Hannah is a property partner at Gunnercooke LLP where she specialises in both commercial and personal property matters working for innovative investors and develops.
Since 2016, Hannah has worked as a coach and trainer to the legal profession speaking out on areas such as mental health and happiness in law and now has a number of resources relating to this on her Authentically Speaking website.
Hannah is also the founder of the Lawyers Business Mastermind Group for legal business owners, self employed lawyers and consultants which provides a platform for entrepreneurial lawyers to grow!
In this episode, we discuss the following:
- The role of the property partner
- Hannah’s experiences and journey into the world of business ownership
- The resources available in her website ‘Authentically Speaking’
- Hannah’s advice for running multiple businesses
- What Hannah’s podcast ‘Build Your Legal Business’ is all about
Here are 3 reasons why you should listen to the full episode:
- Learn about the role of a property partner.
- Resources on the ‘Authentically Speaking’ website.
- Hannah’s advice for running multiple businesses.
- Gunnercooke LLP
- Authentically Speaking
- Lawyers Business Mastermind Group
- Build Your Legal Business Podcast
- DAC Beachcroft LLP
- Gain exclusive benefits and bonus content by signing up on Legally Speaking Podcast’s Patreon page!
Hannah’s family background and upbringing:
- Hannah was born in Cambridge.
- This is where her parents and extended family live.
- Hannah has a big family with 54 first cousins.
- Hannah was brought up in Cambridge until 10-11 years old.
- She moved to Lancashire and did not like it.
- Hannah missed her friends, family and had a different accent.
- This is how she came to do public speaking, talking about authenticity and being who we really are.
- Hannah went to the University of Manchester to study law.
- She stayed in Manchester at the start of her legal career, starting at DAC Beachcroft LLP.
- Hannah trained at DAC Beachcroft LLP, spending a year.
- She then moved to Eversheds for 5 years. This is where she met her husband and had their 1st
- Hannah decided to leave because she could not do the hours required and commute with the family life she wanted.
- 6 months later, Hannah was self-employed and she still does this now.
Wanting to become a lawyer:
- Hannah was 13 when she decided she wanted to become a lawyer.
- She had a careers event at school.
- She wanted a desk, briefcase and an office.
- Hannah thought she could make decent money in a clean office, hence became a lawyer.
What does the role of a property lawyer at Gunnercooke entail?:
- Hannah started at Gunnercooke 10 years ago.
- She was an early adopter, when there were 5 or 6 partners.
- It is a new model.
- There were not many self-employed law firms around at the time.
- Hannah had a coffee with Sarah, the founder, explaining to Hannah she would work whatever hours she wanted do; she could work from home and do as many leases.
- Hannah said this was her dream job – working from home and being a mum.
- When leaving Eversheds, Hannah thought she would never be a lawyer again.
- In the summer, she took an associate who works with her, because she knew by the end of the year, she would not have time to do property work – since the training and coaching took off.
Getting into the world of business ownership and working for Gunnercooke:
- Hannah always wanted to have her own business.
- When she left Eversheds, she set up a children’s organic clothing business.
- She had the money, from her maternity bonus and set up online.
- She bought an expensive sewing machine because she loved sewing as a child.
- This was her 1st attempt at business ownership.
- Being self-employed and having her own business was always on the cards for Hannah.
- It has taken training, coaching, investment, time, money and business risk to set up her business.
- Starting her business whilst at Gunnercooke did not cost Hannah any upfront costs – she just started it, making an income.
Hannah’s inspiration behind coaching and training:
- Hannah needed lots of coaching and mentoring herself.
- There was a point, 3 years into her business where she was almost burnt out.
- Hannah got a coach, mentor, started going along to events and meeting different business people.
- This was to help her get out of a rut.
- In April 2016, at Barclays, they had a speaker who has a coach, he was speaking to a room full of lawyers and what he was saying was amazing.
- Already in the coaching world, Hannah loved all things personal development.
- Hannah wanted to bridge the gap between coaching and personal development – because she has got her foot in both worlds.
Why is it important for a coach to have a coach? Why does Hannah have a coach?:
- Starting your own business, it not an easy transition – when you already make good money and spend time with family.
- Hannah believes with coaching; it is about authenticity – a personal and business value.
- When Hannah was struggling, she could not coach people, because she could not authentically support and encourage other people, whilst not in a great place herself.
- During the pandemic, Hannah went out for more support from her business groups.
- It is about knowing where to go to get help.
