By Legal Futures Associate Quill
Eve Lake has grown from a law firm start up in 2019 to team-of-eight with further expansion ahead in 2022. She shared her success story in Quill’s ‘Starting a law firm: Lessons to survive your first year’ webinar.
Eve’s biography is an opportunity for budding entrepreneurs to gather inspiration for their own potential law firm launch plans. Read what law firm owner, working mum and conveyancing specialist Eve has to say about law school, working for large corporates, and finally setting up her own practice using Quill’s legal accounts software and outsourced cashiering service…
Following graduation from law school, Eve spent 14+ years working for large corporate legal practices. During these tenures, she qualified as a licensed conveyancer, and in will writing and probate administration.
“My two past employers were commercial national organisations,” explains Eve. “I progressed as far as I could. Leaving to set up my own business seemed like the logical step. It’s what I’d always aspired to do. I wanted to move away from the red-tape environment to create a smaller enterprise offering a more personal service. Eve Lake Conveyancing & Legal Services was born.”
To achieve her ambition, Eve commenced her start-up journey by following procedures and choosing solutions to begin, manage and grow her business.
Gaining CLC approval
Conveyancing practitioner Eve secured approval from the Council for Licensed Conveyancers (CLC) – a process which took over twelve months. During this time, Eve put her back-office infrastructure in place comprising Quill’s legal accounts software and outsourced cashiering service.
“I’m a member of the Society of Licensed Conveyancers, Society of Will Writers and Commissioner of Oaths,” adds Eve. “Which means I can do conveyancing work with my eyes closed. What I wasn’t prepared for, however, was the mammoth challenge of securing my CLC licence. I used external consultants to get there quicker but it still took from May 2018 to June 2019.
“I used this waiting time wisely to get my software and outsourcing services in situ. With the help of an IT consultant, we quickly saw Quill’s legal accounts solution as a sound option. I loved the idea of having an outsourced legal cashier to handle my accounts, so it made sense for us to turn to Quill for both – software and cashiering service support – to manage client monies.”
Eve’s law firm evolved necessarily during lockdown and has experienced its biggest growth in the eighteen months since lockdown restrictions were lifted.
“Prior to Covid-19, we performed anti-money laundering checks the old-fashioned way, using paper documents,” says Eve. “The risk of fraud increased and the ability to meet clients face-to-face removed altogether when the pandemic arrived. To overcome this problem, we switched to online AML checks – one of Quill’s available boosts. We also now use e-signatures as another paperless-working solution.
“The enforced restrictions in the conveyancing space in lockdown first hit my law firm hard but we adapted and weathered the storm. Thanks to the stamp duty holiday, we’ve expanded to become bigger and better than ever.”
The road ahead
Eve concludes by reflecting on the future: “At Eve Lake Conveyancing, we’re always learning and adapting to marketplace and other external or internal factors. We pride ourselves on being agile and, after Covid, we’re ready for whatever the next bump in the road may be. We intend to continue growing whilst maintaining our personal approach, and we envisage wills and probate as our next growth area. With Quill behind us, we’re extremely excited about what the future holds.”
Quill’s ‘Starting a law firm: Lessons to survive your first year’ webinar was delivered by an all-female panel of legal professionals from a range of backgrounds, providing invaluable hands-on tips and advice on starting a legal practice from scratch, from those who have gone on to ‘do it alone’ and launch their start up successfully. Originally broadcast in March, watch the webinar on demand at www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNY6g6_dLd0 and download Quill’s complementary ‘15-Step Guide to Starting Your Own Law Firm’ e-book at www.quill.co.uk/resources/how-to-start-my-own-law-firm.