This is a guest blog post by Peter Garry who is head of partnerships and professional practices at Tonbridge Wells law firm Cripps Harries hall. He also happens to be a bit of a rock legend by all accounts. Here he is in his day job http://www.crippslaw.com/profile/peter-garry/
When the Senior Partner decided that the firm must have a rock band and called for volunteers, I wasn’t first in the queue (or the second). But having played the guitar on and off since my (partly) misspent youth, though never in a proper rock and roll band, I succumbed on the basis that it would be a shame to go to my grave never having chucked a telly through a hotel window or bitten the head off a bat (I jest, we are of course very sober solicitors).
At the point of volunteering I had no idea who was going to be in the band other than that the drummer was going to be another partner. We swore a mutual oath to remain in the band to the bitter end, as one partner tottering about on stage with a group of other members of the firm less than half his age might be regarded as unseemly (or more so than two partners). Now, amongst others, there are four partners in the band. (Real safety in numbers. We’re practically quorate.)
The day came when the make-up of the band was announced (and I’d like to make it clear that I’m not talking here about glitter, eye shadow and lippy). Nine of us in all, about half of whom, at the outset, I barely knew (not as their “real selves” anyway). Like any good law firm the band has a pyramid (though in this case a bit of an upside down one), but unlike some law firms the partners in the band do not even begin to believe that they have superior knowledge and skills.
The first band practice was a bit of a shambles, but we’re quite tight now. A recent high point was the entire band ending in unison precisely on the surprise-final-note-in-a-place-where-you-wouldn’t-expect-it-to-be. The sense of mutual achievement from getting that right a second and third time in a row was tangible.
We are now practising one evening a week in preparation for our first public gig, the firm’s summer ball. We have the 10pm spot so hopefully by then half the firm (especially those who might disapprove of such improper conduct – see clause 10.5 of the LLP Members Agreement) will have gone home, and the other half will be sufficiently inebriated to forgive the inevitable F when it should have been a Bb (oops, that’s me again). All joking aside, I fear it will be the best attendance until 11pm that the summer ball has ever achieved.
What I have really enjoyed about the process of the band gelling together, apart from getting to know the people involved better, is that every Monday evening we metaphorically as well as physically leave our suits and ties and ranks and titles back at the office. When a partner can’t play a riff (that’s me again) a trainee shows him how, and the partners double as roadies along with everyone else. Respect is accorded not for your status in the firm but for whether or not your weekend practising is apparent in your ability to hit the right notes in the right order at the right moment. It’s a new and somewhat alarming experience to have to work hard to bring my skills up to the standard displayed by my non-partner colleagues. (And of course my extremely talented partners!)
Anyone who thought that 360 degree assessment is tough should try this.
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