Managing Partner Goals – Mandeep Kaur Virdee – S1E7

This week, we were delighted to be joined by Mandeep Kaur Virdee.

Mandeep has achieved a huge amount of success in her legal career to date. Mandeep qualified in 2011 and within just 8 years successfully runs her own law firm in Heart of the City of London. Today, Mandeep operates as the Managing Partner of KaurMaxwell, whilst managing family life having recently become a first-time Mother.

Under Mandeep’s leadership, KaurMaxwell, has gone from strength to strength growing exponentially year on year! It’s incredible what Mandeep has managed to achieve in such a short space of time. 

Show notes 

Here are 3 reasons why you should listen to the full episode:

  1. Learn how Managing Partner Mandeep set up her own law firm. 
  2. How to juggle being a 1st time mother and lawyer. 
  3. The importance of networking. 


Episode highlights:

Mandeep’s journey into the law:

  • Mandeep did not always want to be a lawyer – she decided to as a rebel choice. 
  • Mandeep trained in insolvency and restructuring, which she enjoys because it involves taking a situation and seeing it from a different perspective to others.
  • Now, she does a lot of cross-border litigation all over the world, which she views like playing chess – on a global scale, it is playing with different rules, personalities and places.
  • She describes how she has to deal with everything without taking it for granted, whether that be an email or arranging a phone call, as it all makes a difference in how relationships are built.

What previous roles of Mandeep have prepared her for setting up her own firm?

  • Mandeep recounts how she was Head of the Department at Newmans for 5 and a half years.
  • She was given this opportunity at a young age, which she did not feel ready for but was encouraged by others, and now she looks back on it as her best experience.

How did Mandeep set up her own law firm?

  • Mandeep was in a practice, and the senior partner, who was the sole owner of the practice, became unwell.
  • Instead of going on maternity leave like Mandeep should have, the partner told her he was closing the practice down.
  • Whilst being 7 months pregnant, Mandeep went for a couple of interviews and found that they were treating her differently because of her pregnancy, asking questions like ‘How long are you going to take on maternity leave?’
  • After her 2nd interview, Mandeep had a conversation with her husband, who encouraged her to take over the business. 
  • She made an application to the SRA, got authorisation, professional indemnity insurance, and started her own firm. 
  • Mandeep describes that year of her life as the hardest, having felt like she gave birth to two babies – one being the firm, that also needed nurturing.
  • She details how she went from being an individual who was living a selfish lifestyle and just an employee to learning how to be a manager and taking care of a child.

About KaurMaxwell:

  • Mandeep’s goal was to go back to basics, with KaurMaxwell being a service-based industry.
  • She believes that it is their responsibility to ensure they follow through on the whole process so they make sure the customer journey is something which is easy and understandable. 
  • The firm respects that people are coming in at a difficult time and are aware of this. 

What leadership qualities does Mandeep think are needed to run a successful law firm?

  • Mandeep stresses the importance of listening to her staff, being aware of what is around her, being flexible, and being willing to take on ways that are not her own. 
  • From being a mother, Mandeep has learnt that everything is temporary – she balances the idea that there will be a better day when she is struggling.
  • She suggests having self-confidence and self-trust in every step that is made.
  • Mandeep runs the firm with complete transparency to get the staff’s input so that they feel like they are a part of every decision that is being made. 

What has Mandeep learnt from being a mother and running a firm?

  • Mandeep admits she has struggled a lot with both roles since they are polar opposites, so she erases the thinking of one or the other as it is not humanly possible to do both.
  • She was trying to do both for a long time, keeping up the standard of a mother and lawyer. 
  • She decided to create her own space, and despite not networking as much as she used to, Mandeep finds when she does network now, it is more productive than before. 
  • She has made this her norm and recognises it is the best that she can offer.
  • One thing which Mandeep wants her daughter to understand is that she made this decision for her because she does not want to be the person who is not standing by what she believes in.
  • Mandeep learnt that she could not be the same kind of boss she was as Head of the Department and partner at her previous firm. 
  • She advises anyone starting their own firm to ensure it makes sense commercially, to understand the risk and to be prepared to make it work. 

How important is it to have a support network?

