Natasha Lewis is the co-founder and joint managing partner of legal sector disruptor Lewis Denley, based in Horsham, West Sussex. She shares a typical day in her working life with The Brief.
How the day unfolds
My day normally starts around 7.00am with a healthy breakfast, usually overnight oats and green juice. I try to juice everyday as it’s a great way of getting as many fruit and vegetables in me as I can! My partner usually leaves for work around this time, so I say goodbye to him and then get in the right mindset for the day ahead.
Once showered and ready, I log on at home and check my emails. I’ll respond to anything urgent or that needs dealing with then make a coffee.
Back in 2017 I co-founded Lewis Denley with my colleague Colin Secomb, having spotted a gap in the market for a forward-thinking, client-focused law firm. The firm has grown rapidly over the last five years, and we were recently named Property Law Firm of the Year at the South East Property Awards.
The role I started at Lewis Denley has changed slightly over the last few years, and nowadays I’m no longer client facing. My background is in residential property law, and when setting up Lewis Denley being in a client facing role was hugely important, but now I focus my time on scaling the company, recruiting new members to the team to help us grow as a business and setting up and overseeing departments.
I find my time is much more valuable knowing I have an excellent team behind me to maintain our excellent customer service levels, whilst I meet customer demands with the introduction of other practice areas.
My first priority for the day is checking in on members of staff. Most days I will have at least one one-to-one with a member of the team from accounting, compliance or one of the legal team members, such as partners and lawyers, to discuss various topics.
This could be anything from discussing our processes to forecasting to dealing with any issues that arise and need to be dealt with. I really value this time because it dictates how my day is shaped.
One of my pet hates is being disorganised so I like to organise my week, and schedule everything I can up to a point. I use various tools to keep me on track, and this way I find I stay extremely organised. I love technology and no longer use a notebook!
Getting up early leaves me hungry by lunchtime so I find an early lunch around 12.00pm suits me. I always eat light, and a chicken salad is my go-to-lunch, so I get my protein and vegetable fix. I use this time to sort personal stuff and try to switch off to get prepared for the afternoon ahead.
Keeping on track
After lunch I check over emails and then review our billings, targets and conversions to make sure we are on track for our goals each quarter.
Given we have just set up a private client department, and we have plans to expand the business even further, recruitment is taking up a lot of my time at the moment, so I deal with agencies and read through CVs for various positions and decide who to interview. We currently have 28 staff and our aim is to grow this to 32 by the end of 2022.
This has exceeded our target when we set the business up five years ago. Most were recruited through the pandemic, which we didn’t expect to do.
Because our private client team is new, I find a lot of my time is spent with new team members working closely to go through our processes within our system, and campaigns and conversions. At the start of Lewis Denley, Colin and I set up our own software which was much more client friendly. We found the traditional legal software didn’t suit our needs.
This is where a lot of investment initially went in the early days but it has paid dividends, especially through Covid times: we are 99% paperless so for us the pandemic didn’t lead to delays waiting on signed documents. We plan to commercialise this software and offer it to other law firms later in the year.
Late afternoon sees my diary filling up with more team meetings, firstly with the management team to discuss the performance of their departments and any issues they wish to raise. Keeping this regular dialogue open really helps alert me to any issues I need to be aware of.
Secondly, I will check in with different members of the team and help with any issues, from client matters to general matters they may be dealing with.
Culturally, I have always adopted an honest and open approach with the team, and this has worked well as we have a very good retention rate. I am fortunate that my role really lends itself to spending time with individual team members, as this is something I enjoy doing and, from feedback, is something that is valued by the team.
I feel privileged to work with such great colleagues and a growing company. The firm has come a long way in the last five years and my role is to support and lead in the best way I can.
I try to finish work about 6.00pm and head straight for a workout at the gym. I will then log back on before preparing dinner at home. If I get the chance, I try to listen to a podcast – The Diary of a CEO is one of my favourites. I’ve learnt a lot of valuable lessons and find comfort in hearing other business leaders tell their story.
- Connect with Natasha Lewis via LinkedIn