Founding partner Katie McCann was interviewed by Glossy Magazine about the Lowry Legal brand, its origin, message, and mission.
Katie’s interview was published in Glossy Magazine, 6 October 2022, and can be found here.
The inspiration to set up my own specialist family law firm came during the coronavirus pandemic. During the lockdowns, like many lawyers, I suddenly found myself working at home. I was working independently and I saw that all my work came directly from contacts I had personally cultivated over the years. This was the eureka moment I needed. It helped me realise that I really could do this for myself.
The lockdowns also provided much needed space to reflect on my career more broadly, to put things into perspective and to define my goals in life. Since embarking on the adventure of setting up my own firm, I’ve learned how much work is involved. It’s more than a job, it’s a way of life. The time demands involved mean I’ve had to learn new ways to balance life, family, health, and friendships.
Yet the rewards for this effort and sacrifice are immense. I feel energised each day. I love being able to set the direction of the firm. I feel like the world is my oyster. It’s exhilarating to create something from the ground up and watch it develop, change and grow. Yet growth comes with its own challenges, in terms of increased workload and also finding the right team members to come on board to meet growing demand.
I think the key to creating a successful firm is having a clear vision and a message and then going out and promoting it. That could be in person or online. My firm Lowry Legal has a clear message: we specialise in high-net-worth family law. Becoming widely known as a leading expert in your chosen field is essential. Our clients have the resources to hire the big law firms to represent them – to become their chosen advisor, you need to be known as a leader in your specialty, while offering a uniquely personal service.
One of my personal goals is to develop my reputation as a legal commentator in the media. That is an end in itself, but it obviously also gives me a platform to spread my firm’s message. Being active in the media also helps prospective clients to find me and my firm, whether they are searching online or listening to the radio. Like most barristers, I like to talk!
Consistency in delivering high-quality work is crucial. Genuine care for our clients must go alongside professionalism, especially given the emotional situations we must often deal with. I want to create a firm that truly embodies the nature of service. That means a firm that serves our clients, but also looks after the needs of the people who make up the community of the firm. I think a lot of law firms pay lip service to this, but don’t deliver. A happy collaborative workplace leads to better client service, staff retention, less stress and fewer absences.
Indeed, Lowry Legal is founded upon collaboration. The firm was set up in collaboration with Excello Law. Excello brings an established and excellent management, compliance, support and technological resources, which frees us up to focus more on advising our clients. We like to manage our cases in a collaborative way too. We always try to find amicable resolutions for our clients. However, we stand ready to act robustly to defend our clients’ interests when necessary.
Setting up my own law firm has certainly been an educational experience. To anyone considering starting their own firm, my first piece of advice is: be realistic. Starting a firm is not like taking on another job. It will take over your entire life. Ask yourself these questions: Do you have the time to devote to this? Do you have a growth mindset as opposed to recoiling every time there is an issue? Can you lead others and understand that a firm is not solely about you, but also about the people that come to work with you, and – above all – your clients?
The demands of setting up a firm are such that you must be physically and mentally up to the challenge. I make a conscious effort to prioritise health and wellbeing. Each morning I make time for movement, whether that is walking the dog or training in the gym. Keeping fit, and tending to your wellbeing, especially in the cut and thrust of the legal world, is incredibly important. It allows you to keep perspective and be significantly more productive and focused during the day.
Setting up a law firm – or any business – means taking a step into the unknown. It takes courage to move from being an employee or a partner in an established firm to becoming an entrepreneur. Yet for those willing to take that leap, and put in the work, the personal and professional rewards can be immense.