Mason Hayes Solicitors

Mason Hayes, an innovative law firm

Mason Hayes is a niche commercial law firm with offices in Manchester and London. Established in 2002 the reputation of the firm continues to grow as to the quality of the firm’s clients and the matters with which it deals. The firm which embraces an internal culture of enthusiasm, commitment and motivation prides itself on its unique ability to work in partnership with its clients and strives in a solution driven environment to offer value for money. Marcus Hayes discusses why Mason Hayes was established and its key vision in providing legal services in an ever changing future legal market.

The traditional legal business model has proved to be very successful. However, by 2002 it was clear that the legal profession was no longer meeting the needs of its clients or, indeed, its lawyers. Having worked in a number of large national law firms prior to 2002, it had only reaffirmed my thinking about the way the legal market was moving generally. That thinking exposed, amongst other things, two key issues:

  • The growing concerns from business with regard to the increasing and unsustainable fees being rendered by law firms and their methods of charging.
  • A general deep dissatisfaction amongst lawyers working within traditional law firms.

In attempting to address this situation, I thought that there was an opportunity to build an innovative law firm that would meet the demands of both its clients and lawyers; the result was Mason Hayes Solicitors.

The advent of the internet has certainly seen a lot of legal businesses move from the traditional “bricks and mortar” large office environment to more niche and flexible operations. Using the latest technology to run our own business and communicate with our clients has not only enhanced efficiency within our firm but has also seen as a result, the reduction in the cost of doing business. Indeed we can provide the same quality and level of service as a traditional law firm but at a reduced cost because we do not have the same overheads. As a limited company, we have a fairly flat structure, unlike the pyramid structure associated with a traditional law firm. As a consequence, we continue to be able to adapt very quickly to market conditions whilst our lawyers tend to be entrepreneurial and more business orientated.

In creating a law firm that was fit for the 21st century, central to our business model was the creation of a structure that would give lawyers career satisfaction as well as to take their personal and professional lives into consideration. Most lawyers always strive for a better work life balance and are often tired of office politics. More often than not lawyers are increasing given impossible targets or billable hours to hit and where the failure to hit them each month would often mean that they are overlooked for promotion, this meant that any work/life balance was pretty low down on the agenda for lawyers and many were simply leaving the profession because they could see no way of juggling their lives or interests with a career in the law.

This lack of flexibility that continues to exist in the legal industry today can be particularly hard for women. Evidence suggest that women often find it difficult to return to work having had children, as opportunities to work reduced hours appear limited. Recent research has shown that whilst the number of women qualified as Solicitors has doubled in the past decade to make up 60% of all qualified lawyers currently practising in the market place, a disproportionately low number of women hold senior positions.

Turning this traditional model on its head, we have created an opportunity for lawyers to have more control over their destiny. It provides to them a choice as to whether that means spending more time with their families or pursuing other interests, whilst being rewarded fairly. Whether an individual is an employee, working on a freelance or self-employed basis, lawyers at Mason Hayes generally keep more of the fees they generate which compares favourably to the traditional law firm, which will normally pay a salary of up to 25% of expected fees to be generated.

Subject to client needs, this means that they are able to dictate where and when they work, and we then provide within an office environment or externally away from the office, an appropriate infrastructure which will allow lawyers to spend more time focusing on the important matters of servicing their existing clients and developing new ones. Other lawyers however, are keen to work “a normal day” and are comforted in the knowledge that they are being financially rewarded by ending up with a greater proportion of the proverbial pie. As a result of our structure, we have noticed that our lawyers have been liberated and are happier which I believe reflects in their work and business dealings.

The next 5 years will bring dramatic changes in the profession and only those that are best placed to adapt to that change will survive. Forward thinking firms are already contemplating the impact of what the Legal Services Act will mean for their businesses, and the current state of the economy has also caused many to question their business model and how they can reduce costs.

The consequences have been many. It has ranged from ditching hourly rates; large scale redundancies resulting in some firms scaling back their operations, or mergers and acquisitions. These activities will continue apace as firms continue to seek to compete in the economic downturn and become more client focused and sensitive to client cost prejudice. However by stripping away the overheads and excesses associated with the traditional law firm, we have created a new kind of legal services provider which equates to better value and equality with greater efficiency and service. Undoubtedly the flexible and low cost nature of our model will, if adopted by many firms, be the key to survival in today’s economic market.

Marcus Hayes is a Director of Mason Hayes Solicitors

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Mason Hayes Limited is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under registration number 537318. The professional rules relating to our services can be accessed on the Solicitors Regulation Authority website at Mason Hayes Solicitors and Mason Hayes are trading styles of Mason Hayes Limited which is a company registered in England and Wales under company number: 3401175. Our registered office is Siviter House, No 1 The Grange, Altrincham Road, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5ND. Our VAT number is 803 032 486. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Privacy Policy
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