When I set up Aria Grace Law a little over a year and a half ago, many of my friends and peers asked why on earth I chose the model of equal pay, equal share of profits for everyone, and mostly why did that model include me. After all, every other model for a law firm, as well as pretty much every other business, was designed around the founder taking a larger share than the rest. In most cases a much larger share. However, the uniqueness of Aria Grace Law is unlike any other business model: it is a backlash against the excesses of capitalism and socialism (ie. greed in both cases).
When setting up our firm, I looked at other firms with similar models to Aria Grace Law, I saw that the “executive” was taking anywhere from 25-75% of the fees, and in return the lawyers got very little, and people accepted it because there was nowhere else to go. To take such a huge amount of someone else’s money, in my view, is simply wrong. It also antagonises and angers those who are having to give their money away and that kills off any possibility for full scale collegiate, collaborative working.
So, the founding principle of Aria Grace Law therefore is that nobody profits from anyone else’s work and we spread wealth equally then we can derive downstream benefits, from obvious ones such as everyone being able to make more by doing no more, and we could then share some of our profit with good causes such as charities. Everyone gains. It is such a positive model bringing high value for clients at low cost, and diversity and equality for lawyers - I thought that this would be a desirable business model because if I would want to be part of it so would everyone else. And so it has proved.
Since starting over a period of 18 months, we have grown from one lawyer and 2 clients (one of which was pro-bono) to 21 lawyers and mid eighties in clients. This is without any real advertising, marketing or backing money – just word of mouth and our clients recommending us to other clients.
We have now lawyers in France, Germany, Spain, South Africa, UK and Poland. They all work in various ways, in a manner that suits them and which allows them to optimise their time and that only serves our clients brilliantly. We have clients ranging from start ups, to large fintech and FTSE serving technology companies; we even have one of the largest legal services providers in the world come to us to advise them. Our client endorsements on our website are truly wonderful and I am very very grateful for them.
We have also created an amazing website, thanks to the hard work and vision of our lead compliance lawyer (or “supreme leader of marketing” as she prefers) Puja Modha, we are now engaged in social media, we attend events of our charities such as Key4Life and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and we are growing. Fast.
We were also one of the first firms in the UK to be granted the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s waiver. Compliance is a heavy part of running a firm, and the SRA correctly comes down hard on those who fail in their duty as solicitors. Getting the waiver was very important as it allows Aria Grace Law to focus on commercial legal work, without having to be burdened with regulation which relates to matters we don’t deal with such as probate, residential conveyancing and the like. Working with the wonderful Crispin Passmore (Passmore Consulting Limited – the definitive answer to all things legal compliance) we achieved this wonderful milestone. Great for our clients.
I did an interview with Neil Rose from Legal Futures who described Aria Grace Law as “the future is already here”. I must confess I got a bit of a beating from Neil on some of his challenges (which were great – no new model is perfect, right?) but he was very kind in his write up. The interview with Neil can be found here.
Going forward, we are now looking at working with very senior industry leaders to bring the equality and diversity model of Aria Grace Law into the wider community. We will be creating awareness campaigns and driving the model forwards. Quite simply it is such a wonderful model – we would love if other law or accountancy firms copy the Aria Grace Law model – when you share everything equally you can’t compete with it, you don’t need to – and that only serves lawyers, society and our clients, the many, not the few.
Lindsay Healy - Founding Partner of Aria Grace Law