Success as a sole practitioner is much more difficult without professional relationships whereby all service providers can benefit, as well as the clients.
Zile Yu founded his own legal practice, Quantum Law Group, in August of last year. However, as part of his new vocational chapter as a sole practitioner, he is a consultant for his former employer, national firm Meridian Lawyers, at which he was head of innovation and special projects.
Having such an arrangement in place, even though he now operates his own firm, works “really well” for him, Mr Yu explained, “because sometimes I have very large matters, which as you can imagine, as a sole practitioner, I couldn’t possibly handle, but with the expertise of a national law firm, that gives the clients the assurance that their matter is going to be looked after by a very well and highly skilled and varied team”.
Speaking recently on The Boutique Lawyer Show, Mr Yu discussed how important such collaborative partnerships are, noting that one person alone cannot make everything happen.
“There is so much going on behind the scenes. I like to use the iceberg analogy, whereby physically, we may observe what’s above the water, but there’s a lot below the water too,” he said.
Lawyers tend to be too individualistic and are hesitant to operate in tandem with others, he continued, adding that lawyers “generally like to protect their patch”.
“But I don’t think that necessarily should be the case, because no one person knows everything. No one person can do everything. By taking a collaborative and holistic approach and an approach based on long-term relationships, long-term perspective and growth, there are benefits for all parties involved,” Mr Yu surmised.
“Success cannot just belong to one person, because for that one person to be recognised, he or she must have had the help of so many others along the journey, along the path. If we explored collaboration instead of taking a competitive approach, I think we’d see that there would be benefits for all parties involved, and not just between lawyers and lawyers.”
Such collaboration does not just have to be between legal practices, Mr Yu noted – it can and should also exist across professional services streams.
“If you are a law firm and you work great with, say, an accountancy firm or a consultancy firm, then together, your offerings to client bases increase dramatically. Likewise, your ability to interact with and learn new information, also increases dramatically. And that builds up over time as well,” he deduced.
In the same episode, Mr Yu argued that understanding and appreciating why you do what you do not only help you get out of bed each morning to work, it makes you a better legal professional.
To listen to the full conversation with Zile Yu, click below: