Following the announcement that DMH Stallard and Riverview Law have signed a formal strategic alliance I thought it would be interesting to get Tim Aspinall’s view on this bold move. To read more about Tim please click here
What is the connection between Riverview and DMH Stallard?
DMH Stallard and Riverview Law have a shared vision for the way that legal services should be delivered. Like us, Riverview Law were keen to capitalise on the rapidly changing market and had innovative ideas for doing so. We have what Riverview Law needs to grow even faster, including a large experienced team with a great reputation for delivering services efficiently. Riverview Law has what we need to grow, including a strong brand, sales and marketing. Both of us believe in fixed pricing and Legal Advisory Outsourcing.
The truth is we have been working together for some time now having already undertaken a number of market tests where both DMH Stallard and Riverview Law pitched for work that neither of us could have won independently. The market tests clearly demonstrated that for a wide range of requirements – from complex litigation to high level technical advice – the alliance is a winning formula.
Who made the first approach; you or Karl Chapman (CEO of Riverview law)?
Initially it was me who made contact with Karl. It was clear from an early stage that Riverview Law’s outlook matched how we had been positioning DMH Stallard for some time. We know that the delivery of legal services needs to change so it seemed like an obvious conversation to have. As it turns out it was!
What do you both get from this arrangement?
That’s a good question.
Because of our shared philosophies the alliance brings a perfect arrangement to capitalise on the Riverview Law model and brand and DMH Stallard’s legal heritage and experience in areas such as M&A, commercial property, disputes, employment and other areas of business law.
It gives each business the opportunity to offer more services to customers, work together to win new business, develop existing business and create new fixed price products.
Added to this over time we can take best practice from both firms to create a very powerful legal force combining traditional law with modern delivery – exciting isn’t it?
Do you think the relationship will stay as a strategic alliance or could it become a merger?
The legal market is undergoing significant change and in order for both organisations to take full advantage of this change and provide customers with the services they need we have decided that there are some areas where it makes sense for us to work together Our strategic alliance achieves our goal of extending our offering to customers and right now the alliance is our core focus.
We will, however, both continue to win and deliver work separately and run independent businesses under our respective names.
What do you see as the main challenges for you both as you move forward together?
I think some people feel that expecting a traditional law firm to work alongside a disruptive innovator like Riverview will be our biggest challenge, but we don’t see this as an issue more of an exciting opportunity. Perhaps it will be dealing with all the extra work we’ll generate together, but that’s the kind of challenge we’d both like to have!
DLA Piper own 21% of Riverview Law – do think this will create any competition issues?
DLA Piper is one of the largest and most innovative law firms in the world and so we would be flattered to find ourselves competing against them. Riverview Law naturally briefed DLA Piper and their other large shareholder, AdviserPlus, and both organisations were and are highly supportive of the alliance.
Riverview have some very advanced technology at their disposal – will you be using any of it?
We have been investing in technology for some time now and have similar BI (Business Intelligence) software to them. Getting accurate management information to our clients is an increasing need that we have both responded to and are happy with the results. One thing we may look to leverage between the two firms is CRM. Riverview operate a very advanced version of Microsoft’s Dynamics CRM system which we are going to be taking a serious look at.
Will there be other strategic alliances in the future?
We have a strong working relationship with Riverview Law but we are both independent businesses pursuing our own strategies. Our focus is on making the new alliance successful, but who knows what might happen in the future.
If you have one message for the legal profession what would it be?
If you could take a sneak preview of the legal profession in 5 years’ time I think you would be looking at a completely different landscape than the one we have today. The legal world is changing at a frightening pace and those firms that can’t adapt in parallel are going to be left behind. I have no intention of letting DMH Stallard be one of them.
I happen to know DMH Stallard very well (they are a client) and as regular readers will know my relationship with Karl Chapman stretches back to the early 90′s so I will watch this relationship with interest in the coming months.
DMH Stallard are a well thought of traditional law firm with a great track record and a strong brand in the south east.
Riverview are a disruptive force in the marketplace especially in their use of technology and processes. By bringing the two together I would expect to see a very interesting hybrid emerge which could potentially be even more disruptive than either could achieve alone. Time will tell I suppose.
Silhouette Image courtesy of Vlado / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Mrs Thatcher was probably one of the most divisive prime ministers in the 20th century.