- What is important to Hannah, as a coach supporting other people, she needs an outlet.
- Coaching is to have some form of supervision.
- Coaches need support.
Asking for help:
- When struggling or losing motivation, the 1st thing Hannah does is decide what coach she needs.
- Hannah says she used to be a superwoman, independent, refusing for help – but she now changed and asks for help.
‘Authentically Speaking’ – the platform and resources:
- One of Hannah’s early mentors disliked the name ‘Authentically Speaking’.
- They said she needed something that did what it said on the tin.
- Now, it has grown into something people recognise.
- The name came from Hannah’s idea of setting up the business, finding herself authentically and finding her voice.
- It is also to encourage lawyers to find who they authentically are and to speak with that voice.
- This includes speaking up for what they want – mental health, well-being, promotions, pay rises, conditions, treatment or flexible working.
- Now, Authentically Speaking is training.
- There’s a section on the website for law firms, because this is where Hannah spends time doing training for lawyers.
- For lawyers independently, there is a coaching and training section.
- The newest part it the Lawyers Business Mastermind, coaching and consulting work.
- This is what Hannah does for legal businesses.
Why coaching and stress management is needed within the legal profession?:
- The mindset in the legal profession can be damaging – it stops people from growing.
- The legal culture is old, traditional – still very male driven.
- The legal profession is a job, if you do not enjoy it, leave – this has resulted in lots of lawyers leaving.
- Often, there can be very little enjoyment.
Stress, well-being and performance in the legal profession:
- Well-being support in law firms has recently increased.
- The bigger question is how effective is the well-being support that’s being provided.
- Law firms should not prove a one size fits all for people, well-being is personal.
- There is a need for a personalised approach.
- Junior lawyers in firms have resources and webinars at lunchtimes.
- However, if line managers or bosses are not logging off, going to these resources, then the junior lawyers will not.
- The problem is not getting to the people who need support the most.
Advice for running a business and having a family:
- When Hannah has felt trapped, not loving what she does – she has to change this.
- Hannah collaborates with lots of different people from her business groups and has exciting plans.
- It is important to Hannah to be there for her children and be a role model.
- What is for everyone, is Hannah coaching and training – finding out what she loves about her career.
- Stop seeing this tunnel vision of fear.
- It does not always mean a career change – but remembering who you were.
Build Your Legal Business Podcast:
- The podcast is aimed at legal business owners or those who aspire to be.
- It could be sole practitioners, consultants or small legal business owners.
- This comes from the business support Hannah has had.
- Hannah has always been part of business masterminds and attributes her success to them.
- They have support, encouraging and have fresh ideas.
- Hannah wants her business to replicate this.
- The podcast is a way into the world, to connect with other people doing the same things
- The podcast is chance for Hannah to share thoughts from her journey, with guests – inspiring listeners.
- Hannah and the guests discuss what they wish they had known when setting up their business and avoiding mistakes.
5 powerful quotes from this episode:
- “….it’s knowing where to go to get help”.
- “You meet these people, these wonderful people that inspire you, support you, you can pick up the phone to them at any time and say I need help with this”.
- “…stop seeing this tunnel vision of fear…”.
- “you’ve just got to love being a business owner and growing a business. And I think that’s, that’s where I am”.
- “What I found is when I was struggling, I couldn’t coach people, because how can I authentically support and encourage other people when I’m not in a great place myself?”.
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To learning more about the exciting world of law, Robert Hanna and the Legally Speaking Podcast Team.
00:01 Rob Hanna:
Welcome to the Legally Speaking Podcast. I’m your host Rob Hanna. Today I’m delighted to be joined by Hannah Beko. Hannah is a property partner at Gunnercooke LLP, where she specializes in both commercial and personal property matters working for innovative investors and developers. Since 2016, Hannah has worked as a coach and trainer to the legal profession, speaking out on areas such as mental health and happiness in the law, and now has a number of resources relating to her own platform, Authentically Speaking Website. Hannah is also the founder of the lawyers Business Mastermind Group for legal business owners, self-employed lawyers, consultants, which provides a platform for entrepreneur real lawyers to grow. If this wasn’t impressive enough, since the start of this year, Hannah has also started our own podcast, Build Your Legal Business aimed at lawyers who want to scale out without burning out. So a very, very big welcome, Hannah.
01:01 Hanna Beko:
Oh, thank you, Rob, thank you so much, I thought you weren’t going to stop and take a breath there.
