David Pollitt

LWBLAR15-LOGODavid Pollitt, managing partner at DAC Beachcroft, talks to Legal Week Intelligence about what makes the firm a Best Legal Adviser for 2017-18

How do you ensure the legal advice you are giving is commercially relevant? A client’s experience is often deep and narrow in relation to their business, and what they get from us is a wider experience that can be layered on top to make sure they’re guiding their business in accordance with the way things are going in the market, so that market context is vital. We know from dealing with X number of clients in this particular sector that certain things are done in certain types of ways. That comes from experience and it comes from working hard within the law firm. Secondments are also an example of how we invest in our clients and can provide advice that is really tuned into their business. It allows us to see what they like and what they don’t like, so it’s hugely valuable.

In what ways are you innovating to improve client services? We innovate every day but we just don’t realise it. At the moment, innovation is becoming confused with artificial intelligence and technology, and the suggestion that there needs to be some whizzy thing behind the human in order for something to be innovative. Wrong. Quite often, innovation is driven by technology but by no means exclusively. There isn’t a eureka moment that’s redefining the way that we do things; more often than not it’s just people saying: why don’t we do this slightly differently, or why don’t we apply something we learnt here over there? While we have examples of technological advances that we’ve made and AI that we’re investing in, a lot of innovation simply comes from people bringing fresh thinking, improving the way that we do things and applying that for the benefit of our clients. One example is around the work that we do for some of our real estate clients, which involves us handling the leasing arrangements for large shopping centres. We know a lot about what certain retail companies might want and what their expectations are around tenancy terms, so we’ve created teams that know the tenant and we understand before we’ve even picked up the phone to the solicitor acting for the tenant precisely what the points are going to be and we can clear those with the client. That serves to accelerate the process, getting the tenant in more quickly and getting the rent paid more quickly to our client.

How do you seek to deliver value for money to clients? I’ve always worked on the basis that value for money is the product of quality and price. It’s not necessarily the cheapest option, but price is a key part of value for money, as is the quality of advice, and by quality I mean both the legal and commercial content. Value for money can really encompass so much and you’ve almost got to take yourself up from the detail, but for us there are really four reasons why clients keep coming back. It’s a combination of us understanding the client’s business, it’s about our commitment to trying to help them achieve what they want to achieve, and a big part of it is the relationships and the personal chemistry. The final element why people come back is value for money and on that it is really people recognising when they come to us that it’s a combination of all those things, about our willingness to support them, our interest in their business and the way that we deliver our services in a friendly, unstuffy, accessible way – all of that goes into value for money.

What clients like about the firm: 1. High quality of work and expertise. 2. The ability to understand client needs and respond proactively. 3. Overall the firm has fabulous expertise and response times. They are efficient in that they normally respond by return or as soon as practicable.

DAC Beachcroft’s top scores: 1. Quality of legal advice (4.4) 2. Communication and responsiveness (4.4) 3. Commercial approach and understanding of my business (4.4)

For more information visit: www.dacbeachcroft.com

The Best Legal Advisers Report will be published in February 2018. For more information email lrosenthal@alm.com or call her on +44 (0) 203 868 7545  .