James Batt – director of BCL Legal – on how 2011 has been to the firm....

Well, that was the year that was and what a 12 months it’s been for all of us at BCL Legal. Like many businesses, we’ve found 2011 pretty challenging but we’ve focused on doing our job well by keeping our clients and candidates at the very heart of what we do.

That philosophy won’t be changing either and it’s worked with an increased number of placements from both our private practice and in-house departments. In 2011, a total of 334 private practice candidates were placed whilst 59 in-house lawyers are enjoying new jobs.

As we always say, our people are what makes us great so increasing our head count with top quality and experienced recruiters was one of our main aims for the year. I’m delighted to say we achieved that as we had a flurry of new starters across all regions and all departments. A bigger team means we can service our clients and candidates quicker and more efficiently. Many of the new members of the team have come from high profile firms so their experience and knowledge have been invaluable and have further strengthened an already dynamic group of people.

One of the biggest changes for us was our new firm-wide rebrand. The project had been in the planning for over a year so it was fantastic when the new website and look was finally launched a few months ago. As a business, we’ve evolved massively so we wanted our brand to reflect what we stand for right now. The feedback was amazing and it gave the whole team a boost which was great to see.

We are also committed to adding value wherever possible so after much research we decided to launch our Management & Support Division. Headed up by Emma Anthony, the department now operates across each region and sources personnel for a variety of disciplines, including; marketing, business development, human resources, finance & accounting, secretarial &  administration, IT and compliance.  Since its launch in the summer, the team has gone from strength to strength and is now working with some of the UK’s most well known firms.

As part of the new department, a new concept called Brand in a Box was unveiled which devises and creates ‘take-away’ brand strategies for small to medium sized law firms. We’ve teamed up with Allie Johns from that is... a brand development consultancy – to create an off the shelf product which will help clients to define their goals and how they can reach them. The unique service includes workshops or 1-2-1 interviews that are based around six key sides of branding; including; what differentiates the client, what are its aspirations and what challenges or opportunities exist. The process also sees the creation of a ‘Brand DNA’ document which incorporates an overarching vision, a set of values, a list of key qualities and a summary of its personality.

On the In-house side, last week we announced that we had provided over 2,500 CPD points to our seminar delegates since the start of the year. During that time, we’ve partnered with some of the UK’s leading law firms, including; DLA Piper, Pinsent Masons, Shoosmiths, DWF, Browne Jacobsen, Addleshaw Goddard & Pannone to stage 13 bespoke events covering everything from commercial law and employment law to working with the public sector. We are planning to continue staging these free events throughout 2012 and the next Legal Update Seminars will happen in April and October with full details being announced early in the New Year on www.bcllegal.com

Other highlights for Mark Levine and his in-house colleagues have included being instructed by HM The Queen (via the Duchy of Lancaster) as well as fulfilling briefs for the likes of Molson Coors, BAE Systems, Michelin, DHL and the Co-Operative Group. Again, we’re proud to be working with these household names.

As a company, we’ve also invested heavily in our infrastructure and just last month we switched to Cloud Computing. This cutting edge system allows the whole firm across all our offices to share resources, software, and information over a network rather than a fixed server.  This now gives us far more flexibility as we can log on to the system anywhere and it reduces our long-term overheads as expensive maintenance of servers is now a thing of the past.

Phew – well that was just a snap shot of our year but it’s been up and down, stressful, challenging but above all enjoyable. Once again, thank you all for your continued support of BCL Legal and from myself and the entire team; have a Happy Christmas and a healthy and successful 2012!