01:07 Robert Hanna:
I know there’s so much to go through. And it’s a testament to all that you’ve achieved throughout your legal career to date. So before we start, we do have our customary icebreaker question here on the Legally Speaking Podcast, which is on a scale of one to 1-10 being very real, how real would you rate the reality hits theory suits in terms of reality?
01:30 Hannah Beko:
I think I’d give it about six because it shows it as a high pressured, long hour environment, very competitive, people are always trying to move up the ladder. And in that respect, I think it’s quite accurate. But of course, in many others, it is not.
01:44 Robert Hanna:
Indeed, indeed, I think six is a fair comment. So let’s start at the beginning. Then, tell us a little bit about your family background and upbringing.
01:54 Hannah Beko:
Oh, one interesting question. I don’t know if I’ve been asked that before. And I know we only have a short time. So I’ll try and keep it fairly potted history. But I was born in Cambridge, my parents, all from that area, the Cambridge area. That’s where all my extended family live. And I was brought up there until I was about 10 or 11. And then very traumatically. For me, I was moved away from all my family. I have lived with a very big family. I’ve got 54 first cousins as an example. Yes, families very, very big. Now, I wasn’t close with all of them. But I was close with a number of them and to be moved at that age of nine and 10 was actually very traumatic for me. We moved 200 miles up to Lancashire. And I didn’t like it at all. And I fought my parents for probably five years or so to beat to move back down south. And not only did I miss all my friends and family, but I obviously spoke completely differently if you can imagine southern accent, going to school in Wigan in Lancashire, it was not popular. So a lot of and you see some of this in my story that I share actually about how I’ve come to do a lot of public speaking and why I talk all about authenticity and being who we really are. But it’s a journey to remember who we are. Because so much of what I was like as a child was changed by that experience by being moved that far and speaking differently to everybody else and everything that went along with that. So that was interesting, I suppose. Yeah, the traumatic and interesting part of my childhood. Then I stayed in the Northwest actually, despite spending years trying to get back down south. I did stay in the Northwest. I went to university at Manchester to do law. And then I stayed in Manchester to start my legal career, which I started at Beechcraft ones Bruce at the time. And for those perfectionist attention to detail type lawyers of which I’m not one and I do make that clear to people. And I managed to spell Beechcraft wrong all the way through my application form. And they still gave me interviews and still gave me a job. So it’s not the end of the world when we get things wrong, that I trained and that I spent a year there. Then I moved across to Eversheds and did five years there where I met my husband, and we had our first son while I was still at Evershileds. And then I left because I decided that at that time, which was 10 years ago now, I couldn’t do the hours and the days that were required and commute with the family life that we wanted. We lived by there now in Cheshire and Mr. Crossfield, and it’s quite long commute into Manchester. And then you know, the baby was the last on the doorstep at six o’clock and my stress levels were going through the roof. And looking back I actually didn’t want to stay anyway, it was an excuse having the baby and having the family was an excuse to get out. And then six months later, I found myself self-employed, which takes us up to 10 years ago, and that’s what I’m still doing now.
04:55 Robert Hanna:
Excellent. And yeah, I can really relate when you’re talking about the Northwest’s that my in-laws are from I live in St. John’s. I’m fairly familiar with Lancashire in that part of the world. So yeah, and I definitely know what you mean when it comes to the accent. As well as there’s a contrast between the North and the South. That’s for sure. So I guess you’ve talked a little bit there about your career. But let’s go back a little bit. Did you always want to be a lawyer?
05:17 Hannah Beko:
Yes, I did. You know, I was at a conference on Friday, and one of the speakers said, what did you want to be at 12. And that was pushing it a tiny bit. I know, it was 13, because we had one of these careers events at school, you know, they make you type things into a computer, and then it spits out what it is that you should do as a career. Brilliant idea. I love that, as a recruiter, we’re just typing a few things into it. There you go. That’s what you should do. So I should have been a politician or a doctor, or a third one that I can’t remember. And so my teachers told me, and I just remember saying at the time, now, I’m going to be a lawyer. And the only reason for that, Rob, and I think you’ll appreciate that was I didn’t want to be a doctor. It was too messy and sick people and blurred and things like that. Now, I wanted a desk, and a briefcase and an office. And I thought I could make decent money in a clean job. That’s why I became a lawyer.