  • Mandeep details how crucial it is to have a support network in her family and at her work too. 
  • She recognises that by being transparent, she does not have to convince people to be a team player.
  • She describes watching her team grow as a real joy, and she could not have asked for a better team.
  • Mandeep admits how difficult she finds it to ask for help, but her team have been supportive throughout, even when she brings her daughter to the office.

Mandeep and networking as a mother:

  • Before having her daughter, Mandeep was a ‘serial networker’, establishing a strong network of lawyers, accountants, insolvency practitioners and business owners.
  • After setting up her firm, Mandeep received feedback saying they knew she would set up one day, even when she did not know that herself.
  • Mandeep ensures she has aims and objectives for each meeting, and her style of networking has changed.
  • She remains that having a presence in the relevant circles is necessary, but perhaps not as much time needs to be spent on them. 
  • Mandeep reckons that a lot of people at networking events hide behind their titles, as she did before. 

How has Mandeep’s firm embraced legal tech?

  • KaurMaxwell uses Slack, an encrypted messaging system, which can be used to create groups or channels to keep inboxes clear. 
  • Mandeep is in the process of introducing an app.
  • The firm is looking to grow its team, and they are currently on a growth development upcycle.
  • They are looking at what the market needs and managing what work they have since they are receiving larger cases coming into 2020.

5 powerful quotes from this episode:

  1. “I want to tell people you can do it”.
  2. “Just be prepared like any business owner to really put your skin in the game to really make it work”.
  3. “The one thing I want my daughter to understand in many years to come is that I made this decision for her because I don’t want to be the person who isn’t standing by what I believe in and if she was in the predicament I was in, I would say to her you can do it and you just have to figure out a way to do it and leading by example is what I wanted to teach her”.
  4. “… I couldn’t have asked for a better team they have been unbelievable and every single day watching them grow and watching them become better lawyers and better team members it is just an absolute joy to see that…”.
  5. “Sometimes it’s hard to ask I’m not someone who can ask for help at all so for me it was like oh my god I don’t have a choice I have to actually reach out and it took a lot for me to do that…”.

If you wish to connect with Mandeep, you may reach out to her on LinkedIn.

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To learning more about the exciting world of law, Robert Hanna and the Legally Speaking Podcast Team.

Disclaimer: All episodes are recorded at certain moments in time and reflect those moments only.


[0:00:00] Rob Hanna: This week, I am thrilled to be joined by Mandeep Kaur Virdee, who has achieved a huge amount of success in her legal career within such a short space of time. Mandeep qualified in 2011 and within just 8 years successfully runs her own law firm in Heart of the City of London. Today, Mandeep operates as the Managing Partner of KaurMaxwell, whilst managing family life having recently become a first-time Mother. Under Mandeep’s leadership, KaurMaxwell, has grown year on year exponentially! It’s incredible what Mandeep has managed to achieve in such a short space of time! So welcome Mandeep.

[0:00:38.4] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: Thank you, hi Rob!
[0:00:40.6] Rob Hanna:

I must start by asking the all-important question, as it is customary our Legally Speaking Podcast as people want to hear first-hand from you real life legal professionals, “On the scale of 1 – 10 with 10 being very real…how real do you rate the hit TV series Suits?”

[0:01:00.4] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: Interesting question, I think in terms of office politics, I think depending on which firm you are at, probably pretty close. In terms of the back hand deals and convenient relationships everyone seems to have with each other in Suits, I would probably rate in closer to 2. I don’t think that’s realistic. All the same it is really interesting.

[0:01:22.6] Rob Hanna:

Yeah, I think that’s probably fair. I think some people are going for 10 accepting there’s a bit of Hollywood in it, or more real-life lawyers are saying it’s probably 1 or 2. So I think its averaging out in the middle. Today I’m really excited because you and I have known each other and followed each other careers throughout London, but we are talking about “Managing Partner Goals” with the view to inspiring others to emulate all of your successes. Having just qualified in 2011 and reaching the heights of owning your own firm and running your own firm whilst balancing family life I think a lot of people would want to try get to that level. So, I guess we need take a step back before that so did you always want to be a lawyer?

