In the beginning … calling all lawyers and entrepreneurs

Posted on March 28th, 2010 by Chrissie Lightfoot

Hi there. A huge welcome to you all!

Truly pleased you have taken the time to check out EntrepreneurLawyer’s blog. I do hope you will find something here of interest as the blog develops and you continue to return and get involved!

I am Chrissie Lightfoot – TheEntrepreneurLawyer – Founder and CEO of EntrepreneurLawyer Limited. I am a woman entrepreneur … and a recently newly qualified solicitor / lawyer. A strange mix you may think. I agree.

You may be thinking ‘why EntrepreneurLawyer blog’, ‘why TheEntrepreneurLawyer’ and ‘why EntrepreneurLawyer Limited’?  So, I’d like to share something with you (a secret) and I’d like to tell you a story (penny a brick).

The secret …

Perception of an entrepreneur = risk taker, courageous, innovative, primarily right side of brain thinking (creative), unconventional, freedom, dynamic, pro-active/fast,  communicative/available, energetic, commercially savvy, smart and thrifty; colour – red/orange/yellow; attitude – the world’s my oyster, I can do anything, let’s give it a go, ‘yes’  it can be done. Reality?

When faced with an entrepreneur as a client/customer the lawyer may be thinking ‘Eek, what planet is this nutter on? He’s obviously off his trolley. This is complicated and he doesn’t understand or appreciate what’s entailed. How am I supposed to tell him that he just can’t do that?  It can’t be done in that timeframe and it can’t be done for that kind of money.  I wish he’d stop changing his mind. Just trust me, I’m a lawyer.’  Reality?

Perception of a lawyer = risk averse, reserved, status-quo, primarily left side of brain (logic), traditional, regulated, re-active/slow (takes an age to do anything),  uncommunicative/unavailable, commercial nous challenged due to restrictive environment/structure/experience, intelligent and expensive;  colour – grey; attitude – the oyster’s my world, I’m a lawyer (period), I’ll stick with what I know thank you. Reality?

When faced with a lawyer providing legal advice and services the entrepreneur may be thinking ‘OMG, this is going to cost me an arm and a leg. He just doesn’t get where I’m coming from. I came here for a solution and now I’ve just got more problems (expensive ones at that)! Will he ever get off the goddam fence and give me a straight answer?! Lawyers – they’re all the same, expensive and arrogant.’ Reality?

The problem …

Major clash. And …

The trend – we live in a fast moving, constantly changing digital world where the numbers of self-employed, micro businesses and entrepreneurs are increasing year on year. As far back as 1982 philosopher and management guru Charles Handy predicted that in the 21st century more than 50 per cent of all jobs would be conducted on a part-time, freelance or self-employed basis. He was right.

However, entrepreneurs and lawyers are invariably at opposite ends of the spectrum on many counts.  Clearly there appears to be a lack of understanding between entrepreneurs and lawyers in the kind of legal provision and service an entrepreneur expects and what the lawyer is able (or willing) to deliver.

And herein lies the opportunity. There is an obvious need to improve understanding between entrepreneurs and lawyers so that BOTH parties are happy with the outcome – improved cost effective and time effective legal provision which creates value for both the entrepreneur and the lawyer.

There are lawyers and entrepreneurs in abundance … but there are few entrepreneur lawyers and entrepreneurial lawyers.

The solution …

Arguably, for a lawyer (and a law firm) to be able to provide truly outstanding legal advice and bespoke customer solution services for an entrepreneur (s)he needs to be technically good ‘at the law’ (i.e. solid legal knowledge, skills and experience) AND must truly understand the entrepreneur i.e. (s)he must be able to ’stand in the shoes’ (in mind if not in body) of the entrepreneur.  EntrepreneurLawyer Limited (“EntrepreneurLawyer”) was founded for this reason.

By having experienced 3 start-up companies to date (as owner manager, co-founder, founder) and experienced being a lawyer serving entrepreneurs after studying the law and training as a solicitor in a mid-tier law firm for the past five years (now a qualified solicitor (non-practising)) I know and understand what an entrepreneur thinks, feels and wants. I also know and understand what a lawyer thinks, feels and wants. I can wear two hats and I can wear two pairs of shoes. I’ve commissioned lawyers as an entrepreneur and I’ve advised entrepreneurs as a lawyer. Accordingly, EntrepreneurLawyer bridges the gap between the business world and the legal world providing services for both entrepreneurs and lawyers with the vision to create a movement to reduce the gap. Feel free to check out what EntrepreneurLawyer is all about to see how I (together with the experts) may be able to help you help yourself!

Your opportunity …

EntrepreneurLawyer’s blog is THE SPACE for you (entrepreneurs and lawyers) to come together and understand each other better so that lawyers are better able to provide the kind and level of services that entrepreneurs need, want, expect and demand and entrepreneurs are better able to understand and appreciate what is (and is not) possible from a lawyer. If the gap is to be reduced, we have to start somewhere … so it might as well be here. And you know how the saying goes – “there’s no time like the present”!

I  encourage you all to share your knowledge, experience, information, news, thoughts and issues etc. (except confidential of course!) so that (arguably) the present Dickensian style legal structures and services are innovated and elevated to a level befitting for the ever increasing number of maverick 21st century entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs, buisness start-up owners, self-employed people, owner managers,  micro business owners, CEO’s etc. – tell the lawyers what you need, want and expect.

Lawyers, solicitors, attorneys, trainees, law students etc. – listen, hear and act on what the entrepreneurs share with you. It’s in your interest.  Believe me. If you want their business now and in the future you’d better be prepared to get out of your rocking chair and strap a pair of roller blades on!

It’s time … this is your blog.  Make it count  … feel free to post comments and suggest topics for discussion.

Warmest regards … and welcome again !!!!!!!!!

Chrissie Lightfoot

The Entrepreneur Lawyer

The story: Penny A Brick – post 2 coming soon …

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Posted in Entrepreneurs, Lawyers | 5 Comments »