06:13 Rob Hanna:
Do you OECD clean free can be really relating today. So Okay, that’s fair enough. But I like that analogy and how it sort of came to be and we let’s talk about the present day, then because you currently are a property partner at Gunnercooke. Can you tell us a bit more about what your role encompasses there?
06:32 Hannah Beko:
Well, this has been a really interesting journey, actually, to get to where I am today, which I’m so proud of, and so pleased with where I am today. So I started with going to cook 10 years ago in February. So not far off my anniversary, I was one of the early adopters, there were five or six partners there when I joined, not the 250, 260. There is now and it was a new model. There weren’t many of the self-employed law firms around at the time, I certainly haven’t come across any, it was just potluck that I ended up having a coffee with Sarah, the founder, she said to me, you can work with whatever hours you want, you can work from home, you can do as many leases and things like that as you want. And I just said to her, that’s my dream job, you know, I get to be a mom, I can work from home, I can still keep my hand in because it was quite hard. As I say hard. As easy as the decision was to leave Evershede. The hard part was I thought that I was never going to be a lawyer again. And what I’ve always wanted and how hard I’d worked, it felt like a loss, you know, like, like grief. And so it just gave me that chance to still be a lawyer again, but when I wanted to and how I wanted to. And it started off very gently. And you know, I wasn’t setting anything on fire. And I wasn’t making tons of money. But I was still a lawyer and I was proud of that. But over the coming sort of two or three years, it really ramped up because I am an ambitious person. And I do work pretty hard when I enjoy something. And so within three years, I built this quite big business I was earning more than my husband was as a partner at a law firm. But I was working all the hours and things like that. So then I realized that that wasn’t what I wanted, either. I didn’t want to just be working all these hours, even though it was a great business. So that’s when I had to sort of pivot it and change it. And it’s had lots of changes over the 10 years to where I’ve got to now, which I do love. And again, there has been at least two times where I thought my going to give it up and walk away. But I’m so glad I haven’t. And to the latest, which was in the summer, I took on an associate who works with me, because by the end of this year, I knew I wouldn’t have time to do any more property work because the training and the coaching has taken off so hugely, which is fantastic. And I love it, that I wouldn’t have had time to keep running that property business and being in it. Even though I’ve been down to half the week for the last couple of years, I just wouldn’t have been able to do it. But now that I’ve grown my team a bit and there’s somebody fantastic there to look after things for me, the sky’s the limit. We’re going to look for somebody else next year. Oh,
08:57 Robert Hanna:
Exciting. Wishing you lots of success with that. And I guess that segues quite nicely because you have so many things you give back to the legal community in a number of different ways. But what made you get into the world of business ownership? Was it working for a firm like Gunnercooke? Or was it something else?
09:14 Hannah Beko:
I think I’d always wanted to have my own business because, again, it is part of my story that you hear sometimes the first thing I did when I left Eversheds was set up a children’s organic clothes business. So all the money that I’ve made as my maternity bonus and all that sort of thing got plowed into setting up this online, baby grow business. So that all got wasted pretty much. You know, it was fun. I bought an expensive sewing machine because again, I’d heard go back to what you loved as a child and I loved sewing as a child. So that’s that was the first attempt I had a business ownership. Now, you can’t really earn as much on your own sewing clothes as you can as a lawyer. And I think I realized that quite quickly. So I think being self-employed and having my own business was always on the cards for me. And I was desperately looking for the right thing. And I did the wrong thing the first time, but then I’m Gunnercooke came along, yes, it was a chance to start having my own business, but actually in quite a risk free-way. I mean, when I look at what it’s taken to set up my second business, the training and coaching, a lot of investment, a lot of time, a lot of money, a lot of training, there was a lot of risk with that business. Whereas with the Gunnercooke, one there wasn’t because it didn’t have any upfront cost for me, I just started it. And then everything that I made was income. So it was a great place to start. And yes, I think that was the that was the start of realizing that yeah, I’m an entrepreneur, I like owning businesses. And I say this often to my husband, because he always says, when are you going to stop? And when are you going to stop starting new things. And it’s not that any of the one things is the thing, and I think you’ll get this Rob is my business coach says it’s about loving business, you’ve just got to love being a business owner and growing business. And I think that’s, that’s where I am. Yeah, and I
11:01 Robert Hanna:
Love that. And I love the fact that you know, you have the entrepreneurial flair, the skill set, and as well as the sort of legal I think it’s a really great combination, I encourage so many people to think like, like you, because that’s the way that people are gonna be so successful in terms of delivering legal services over the generations to come, which I’m excited about. And I know we both share a mission and vision around that. So we’ve both touched on, you know, in 2016, you branched out into coaching, consulting, training, doing a wonderful job of it, I have to say, but what inspired you to do this? What was that sort of aha moment?