[0:01:57.4] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: Oh no way. No way. Gosh, I did it as a complete rebel cause yeah I basically decided that I was going to do everything my parents did not want me to do, so they wanted me to be an accountant and I looked on the list of other options to do instead of that. So, I thought as there is no lawyer in my family, I’ll just become a lawyer, didn’t even think twice about it, it was literally that decision. 
[0:02:27.8] Rob Hanna:

Yeah, so you wanted to be an accountant rather than a lawyer, which is quite interesting as you speak to a lot of accountants that want to be lawyer, there we go vice versa. There we go, so you are in law and you are doing very well.Which areas of the law do you most enjoy and why? As you have quite a broad practice.

[0:02:42.1] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: I do, so I trained and grew up Insolvency and restructuring, that’s always been my love. I genuinely enjoy and still enjoy every single day I do my job and it really doesn’t feel like a job for that reason. The thing that I enjoy the most about insolvency and restructuring is that you take a situation, and you don’t see it in the same way someone else might you see the good and the bad and what things are stopping it growing, you can restructure it, you can flip it you can do something with it and save what you can. Obviously, the bonuses are saving brands, saving jobs and so on. But also, I have ended up venturing into litigation, so I do a lot of litigation now. I do a lot of cross border litigation, doing a lot all over the world, which is fun, but it is a bit mental I have to say.

[0:03:36.5] Rob Hanna: In what sense, why is it so mental for you?

[0:03:40.0] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: How I see litigation is like playing chess and what happens when you’re dealing with it on a global scale is that you are looking at it almost like you are playing 3D chess because you are playing with different rules and you are dealing with different personalities, different places and you have to deal with everything without taking it for granted even if it is the way your write an email, or how you speak to people on the phone or how you arrange a phone call. All of these things, if you are as pedantic as I am, they all make a difference in how you build relationships. So, it’s really interesting.
[0:04:10.4] Rob Hanna: Yeah, fair enough and we will definitely talk about why you wanted to set up your own firm KaurMaxell in a minute but again going back a step. From your previous roles what experiences most prepared you for taking the step up to Managing Partner or setting up your own firm?

[0:04:27.7] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: I would say it would probably have to be Newmans, so I was head of department at Newmans for 5 and a half years and I was given that opportunity as a platform at a very young age, probably 26 or 27, I didn’t think I was prepared for it, but the people who pushed me to do it obviously felt that I was. So that was probably my best experience.

[0:04:55.9] Rob Hanna: Yeah, and then like I said setting up your own firm what fuelled that passion and why did you want to do it because it’s not an easy ride, right?
[0:05:03.1] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: Yeah, I wouldn’t say it started off with I want to set up my own party, it never happened like that.
[0:05:10.5] Rob Hanna: Talk us through that journey then.

[0:05:13.3] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: Well, what happened was, I ended up in a situation where I was in a practice and the senior partner was the sole owner of the practice became quite unwell and instead of me going on maternity leave like I should have been at around 7 months pregnant he told me he was closing the practice down, so I had a decision to make at the time. It was just before Christmas, actually this time of year just makes me think back to 2 years ago when this happened, and I remember being absolutely ginormous I couldn’t even get in London I was so heavily pregnant it was unreal. I had mediations case hearing coming up over the period that I was away, the last thing I thought of was hold on a second let me find another job and move myself and my staff and so on. So, I still tried, I went for a couple of interviews and I was sitting there and I thought, they kept asking me over and over again and being completely brutally honest this kept happening and as much as I’d like to say we have come away from that mentality that women and men are treated equally, you can’t hide from the fact that someone who is 7 months pregnant is sitting in front of you and think they won’t treat you differently because they absolutely were. The conversation mostly surrounded ‘how long are you going to take on maternity leave?’ ‘what if things don’t go to plan?’ things that as a first-time mother you are already nervous about, you don’t really know how you are going to be when you are having a baby. You are obviously praying everything is fine, but at 7 months pregnant I was under so much stress and I was just worrying about everything all the time, not sleeping, I was worrying about my cases. Having taken on cases I really do sense that responsibility and I was never that lawyer that could go oh well it doesn’t matter its someone else’s problem. So, I had a conversation with my husband after my second interview and he isn’t a lawyer and he said to me if you weren’t pregnant right now what would you do? I said well id take over the business and he said just do it and we will figure it out. I said but how? We are going to be parents for the first time, we don’t even know what that’s going to be like, and you are telling me to start a law firm. It probably caused arguments for about 2 weeks, like how dare you say that to me, why? And he was like I am encouraging you because I know you can do it. So, to be fair I wasn’t positive about it, but I was just like let’s see how it goes. I made the application to the SRA and every single step of the way I said if it is meant to be it will go in my favour and yeah so at 8 months pregnant now, because everything was happening so quickly it was December my daughter was supposed to be born in January. Nothing went to plan like it should of, but it all fell in its own place. Ended up getting authorised by the SRA, got insurance, professional indemnity insurance, basically managed the other firm, started my own firm, went off and had a baby, came back.

