the fees for those files. Merali Beedle was born and our team has now grown to 16 experienced solicitors, all of whom have previously worked for larger, traditional firms.
Our solicitors work on the basis of no fixed salary, no set hours/targets, and are rewarded with 50% of fees up to £30,000 in billing and then 70% once they reach this target. Our team is also encouraged to refer work to each other outside their own practice area, and to agree referral fees between themselves. The firm provides all the services a traditional firm would provide - offices and meeting rooms, IT support, finance/accountancy, marketing support - but members of our team are under no pressure to work at the office, and are encouraged to go out and build up their own client base in the local area in which they live, as well as with existing contacts.
There are a number of other firms who work on a “consultancy model”, but we are particularly keen to provide opportunities for solicitors with a wealth of experience who have not yet explored the possibility of building up their own client base.
Our “low volume, dynamic delivery” ethos is beneficial to staff, clients and the business:
Our business model enables our team members to decide how many matters they want to work on, and where they want to work to best fit in with their personal circumstances. It is far less stressful to be managing a few transactions and giving them your full attention than to feel like you have a stack of files which are backing up. The intention is to ensure that our team members do not feel overwhelmed, and we are very clear on the fact that all members of our team are absolutely entitled to say no to any work they do not want to take on for whatever reason.
As a result of this approach, we have built up a reputation for being highly responsive, and for getting matters dealt with as efficiently and quickly as possible. The fact that our solicitors get paid once a matter is resolved, and are all reliant on instructions they generate, means that the interests of each individual fee earner (and not just the partner) are aligned with the client.
We want to build up a non-hierarchical team who are each able to manage their work life to fit their circumstances. We do not offer “work/life balance” – I am sceptical about the concept of this mythical “balance”, as each of our circumstances can change. What we offer is experienced lawyers the independence to provide high level, dynamic legal advice to select clients, while balancing their work and life (which is an ongoing process). The vast majority of our team are mothers of school-aged children, who used to work for major firms and are now thriving with the greater independence and flexibility which we offer.
"We believe that our business model benefits everyone involved, supports good mental health and wellbeing and enables our lawyers to take on an amount of work which is right for them given their personal circumstances, and ensures that they are not overstretched."
Nico Beedle trained at Ashurst LLP where he qualified into the Real Estate team, acting for major companies on a wide variety of commercial property matters, including purchases, sales, corporate acquisitions and landlord and tenant transactions. Prior to joining Merali Beedle Limited, Nico worked in the commercial property team at Forsters LLP for a number of years, acting for clients ranging from institutional landlords with extensive portfolios across the country to retailers expanding into the UK market.
Nico advises investment funds, companies, private individuals and family trusts on their investments and portfolios in Central London and the South East. He also specialises in acting for landlords and retailers and office tenants on leasehold transactions. In addition, Nico currently acts for a developer of both commercial and mixed-use sites, and for a mezzanine lender on property finance transactions.
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