Whilst she did do some things that I never agreed with I thought she took a country that was on it’s knees through years of weak government, union torment, poor business management and a criminal lack of investment and completely turned it round. I remember those pre-Thatcher days and they were truly awful.
She was a commitment not a focus-group politician who did what she believed in, always put Britain first and took on the male establishment and beat it. Say what you will but she was a truly remarkable person hence the state funeral (or as close as a commoner can get) and the world-wide plaudits.
I was born in a council prefab (we couldn’t even get a council house), went to a secondary modern school and had no access to family money or influence. Success didn’t come easy for me but much of what I have achieved was made possible because of the Britain Mrs Thatcher created. For that I am truly grateful.
Anyway, to celebrate the great lady here are my douzey-dozen Baroness Thatcher quotes – enjoy.
- Being powerful is like being a lady. If you have to tell people you are, you aren’t.
- If you just set out to be liked, you would be prepared to compromise on anything at any time, and you would achieve nothing.
- I love argument. I love debate. I don’t expect anyone just to sit there and agree with me – that’s not their job
- If you want to cut your own throat, don’t come to me for a bandage.
- To those waiting with bated breath for that favourite media catchphrase, the U-turn, I have only one thing to say: You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning
- Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money.
- Pennies don’t fall from heaven, they have to be earned here on earth.
- I came to office with one deliberate intent: to change Britain from a dependent to a self-reliant society — from a give-it-to-me, to a do-it-yourself nation. A get-up-and-go, instead of a sit-back-and-wait-for-it Britain.
- There’s no such thing as society. There are individual men and women and there are families
- I am extraordinarily patient, provided I get my own way in the end
- Defeat? I do not recognise the meaning of the word
- My policies are based not on some economics theory, but on things I and millions like me were brought up with: an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay; live within your means; put by a nest egg for a rainy day; pay your bills on time; support the police.
Late in her life I was lucky enough to find myself in the same place as her. Long after her prime and despite her illness her charisma and power seeped from every pore.
RIP Margaret Thatcher.
Short answer is yes, but here’s a slightly longer one.
My first mentor was Mike Sparkes who started as my agent when I was freelance but ended up my friend and business partner before his untimely death aged 38.
During the time I knew him this is what he gave me: -
- Inspiration: I couldn’t wait to be with him because of how he made me feel
- Knowledge: he knew more then than I know now and he was utterly selfless in sharing what he knew with me and with others.
- Experience: he liked me to have a go and was OK with me failing provided I learned from the experience.
- Challenge: he wasn’t a great believer in comfort zones and the status quo. Always pushing and helping me realise my potential.
- Confidence: he always believed in me and was never shaken by my many catastrophes.
- Support: especially in the early days he was always there for me particularly when my confidence was low.
- Motivation: I just wanted to do more for him.
- Friendship: not really a prerequisite for a mentor but he gave me his anyway.
Since then I have had many mentors and each has provided one or more of the above. I have no doubt that a great deal of my success in business stems from the contribution these men and women made to my development over the years. Even better than that it hasn’t cost me a penny.
I hope I have repaid my debts down the line though (but you’d have to ask those I have tried to mentor of course) and I will continue to do so. I think it’s as important to give as it is to receive - be generous with what you know.
My advice then: if you don’t have a mentor seek one out that you can trust and who can help you become what you are capable of being. You won’t regret it and it will make a big difference to how successful you will be.
Why do it all yourself when there’s an easier way.
Did you know that humans and chimpanzees have only a 2% difference in DNA. In 2005 the University of Washington in Seattle sequenced the genome of our furry forebear and found him to be more of a sibling than an ancestor.
But that 2% difference accounts for penicillin, the space shuttle, computers, the Eiffel Tower and liquid soap whilst our hapless cousins continue to swing around in trees and throw poop at each other.
It just goes to show a little difference in composition can make a huge difference in production.
Why is this useful then?
Well, when we are trying to set ourselves apart from our competitors and rivals we always imagine we have to be vastly different – we don’t. A little more organised; a little more proactive, a little more creative, attentive, focused, reliable and visible all add up to a very different person to the one that can’t be bothered.
Want to stand out from the crowd? Look for small differences and nail them.