It’s time to say farewell ….
I was just 30 on 1 May 1986 when Roger Bolt and I opened the doors at Bolt Burdon. We were so excited. Three of our staff came with us and all our clients except one said they wanted to follow us to our new firm. I remember that first day in our new office as if it were yesterday.
We had a vision for a different sort of law firm. A firm where client service was as important as being great lawyers. A firm where we trusted our staff and where we were all part of a team – where we worked hard but also had great fun together.
35 years on my journey as a law firm leader is at an end. I am incredibly proud of everything we have achieved.
I always thought that my purpose as a lawyer was to help my clients achieve their dreams. When I did client work nothing pleased me more than a delighted client.
As I learnt more about management and leadership and what makes people thrive, I began to get an even greater joy by what I called the ‘vicarious thrill’ – the thrill I feel when one of our staff has done something amazing for a client and I take a little secret pleasure in believing I had created an organisation where that could happen.
Lawyers of my generation were brought up in a culture of working all hours – billable hours – to get pay rises and promotion. I was one of those lawyers. I took pride in working six or seven days a week – and my family suffered. At some point I realised that was not the way. I now believe the role of a leader is to create an environment where people can flourish. To help staff do their best work – rather than their most work. To support them in that with training, mentorship and coaching. I am so very proud of our culture and our very longstanding flexible working policy designed to help our staff have a great life out of work as well as a great job, and to offer more options to clients.
I have been planning this retirement for a very long time! The date was fixed over 30 years ago when I drafted our first partnership deed. Seven years ago, we put in place a plan to identify and train my successor. The plan worked perfectly with Louise taking over as managing partner. I retire from Bolt Burdon knowing the firm I love so much is in very safe hands.
Finally, I wish to say a huge thank you to all those clients, staff and Islington friends who have supported Bolt Burdon over the last 35 years and helped us create our amazing firm. Thank you for giving us your work, thank you for your effort and thank you for joining us to party! It was a blast!
I have now realised my dream of living by the sea. I have moved to Wells-next-the-Sea on the north Norfolk coast, and I walk my dogs every morning on the beach. Do visit me if you are nearby.
I am not stopping work altogether. I continue my coaching and consultancy work for law firm leaders – check out my website www.lynneburdon.com – you will find my contact details on there.
Bye for now!