11:33 Hannah Beko:
So I needed a lot of coaching and mentoring myself, when I reached the point sort of three years into my business where I was almost burnt out, and I didn’t want to do it anymore. And I thought, what’s the next step for me? So I went and got a coach and got a mentor and started having a lot of coaching and going along to events and meeting different business people. And really, it was all for me personally, at the time, it was to help me get out of this rut that I’d got stuck into where I didn’t like my business anymore. But what else could I do when we were used to the money by then we bought bigger house and new cars and going on nice holidays. And it wasn’t as if we wanted to just shut it all down and stop. That wasn’t what I wanted to do. But I needed to know what the next thing was. So I went out and got all this help for me. And then actually, there was an aha moment. And I don’t know if I’ve ever spoken about this before, but it was in April 2016. In Barclays, I don’t know if you know that if you’ve placed in the northwest, some of your listeners might know about it. Barclays do some amazing networking events. Hopefully, they’ll be coming back again soon. And they had a speaker who was a coach there. Yeah. And he was speaking. And I was sitting in this room full of lawyers and bankers and looking around and I thought what he was saying was amazing. So I was in the coaching world by then and loved all things, personal development. But I could see the blank looks on their faces, like what is this guy talking about? This guy doesn’t know us, he might have left his career, and now has this wonderful life. But that’s not us that that won’t work for us. And I just sat there looking around and thought that’s what I’m gonna do. I’m the bridge between this coaching world, this personal development that I know is amazing. And these lawyers who don’t know it, you know, but I can be that that joining place, if you like, because I’ve got a foot in both worlds.
13:16 Robert Hanna:
Yeah. Now. And I love that. And I love this sort of intertwine. And so you mentioned your coach, and I think this is a really important point. Why is it important for a coach to have a coach because certain people have the stigma around? Where you’re a coach, you know, why do you have to have your own coach, but you know, you and I could know completely different? So why do you have a coach? And why do you think it is important for coaches to have coaches and even more so because of the pandemic? You know, a lot of people have turned to well, I’ve coach and I’ve moved into coaching, and obviously, you’ve been doing this way before the pandemic, and you know, people think it might just be an easy way to transition. So yeah, share your thoughts around that. And those three questions in one.
13:51 Hannah Beko:
It’s not easy. It’s not an easy journey at all the amount of times that my husband in particular said over the last five or six years, what are you doing, you had a perfectly good legal business really good business that you were good at? And it was making good money? Why are you now risking everything with the investment and the time and the time away from the family to do something that you don’t know if it’s gonna work, I mean, I’m thrilled by the way that it is working as well as it is now. But there were times when we didn’t know that. So it’s not an easy transition at all. And one of the things I really believe in with coaching and you know how important authenticity is, to me, it’s a personal and a business value. It’s in the name because it’s so important. What I found is when I was struggling, I couldn’t coach people, because how can I authentically support and encourage other people when I’m not in a great place myself? Now I’ve tweaked that a little bit, especially over the pandemic because it’s not been easy for any of us, you know, someone as someone who got stress under control years ago, my stress levels rose in the pandemic, they absolutely did and I had to step up all the things that I do to look after myself. I had to go out and get more coaching support, more support from My business groups. And I think that’s the important thing is not that we’re perfect. It’s not that we’ve got it right. It’s not that we’ve got all the answers. And for a while, I thought that’s what it was about when I first started coaching. And as I stepped away from it for a while when I thought, but I don’t have the answers, how can I coach people, when I thought I had the answers, but when everything goes wrong, I fall apart to I don’t have the answers. And then I realized, it’s not that it’s not about that it’s knowing where to go to get that help. And I do. And that’s why it’s important for I think all of us need coaches. But if we are supporting other people in the way that we are, we need an outlet. It’s just like when you think about counseling, which existed, obviously, a long time before coaching, they always needed supervision, they always needed someone to go to. And I think the next iteration of coaching is to have some form of supervision, which I’m actually getting from next year, and maybe that’s an area I’ll go into in the future. But coaches need support, they definitely do. And so I think it, it is an important area to ask about. Because if you’re putting that investment in that time and that trust into someone, are they still doing all the continuous development or continuous training and learning and investing? If they believe in coaching? Are they investing in a coach of their own? That’s what you have to ask.