[0:08:37.6] Rob Hanna: So how long did you have off? I bet you didn’t have a great deal of time off knowing you.

[0:08:41.6] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: In all honesty, yeah. I did check my emails the next day after I had Tara, it did happen. But it was one of the best decisions I ever made. It was the hardest year of my life, I cannot deny that but yeah it felt at that moment I had two babies, because I had a law firm, a business, whatever you do, whether it is service based or product based, you need to nurture it, you need to grow it, you can’t just run it from afar and obviously with the baby, it’s a baby, you need to be apart of that as well. But actually, I had to go from being just an individual person who’s married, almost living quite a selfish lifestyle to learning how to care for a little person and instead of just being an employee, learning how to be a manager and to manage to be a partner of a law firm. So those things all came at me at the same time and I had to learn two completely new roles that I had never done before.
[0:09:50.0] Rob Hanna: Wow. Well, that’s a real kick study and the great successes that you have had and what I am taking from that is, lots of lawyers are risk adverse but actually the few lawyers we have had on recently, we had a corporate partner Ed Hooper on the other week discussing how he had taken risk and you took a massive risk there taking on both of them.
[0:10:06.9] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: It was all or nothing.

[0:10:09.5] Rob Hanna: And its very much the case of getting comfortable being uncomfortable and I think that’s another great story about development and just going for it because what’s the worst that can happen? So, I think that’s very empowering. So, thanks for sharing that. I guess so we are on KaurMaxwell as you call it KM, so you are doing great things. I’ve known the firm from pretty much day dot, and you are absolutely smashing it knocking it out of the park, so in terms of people quite new to the firm and what you are trying to get your message out there in terms of what makes you different, what would you say to that?
[0:10:40.0] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: So, with KM my absolute goal is to go back to the basics, so we are a service-based industry we should not think we are any different from that. Solicitors often do think they are just in a group of their own, they are absolutely not. We are a service based industry it is our responsibility to make sure we follow through on that whole process, so what we do as a firm we take it back to its basic roots, we  make sure the customer journey is something which is easy and understandable the entire way through, we have to respect the fact people are coming to us in a very difficult time, to actually be aware of that and to understand that rather than using that as some reason to ignore clients or to not respond to them in days, which is often what I was getting feedback from the general public as the service from solicitors which is really poor as some people don’t have £500 / £600 to spend for really top level firms and to be fair whether you are in a big firm or a small firm, if you lose the idea that you are a service and you have to have a good level of ability to impress them then there is nothing you can do apart from that.
[0:12:02.5] Rob Hanna: Yeah, well said, well said. I think in terms of your leadership, what do you think are some of the qualities, and it’s not a chance for you to be big headed here but I genuinely believe you are doing really well, so what do you believe are the leadership qualities you believe you need to run a successful law firm.
[0:12:18.4] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: I don’t know about successful; I can only tell you what I am doing and hopefully it’s working. I’m still very much learning absolutely every single day, but I think it’s really important to listen to your staff and to listen and be aware of what’s around you, to be open to being flexible and to not be so stuck in your own way so that your way is the only way that is the right way. A lot of that I have learnt from being a mum, one thing I have learnt for both roles it’s that everything is temporary and if it’s not Tira’s teething which means I haven’t slept for three nights, it could be a case where something going on in that and what I have to balance is the idea that  there will be a better day than this, I just have to get to that point and that’s probably been at its worst, but in terms of qualities I would say you have to have a lot of confidence in yourself and that’s not to say that I haven’t had those days where I have questioned my decision or whether I’m making the right or wrong move, you have to trust yourself massively on every single step your taken and stand by it. Its ok to say you haven’t done something right and that you are learning from it. One of the things I do at KM which I never had the experience of at any law firm actually is that I run this firm with complete transparency, so I tell my staff look we have had a good month, we’ve had a bad month, we’ve got the corp tax due and it’s this much and we’ve been saving this and these are our targets, these are our billables. It is so important to show staff the entire transparency of everything and to get their input so from venues of where we are going to do the Christmas party to whether a note pad should be a certain size to another size, within reason if you go asking absolutely everything no one is going to get any work done, but on the other hand they feel apart of it and you can’t buy that and you can’t make people care, they just do because they feel like they are apart of every decision that you are making.
[0:14:33.4] Rob Hanna: And I really like that, that’s how I see business should be run, if you are hiring in people in and particularly a small aspirational business, it’s a team and everybody should have a voice and it shouldn’t be just from top down. I think your tips there are get people involved, get them genuinely empowered to feel like they care for the greatness of the firm, right?
[0:14:50.8] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: Absolutely.

