my story:  chrissie lightfoot

I’m a lawyer … and proud of it.

I’d always had a penchant to be a lawyer from a very early age. It wasn’t the Perry Mason, Ally Mcbeal, Sir Digby Jones or Boston Legal portrayal of the profession that attracted me. It was pure challenge, strategy and frustration …

perception and reality

After all, the reality is that the perception of a lawyer and the legal profession still remains as someone or something that we need in usually a stressful, difficult situation / time and that you’re going to get stiffed with an expensive bill for a piece of work that you don’t understand for the privilege of not being communicated with very often throughout the process. So, why would I want to be tarnished with the same brush? Simple, I saw ‘opportunity’. I saw change, innovation and the digital age on the horizon.

early twenties treadmill

The thought of being a lawyer in my early twenties made me cringe mainly because I wasn’t ready to jump on that treadmill at that particular time. No offence intended I hasten to add if you are a budding lawyer i.e. trainee solicitor, trainee lawyer or trainee attorney. That was a different era and decade remember (1990s). I actually believe that if you are about to enter the profession right now it is an exciting time as the way in which legal advice and services can be delivered has a great deal of scope, variety and opportunity for you. But I always felt that I would acquit myself better once I’d experienced ‘business’. Hence, I went off and did a load of other interesting stuff instead first.

But I knew that one day I would be a lawyer. I am now, having come to the legal profession in later years, albeit I am not practising at the moment (from my own choosing). I might again in the future, who knows.

law matters in business

Fact of the matter is I always had to deal with legal matters in my business affairs. I was particularly interested in how the law could be used to be of benefit to one’s business and personal goals. For example, if you’ve got great intellectual property how do you make it work for you i.e. exploit it (Bill Gates was/is a master at this) and protect it, or how do you structure a company from day one if you know you want to exit with minimal taxation implications and motivate and reward employees tax efficiently along the way?

not a pretty picture

Bottom line, my dealings with lawyers throughout my portfolio career and in my businesses prior to entering the legal profession did not paint a pretty picture. I felt, and knew, from personal experience and those of my entrepreneurial colleagues that there was a LOT of room for improvement in the delivery of legal services (on many fronts and in many ways). There was a major gap between the lawyers’ picture and the entrepreneurs’ picture of what great client service was … and is.

going native

And therein was my calling. I felt that ‘going native’ would help me understand ‘why’ lawyers behaved the way they did so that I could serve the entrepreneurial client in a better way. Having gone native, I do understand. Throughout the legal profession per se there is a lot of history, tradition, conservatism, outmoded models, structures, regulation, fear and egos rattling around which can make the job of a ‘digital age lawyer’ very pressured, stressful and frustrating, invariably affecting the level, quality and type of legal service provision. It is difficult for the lawyers that ‘get it’ practising within the legal profession to help bring the profession per se kicking and screaming into the 21st century to deliver top notch client service when their colleagues are still stuck in their Dickensian ways.

Don’t get me wrong, there are bastions of entrepreneurial legal service and advice to be found and there are indeed some awesome entrepreneurial lawyers in the field that ‘get it’ and acquit themselves to delivering service excellence. This is what makes one proud to be a lawyer in a respected profession. But this is the exception rather than the norm. Unfortunately outstanding client service is still a rare occurrence in the legal profession.

a greater calling

I entered the legal profession with an open mind. If I enjoyed the day to day work and the future opportunities looked bright then maybe I’d stay. At the very least, if I didn’t, and/or I needed a new challenge, I also knew that the training (knowledge, skills and experience) would help me be a better business woman for the benefit of others. Being ‘legally qualified’ is another skill to add to my professional skills handbag. I also felt that entering the profession in later years meant that I could put the transferable ‘soft skills’ into practice for the benefit of the client and those whom I served in the firm.

I was privileged with the opportunity to ‘legally serve’ entrepreneurs for a while alongside a handful of lawyers that did ‘get it’ … until a greater calling beckoned whereby I could utilise my true talent for the benefit of many, rather than a few.

entrepreneurlawyer

Accordingly, I have founded EntrepreneurLawyer Limited in a bid to help lawyers and entrepreneurs come together in a positive way.

EntrepreneurLawyer is the sum total of my life’s knowledge, experience, skills and talent that I wish to share unreservedly with those of whom wish to engage. I hope it will be of great benefit to lawyers (primarily young lawyers and lawyers2B entering the profession) and entrepreneurs as it evolves.

further information:

If you have any questions and/or you’d like to simply get in touch then I’d be delighted to hear from you.

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