16:13 Robert Hanna:
Yeah, and I love that answer. And thank you so much for sharing that I always say to people, asking for help is a superpower, not a weakness. And I think a lot of people are suffering in silence because they feel that it’s a sign of weakness, or I’m a lesser lawyer, or I’m not as capable of doing this. And I can dream of answering asking that because I should know it already. You don’t know what you don’t know. And you know, it is a case of you know, be the superpower go out there. Ask for help. And I think that’s where you do a wonderful job of helping people do
16:41 Hannah Beko:
That. Oh, thank you, Rob, if I might jump in there really quickly to say I agree with you. And that’s exactly what I do. When I feel I’m struggling. I’m losing motivation. I don’t know what the direction of the business is. The first thing I do is literally say, right, which coach do I need? And I’ve been able to work with some amazing ones over the years and I go to different ones for different things. I’m excited to see one of them again in December that I’ve not seen for a while. Because when I need that help, that’s the first thing I do now and I used to be the Superwoman, the independent I was on my knees, refusing to ask for help. I was exactly that person, you know, farming background, we’re stoic, we just get on with it. No stiff upper lip, I grew up with that I was that person. But you can change and now I’m that person, right? I need help with this. Where do I go? And I’m there booking and getting on with it.
17:28 Robert Hanna:
And that’s the power of having the right mindset. You know, that open mindset, that willingness to want to learn that ability to go out there and ask for it is a superpower. So yeah, I think people listening in, take heed coaches need coaches, we all need development, I have my own mentors, my own network. And that’s why we always bang on about the show about the importance of growing your networks, having the right people in your networks to help you throughout your career. So let’s talk more than about authentically speaking, which I’m a big fan of. So tell us how that was born and the resources that that platform provides.
18:01 Hannah Beko:
So how that was born. I remember one of my early mentors. In fact, two of them, I was in a Business Mastermind with them in 2016. And they hated ‘Authentically Speaking’ the name. I mean, they tried so hard to persuade me to go away from that name. They said I needed something that did what it said on the tin, you know, coaching lawyers or something like that. And I stuck with it. And over the years, I didn’t worry a few times, but I thought no, and it has grown into something that people recognize. And I’m happy with that. So it came from the idea that in setting up, I found myself authentically and I found my voice as someone who lost their voice because of the bullying because people didn’t like the way I spoke, I stopped speaking I mean literally for an 18 month period at school children were told not to talk to me. So no one spoke to me for 18 months. So I had no voice. And then I didn’t know what my voice was, I didn’t know who I was for a lot of years. And so a part of the name the authentic was speaking is about me coming back to who I am and speaking. But then the other flip side of it is encouraging my lawyers to find who they authentically are. And to speak with that voice. It doesn’t necessarily mean getting up on a stage and speaking and doing the things that I love to do. But just speaking up for what they want, you know, as you’ve said in the introduction, about mental health and well-being and about promotions and about pay raises and about conditions and treatment and flexible working, speak up and ask for what you need and what you want. So that’s where the name if you like came from authentically speaking and what it does. Again, it’s changed over the years as to what it does, but now fundamentally, it is training and so there’s a section on the website for law firms because that’s where I spend a lot of my time doing now is training inside law firms for the lawyers and coaching as well. And then for lawyers independently there’s a coaching and training sort of section as well. And then I suppose the biggest new bit of it, as you’ve mentioned is the lawyers Business Mastermind and the coaching and consulting work. Because I do now for legal businesses, which is really exciting and something I love.
20:05 Robert Hanna:
And there’s a lot of work to do. And you know, I love that you’re doing all of this. So you’ve touched on a few of the points, but just dig a bit deeper. Why do you feel that coaching, stress management, etc., is needed within the legal profession?