[0:14:52.3] Rob Hanna: Which is good point. You touched on it there about finding the balance of being a first-time mother and running a firm. What’s tips would you give people who take your route or decide to do it? Other than you saying probably don’t do it?

[0:15:04.9] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: I was going to say don’t do it. [Laughter]
[0:15:09.4] Rob Hanna: So what have you learnt? What is your feedback to people who might be thinking, you know what I’m really inspired by this I’m going to take the step?
[0:15:15.4] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: Ok, so what’s really interesting about this is I being completely transparent and standing by what I’ve just said, I have struggled with it a lot. I struggled with just the concept of being a mum and being a lawyer because they are so far apart with what society expects of you. Being a lawyer is very selfish, very matter of fact, very glamourous, very, just pure selfish. You go out and you don’t think about what time you are getting home, you don’t think about what you are having for tea, you don’t think about any of that. Then complete flip side, you’ve got mum sitting at home, constantly cooing over you and ironing your little onesies. Complete polar opposites, so what I realised from myself that I have to just erase the thinking of one or the other as it is not humanly possible for me to do both and I was trying to do both for a long time. I was still trying to keep up with that standard of mum and I was still trying to keep up with that standard of lawyer and I couldn’t do both. So I just decided to create my own space and what I would say it yeah, I don’t go out drinking all the time, I don’t go out and network as much as I used to, but in all honesty when I do network now it is a hell of a lot more productive now that it ever was the nights I used to go out before and yeah I don’t spend every single minute with my child but the three hours I do spend with my daughter in the evening, nothing and no one can stop me from spending that time with her, even if it is listening to baby shark none stop for an hour. So, what I have done is I’ve made my own norm and I have said this is the best that I can offer. The one thing I want my daughter to understand in many years to come is that I made this decision for her because I don’t want to be the person who isn’t standing by what I believe in and if she was in that predicament I was in, I would say to her you can do it and you just have to figure out a way to do it and leading by example is what I wanted to teach her. So, any women that are out there or even any dads that are out there and I’ve met a couple of dads who have said my wife has just had one or two and I find it so hard watching her, let alone how you have done it. The truth is have done it, it is possible, I’m not superwomen, yeah I might sleep a bit less and yes there is absolutely no question, probably in the worst of it, I used to wake up at 3 in the morning, I used to dictate till 6 and I used to wake up and look after her in the morning, I didn’t know what time of the day to was some days I used to work all the way through the hours, but in the worst of that it was temporary. I got over it and started sleeping through the night, and so on. I had to learn being the kind of boss I used to be before being the head of department and partner at the previous firm, I had to let go and I couldn’t be that same boss I was then so I had to learn to go maybe I can’t check every single email you send out anymore and maybe I can’t do certain things, but instead I’m going to show you what I mean so you don’t make this mistake and I don’t have to correct it for no reason. I think I have found better ways of working, but yeah going back to what you said if there are any tips I can give anyone, just make sure commercially it makes sense, understand the risk, don’t just do it because it sounds cool because trust me it’s not, I heard your introduction and I hear people go ‘oh my god are you serious? You started a law firm at 8 months pregnant’ no I never did it because of that I did it because I had to survive, I had to do it cases, I had promises I had made that I had to stick by them this is nice that people understand, but if anything from the experiences I had, I want to tell people you can do it. Just be prepared like any business owner to really put your skin in the game to really make it work.
