Celebrating International Women’s Day 2018
In celebration of IWD 2018 and to promote positive visibility of women, here is a peek into a day in the life of Hillyer McKeown’s Group Managing Partner, Lindsey Kidd.
There isn’t a typical working day for me.
That’s as much down to my husband working a 16 week shift pattern as it is about the various tasks and responsibilities in the workplace. The whole work/home eco balance is complex and requires very careful management. The rule is, if it’s not written on the calendar on the fridge, it’s not happening! Throw two energy filled toddler sons into the mix and you can begin to see the juggling act that each day represents for me.
As Group Managing Partner, I am ultimately responsible for overseeing the ongoing development and delivery of our strategic growth plan – at the heart of this are our legal services.
Let the day begin …
My morning routine is fast and furious; I can turn myself round from bed to driver’s seat in 23 minutes if needed! Before I leave for work there will be household stuff such as emptying the dishwasher, sorting the dog and getting the kids ready. My husband’s parents live close by and help out with childcare and nursery runs; their help is invaluable. We live in Shropshire, an hour’s commute each way to our office in Chester, and slightly longer to our Wirral, North Wales and Liverpool offices. The time in the car is great to plan the day ahead and catch up on business calls (hands free of course!)
My role within the business …
I like to arrive at the office around 7.30am and have breakfast at my desk, which can be anything from porridge and blueberries on a good day, a bacon butty on a naughty day or even chocolate biscuits on a bad day.
I ensure the law firm continues to shine and support our clients by offering a full service delivered by the right people with the right skills. Our ABS status (Alternative Business Structure) means we are not tied to traditional working practices and have been able to continually grow the business. Our client centric approach and commitment to unrivalled client service has been key to this success.
As a Group, we have differentiated ourselves by offering a growing portfolio of non-legal services; the main player is our SME management consultancy arm. This results in clients relying on us as trusted business advisers who provide added value services beyond legal delivery.
My journey to the position of Group Managing Partner has involved 10 years as a time served employment lawyer with a large Liverpool practice, then a move to Hillyer McKeown in 2007. Ostensibly this was for a fresh challenge and to be a bigger fish in a smaller pond, rather than a cog in a large corporate machine but it was also to achieve a better work / life balance.
I became a Partner in 2009 and was invited to join the equity team in 2012, the same year that our first son was born. Our second son arrived in 2014, around the same time that I increased my equity share in the firm. I made the move to Group Managing Partner in summer last year.
54% of our Partners are women … compared to the law firm average of 33%*
Most days contain a blend of strategic, operational and client work. This can be anything from looking at marketing ROI, financial disciplines, improvement initiatives, and team structures to compliance requirements across the firm.
Lunch is sometimes taken at my desk, although we do have break out areas in each office to encourage people to socialise and take a break. I try to get out at lunch for some fresh air and to satiate my ridiculous shopping habit for things I don’t need.
Whilst a lot of my role involves leading people and projects within the business, I am also kept busy with externally focussed activity. This includes meetings with the Bank and other stakeholders and engaging with key clients and referrers. I view myself as fortunate to still carry out work in my specialist areas for a select group of clients. This is also important from an operational level; it enables me to continue to fully understand the evolving demands of a lawyer’s role and provide informed input on process improvements and resourcing.
One thing I love about Hillyer McKeown is that everyone has a voice; part of my role includes encouraging new initiatives. As one of our values is ‘innovate’, we provide a platform for people to explore new ideas. We have launched a number of initiatives and projects created and delivered by our people. I also encourage team collaboration and was proud when our firm was Highly Commended in last year’s Law Society Excellence Awards for our National Apprenticeship Week campaign.
As a relatively small business (circa 90 staff) we have set ourselves apart from the larger firms – we can offer more flexibility and are able to react to changes quickly.
I would describe my style as inclusive and collaborative. My drivers are people and business performance and, whilst I encourage input from a variety of internal and external sources, ultimately I aim to make decisions based on the criteria of ‘what is best for the business’.
It’s been a delight to be part of a business which operates, succeeds and grows by being a meritocracy. I have found that being a woman with a young family has not been a barrier to becoming successful at the highest level within our business – the door is open. As long as we can continue to manage our business effectively and deliver on our promise of unrivalled client service, we are very flexible where we can be. We understand that women (and men) may need or want to work flexibly, particularly at a senior level and this is where we differ from the industry norm.
47% of our female staff benefit from formal flexible working arrangements
As the day closes …
If there are no evening work commitments, the day wraps up for me between 5pm and 6pm. I will usually be back on line for an hour or so after the bedtime routine with the kids. This involves me bringing the highest level of negotiation skills to the fore to successfully persuade the boys into their beds and, depending on who has the most resilience and energy left (usually the boys!) it could mean we either read two or seven bedtime stories … I tend to find that it’s like a game of snakes and ladders; one wrong move and you’re right back to the beginning!
I’d love to say that outside of work its all yoga, spinning classes, art appreciation and language classes. The reality is that my exercise regime begins and ends at walking our dog, Woody, and the closest I get to mindfulness is concentrating on the intricacies of building the 248 piece Marvel Avenger Lego Hulk Buster with the kids.
After battle and gameplay to get the boys into bed (and to stay there), it’s then a two hour window of trying to keep on top of the housework, making dinner, dealing with urgent emails and a quick binge on the latest box set (or Emmerdale on catch up … don’t judge me), then a half cocked skin care regime before I fall into bed to recharge my batteries before it starts all over again the following day.
How we support women in the workplace
59% of our lawyers are women … compared to the law firm average of 47%*
We encourage positive visibility of women
54% of our Partners are women … compared to the law firm average of 33%*
We celebrate womens’ achievements
47% of our female staff work flexibly
*SLA Diversity Data 2018
Quotes inspired by IWD2018
If you want to know more about Lindsey’s commercial and employment law expertise please view her profile.
Or visit the IWD website