20:19 Hanna Beko:
I think it’s because of the mindset that we’ve all had that is quite damaging, and stops us from growing. There’s been, I mean, the legal culture is very old, it’s been around for a long time, it’s very traditional, yes, it’s still very male driven, but that this isn’t a male female argument that I’m about to make, because I work with a lot of male clients. And even those male clients don’t fit into this old mold of, you know, the black pinstripe suits and that sort of thing. So we are changed as people in the industry, I think we are not what it was 30, 40, 50 years ago, but then so much hasn’t changed, there is still a stiff upper lip and just get on with it. And this is the job if you don’t like it, get out, if you can’t cope with it get out. And the people we’re losing as a result of that. And the lives that are just gonna sound a bit deep, but the lives that half live. I mean, these are mediocre lives. People are leading to sound a bit too, you know, melodramatic, but they’re going to work. They’re trying to earn enough money to pay for their mortgage, and let’s hope holidays come next year. But there’s nothing else in it for them. They’re just there’s very little enjoyment. There’s very little enthusiasm, there’s very little excitement. Everything about my business is excites me now. And I don’t see that with other lawyers. So I think I’ve probably gone completely off paste and forgotten what your
21:42 Robert Hanna:
Job was. Yeah, you’re absolutely right, because you’re touching on why it’s needed within the legal profession. And I guess that knight nicely on to my next question about, you know, how do you see well-being in the legal industry particularly pressured and stressful? And how do you think this linked to performance?
21:59 Hannah Beko:
So this is a really timely question. I’ve just been posting something with somebody on LinkedIn about this today, because there’s been a recent another recent survey that says wellbeing support in firms isn’t too bad. It’s gone up in their percentages in surveys, that there is wellbeing support being offered. But I think the wrong question is being asked, if you’re asked is well-being support being provided, then most firms now are probably doing something, they might have a fruit bowl, they might have some yoga, online yoga, or meditation, they might have an online portal, there are firms that have spent millions on online portals for people to go on to. My question is, how effective is the wellbeing support that’s being provided? How many people are accessing it, because there aren’t many, and the ones that really need to access it are not accessing it. So how many people are accessing it, and you know, do some sort of wellbeing survey, there’s loads out there, I use one that the NHS uses, do that, at one point, provide them with some resources, and then do it again and see if it’s increased, you know, if their wellbeing scores have increased? There’s so many easy ways to get this right. And yeah, I don’t think it’s being used. I don’t think it’s right at all. I think they’re providing a one size fits all for people, whereas it is very personal. And even when I’m doing training with groups now, we might train on something but then someone’s got a question which I can then see as some sort of belief or mindset issue. And then I can talk to them about it. And they’re not just giving generic training, but I’m saying right, you’re stuck in this place. Why do you believe that? Why do you believe that? Why do you believe that and we get to where they’re coming from, and when we change that will change what they’re doing and the results they’re seeing. So you need this personalized approach to it. It isn’t just sit and watch a webinar. Now I’ve been guilty of that over the last five or six years, I’ve provided one off webinars, it is not my preferred way of supporting firms. Now, it takes a box to say that they’ve done something and it makes people think for half an hour. But does it change things long term? Now they need long term support. So I think there’s an interesting situation now with well, being in firms, I think there aren’t many firms that would deny it’s needed. And that an improvement in the last five or six years. But is enough being done quickly enough to save people effectively either from leaving or for burning out or from chronic stress. And no, it’s not.
24:19 Robert Hanna:
Yeah, really valuable points. And you know, the great resignation is real, the legal industry has been hit exceptionally hard. And always say value the person not the people, you know, and you’ve hit that point on the head. There is no broad stretch broach for all of this. You know, each individual has their own support, it needs to be bespoke, it needs to be around those because if you try and do everything and tick the box and just put things on portals or webinars, like you say that are so generic and non-tailored, then you’re still going to have people walking out of your door. So really value the person, not the people.
24:52 Hannah Beko:
Yes, absolutely. And the other problem is that they might put these things on for them, that they don’t even push their importance. So When you’ve got junior lawyers in firms that I know, and I work with them, they’ve got these resources, and they’ve got webinars that are on at lunchtime. But if their line managers and their bosses are not logging off and going to these resources, then the juniors are not going to. And those that are really struggling are really overwhelmed really, at chronic stress are not going to stop there fee earning work that they feel is what they really need to do to go and watch a webinar. Yeah. So that’s, that’s the problem as well is it’s not getting to the people that that it needs to get to.
