For our next Sacco Mann Talks To... get to know Tim Cross, Managing Partner at Langleys Solicitors.
Langleys have just entered a new phase, focussing on three core work areas – Commercial Law, Private Law and Conveyancing and are just about to launch their roadmap for the coming years.
speaks to Tim Cross, their Managing Partner, at this pivotal and exciting stage in their development.
A Bit About You
What initially brought you into the Legal Sector?
Ahh, whilst having had the privilege of attending an expensive school I sadly didn’t make the most of the academic opportunities presented to me, much to the disappointment of my father! Isn’t disappointment such a powerful word. At that stage I didn’t have any life plans and was ‘encouraged’ by my father to pursue what was deemed a noble career as a Lawyer which resulted in me heading off to “Trent Poly” what is now Nottingham Trent University.
What brought you to Langleys in the first place?
I was approached to join as their Head of Commercial Property, I’d never considered working in York but the opportunity sounded interesting. Once I looked into it my interest quickly grew, they were a solid firm with something different to offer given their geographical bases (York and Lincoln), they had quality lawyers with a good approach, I also really bought into the people themselves.
What was your route to becoming Managing Partner of Langleys?
I’d been an equity partner and sat on main boards in Leeds before joining Langleys to head up their Commercial Property team 10 years ago. After 3-4 years I took over the management of the business law side of the practice and joined the Leadership Team, stepping into the Managing Partner role in November 2020.
What makes you feel proud about working at Langleys?
It’s not one individual thing, it’s more the firm overall. We have exceptional lawyers and really strong financial performance; we have invested in the offices and IT and we have some of the best business service heads I have ever come across. All of this and the actual people themselves create a very special working environment.
What’s the most challenging element of your job?
It can be lonely in the Managing Partner role, it’s hard to be considered ‘one of the gang’ which can feel isolating and isn’t something that I’m used to.
As the Managing Partner I want to have a very open dialogue with everyone in the firm, I’m working hard to break down the barriers that the role can build and ensure that communication is a two-way thing. Talk to me! If I had a door it would always be open.
What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago on how to make Partner/shape your career?
Be more confident. Lawyers can struggle with imposter syndrome and in reality, they have a lot to offer and should have more confidence in themselves. Keep challenging yourself, don’t get beaten down and don’t always take no for an answer.
So far what has been your career highlight?
Becoming the Managing Partner of Langleys and having the ability to create a new strategy for the firm and its people.
Legal 500, 2021
Tim Cross delivers a personal and detailed service with a fantastic attention to detail and communicates well with our younger team.
A Bit More About Langleys Solicitors
What are the greatest changes have you seen to the legal sector in the last few years?
I do feel that many of the changes that we have seen over the past 10 months were inevitable, the pandemic has simply speeded the rate of change up. Matters such as changes to the office environment, flexible working, mobility, trust and empowerment have all come to the fore and it has been critical to deal with. At Langleys we are embracing these, changes are not just for the duration of the pandemic, I don’t want to see people arriving at work again stressed following a tortuous commute for example. We will certainly retain a blend of homeworking and office working but are also just about to roll out our full flexible working policy which includes core hour working. On our return to the office it will become more of a centre of collaboration.
What qualities do you look for in potential candidates hoping to join Langleys?
They must be a team player, be able to get on with people and be respectful of others, rough edges and egos don’t work well here.
What do you look for when recruiting candidates for training contracts?
We are looking for fully rounded people, and I am very interested in those with non-law degrees. We need to see some spark and I like people who have lived a bit.
What is your “vision for the future” for Langleys?
Watch this space, we are rolling this out in the new financial year but people will be at the heart of it.
The Future Of The Legal Profession
When is the right time to start building your network and how is best to achieve this?
Day 1, you really can’t start too early and we certainly live by that at Langleys. Even if the people who you are networking with now can’t yet determine who the work is sent to, they will probably be able to later! If you build and nourish your network it will serve you well.
How do you see the legal profession changing as a result of COVID-19? Do you see this being a positive step for the legal profession?
Positively there will be much more flexibility. It will allow people to genuinely have more balance in their lives. We do need to ensure that the delivery is still there for the clients and that people are supported just as well as if they’d been in the office 5 days a week, so how that flexibility manifests itself could differ depending upon work type, team and client requirements.
Our use of technology has also moved forward as a result of the pandemic and this is definitely a good thing; paper will be a thing of the past for example.
What obstacles do law firms need to overcome in order to succeed in today’s environment and beyond?
With a new normal post pandemic firms really need to be able to trust their staff, this is critical to a positive working environment. We need to ensure that there is ease of connectivity and communication with clients and staff to ensure that the work is done effectively but also to make sure that people feel bonded to the practice despite spending more time apart.
What technology do you anticipate will revolutionise the industry by 2025?
I don’t think it’s so much of a revolution, more a matter of how we use technology, after all Al has been around for years but still isn’t particularly widely used within the legal sector. We need to keep assessing what’s available and work hard to utilise technology, particularly technology that enhances the clients experience for example by making it easier for clients to engage and for us to on board them. As a consequence of technology we are becoming more paper light and homeworking has been much more successful, we need to keep under review the options that are available and ensure that we are utilising them for the benefit of our clients, the firm and the people within it.