Steven Zdolyny, head of legal at Riverview Solicitors...
Riverview Law was less than a year old when you joined and may have been seen by traditionalists as a risky move, so what attracted you to join?
I was at the stage in my career where I wanted a fresh challenge. I had a number of job offers but I liked Riverview’s innovative approach and I really identified with their aim of changing the way that businesses use, measure and buy legal services.
So what is different about Riverview Law?
Everything, but specifically, our business, pricing and customer model makes us stand out. Traditionally, law firms look at their costs and work out how many billable hours are required to generate a profit. Riverview started from a different point, the customer. It analysed what was important to small, medium and large businesses and then set about building a different, cost-effective, service delivery model that combined people and technology appropriately.
Riverview offers businesses of all sizes an unprecedented mix of fixed fees and annual contracts. Time and time again our lawyers tell us that not having an hourly billing model is liberating and actually gives them permission to do what is best for the customer which should really be at the heart of any legal service.
What type of business are you attracting?
This has been a real surprise. When Riverview Law first started it had thought that the main traction would be from SMEs but in fact it has come from larger organisations, including several FTSE100 businesses that are outsourcing key parts of their legal advisory work to us. That said, we’re still attracting many SME customers who really appreciate the comfort from having lawyers on hand at any time but with complete cost certainty.
You recently announced a major recruitment drive. How is that going? What type of positions are you looking to fill?
Very well, there’s been a great initial interest and we’re still recruiting. We’re effectively looking to double in size by creating up to 100 new posts over the next year, primarily in the North-West. The appointments are a result of recent contract wins with a number of FTSE 100 businesses.
The majority of the new roles are for commercial lawyers, but we’re also recruiting paralegals, client managers, IT developers and data analysts to be based at our Bromborough offices.
We offer an exciting alternative for legal professionals, particularly for those who want to focus on delivering high quality legal work for major customers and not having to worry about billable hours or business development. What we’re offering is a truly enterprising culture – think more business than law firm, a focus on team work – everyone here shares customers, which as a result means everyone has ownership and exposure to a varied and high quality workload.
One of our new starters summed it up perfectly by saying: “This role is everything I wanted and more. It is fresh, friendly and fun.”
Steven Zdolyny joined Wirral-based Riverview Solicitors in 2012 from the North West Development Agency (NWDA) where he had been Director of Legal & Estates for seven years. Steven qualified as a solicitor in 1991. He worked in private practice for five years before joining the Environment Agency in 1996, where he became Regional Solicitor for the North West region in 1998, responsible for 22 legal staff.
At the NWDA he led a team of over 50 staff and during this time dealt with £2billion+ of commercial deals and transformational projects. Riverview Law burst onto the legal services market in February 2012 aiming to change the way organisations use, measure and buy legal services by bringing transparency and certainty to customers through fixed price annual and multi-year contracts, litigation and legal advisory services. Its legal advice is delivered by Riverview Solicitors and Riverview Chambers.