25:29 Robert Hanna:
So true. So true. And you know, you’re an inspirational person, that’s for sure, Hannah. And you know, what is it like running multiple businesses together with, you know, running a family? What advice would you give to others who want to who wants to do it all? Like you? Oh,
25:46 Hannah Beko:
You know, it’s not for everybody to do what I do. And I know that I know about my husband says it frequently. He is an employed lawyer, and that’s what he wants to do. And that suits him in Sydney. It’s not for everyone. I, I am someone who even as a young child believed I could do whatever I wanted to do sounds because it doesn’t but it’s, it’s who I am. And it’s what I believed in. And I think every time I found myself feeling trapped, and feeling as though I don’t love what I’m doing, I have to change it. I know, I’ve got the capability. I know, now that I have the connections as you said, networks and connections have been a huge part of my journey over the last 10 years. And in business, you meet these people, these wonderful people that inspire you, support you, you can pick up the phone to them at any time and say I need help with this, or I need an introduction to such a body. I collaborate with lots of different people from my business groups and some exciting stuff coming up next year. And it’s, I think that’s for me, because it excites me, energizes me, I don’t feel like me if I don’t do those things. And this is where I found myself in lockdown. When all my training was stopped. Everything was put on hold, my stress levels went up. And I realized it was purely because I wasn’t doing what I love doing, I had to find a way to keep doing it. Because it is part of who I am. And yes, it does mean I don’t spend as much time at home or with my children as other people might want to do. But for me, it’s really important that I am who I’m supposed to be for my children and that role model. But it’s not for everyone. But what is for everyone, in my opinion, and this is what I coach and train on is trying to find what you do love yes about your career and about your work, if you can, that is not always possible. And a quick career switch. And change isn’t always possible at that moment. So I always say to people, how can you bring in what you love? I worked with one lady who she was sole breadwinner and a lawyer so she couldn’t leave. But her dream had always been to be a writer. So I said, well, on a Saturday afternoon, take a lovely brand new notebook and pen and go and sit in a coffee shop and be a writer, be a writer all Saturday afternoon, and who knows where that might take you. So what I want for everybody really, particularly in the legal profession and other professional services is to start seeing outside the box. Yeah, to stop seeing this tunnel vision of fear and in billing time recording, doing what my boss says doing what my clients say, and see what else? What else is out there. And it doesn’t always mean career change. It might just mean like it was for me remembering who you were. And bringing some of that in.
28:23 Robert Hanna:
Yeah, really, really good advice, Hannah. And I guess finally, before we wrap up, and as we mentioned, you have begun your podcast, Build Your Legal Business This Year. So tell us more about the podcast and why you decided to do it.
28:37 Hannah Beko:
So the build your legal business podcast is aimed at legal business owners or those who aspire to be. So as you’ve mentioned, it could be sole practitioners, it could be consultants, like myself, or it could be small legal business owners. And, again, a lot of this comes from the business support that I’ve had. And I’ve seen over the years, as I’ve built my businesses, I’ve always been part of business masterminds, and I honestly would not be where I am today. Without them, I wouldn’t have got through the pandemic, without them not with the business that has now exploded since without that support and encouragement and fresh ideas. And sometimes just hand holding while you cry, you know, whether it’s virtually or physically, I couldn’t have got to where I am without them. And I want my legal business community to have the same thing and to have the same support. And so the podcast is really a way into that world, a way to maybe connect with other people to meet other people doing the same thing. So we’re not working alone and in a silo because BLEEP you know, business ownership can be lonely sometimes. And a chance for me to share some of my thoughts from the journey, so many trainings, if you like and to bring some brilliant guests, inspiring people who will teach them about things that I wish I’d known in the first three or four years of running my business and I could have avoided a lot of mistakes and a lot of heartache.
29:57 Robert Hanna:
So true. So true. And you know, you’re such a wonderful A legal community builder, someone who genuinely cares and is so passionate about you, and what you’re trying to achieve which no doubt, you’re going to continue to do great things for the community. So if people want to follow you about anything we’ve discussed today or get in touch, what’s the best way for them to do that? Feel free to shout out any social media handles or website links, and we’ll also share them with this episode for you too.
30:21 Hannah Beko:
Oh, thank you, Rob. Well, probably the best place is still LinkedIn. That’s where I put most of my content and people can find me there. So Hannah Beko on LinkedIn. And I do also have the website authenticallyspeaking.co.uk. So there are some free resources that are there things like overwhelmed boundaries, you can find out more about the lawyers Business Mastermind. If you are involved in organizing training or coaching within your firm then you can, there’s a page there for law firms as well. I am on Twitter, but I think LinkedIn and the website are probably the best. There is also a YouTube channel. There’s so many trainings uploaded on the YouTube channel too.
31:00 Robert Hanna:
Awesome. Well, thanks. Absolute million Hannah, it’s been a real pleasure having you on the show. We’re wishing you lots of continued success and continue to inspire the legal community but from all of us on the Legally Speaking Podcast over and out.