[0:19:37.6] Rob Hanna: Well, that’s very modest of you and I think that’s very humble as well. I think you are right it’s about circumstance, you can choose to lay down and be beaten or you can get up and fight. I think that’s very inspirational that you are being very honest about your journey and it’s not all about pretty things and it’s not just people saying isn’t that amazing and this that and the other, but you know, testament to you that you just got on with it. Just shows to inspire other people and feeling sorry and licking your wounds isn’t the answer. The two points I want to pick up on that as well is you mentioned your husband was an influence on you saying well what’s there to lose, how important is for people to have a support network around you, as you can’t do it all yourself as a business owner its nice to think you can, but you can’t so you touched on the point about having trust in your team and really getting your team based in the way you wanted to do it. How important is it to have the right support mechanisms at home and at work?
[0:20:29.7] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: It is absolutely crucial, it’s so necessary and I would never have been able to do what I did if it wasn’t for me having people around me, you are completely right. My husband, my parents, my siblings, there are so many people just on the personal side that have been there and been supportive on the flip side workwise I couldn’t have asked for a better team they have been unbelievable and every single day watching them grow and watching them become better lawyers and better team members it is just an absolute joy to see that, but the beauty of it is when you do the basic things like transparency and you are honest with people, you don’t need to convince them to be a team member, even with your own family you can ask people for help. Sometimes it’s hard to ask I’m not someone who can ask for help at all so for me it was like oh my god I don’t have a choice I have to actually reach out and it took a lot for me to do that, because they were looking after the most important thing I’ve ever had and I didn’t even know how to process that because I felt like it was the worst thing I could ever do leave my child with someone. There’s been times I have brought my daughter in the office, rarely I might add, there have been times my trainees have been trying to rock her to sleep in her push chair because we have had something urgent due on Monday and that network you couldn’t ask for that in this day and age. For people to understand what team playing really means, it is actually quite hard to find and its quite rare.
[0:22:09.5] Rob Hanna: Yeah, no, I totally agree. Another thing you’ve touched on as well which I really liked, when you touch upon a little bit as well when you spoke about networking you go to less networking events, but when you go to them you get more out of them, it’s probably because you value your time even more now, but how much networking do you need to do as a managing partner of an aspirational firm? You know it is a dog eat dog in the legal service people can cut it up and slice and dice it but yeah how much networking do you think you need to do and how do you go on about doing your own networking?
[0:22:39.2] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: So, I pre being a mum, I was a serial networker I did a lot of networking and I built a really really strong network of lawyers who gave me referral work, accountants, insolvency practitioners, individuals, business owners, etc… So, when did what I did and I set up, it was really interesting getting the feedback “oh Mandy we knew you were going to set up one day. We knew that was going to happen.”
[0:23:07.8] Rob Hanna:

I knew you were going to set it up.

[0:23:09.1] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: It’s really funny cause I’m like how? And I used to be one person saying no way I’d never run a law firm, oh god that’s so much red tape and actually I absolutely love it and I love business and I love being a lawyer but I never thought I’d enjoy the two things together and so what I would say is when you look at it from a business perspective you quite rightly say that you value your time in a different way sitting in a pub previously as an employee for six hours and maybe getting one lead as opposed to going right I’m about to go into this meeting maybe I can squeeze two meetings In the evening cause dads got the daughter so I can maybe get this this and this done so what are my aims and objectives for each meeting, get in and get out. Absolutely you’re so right it’s about you going, this is what I’m going to achieve from this meeting I’m just going to get it done and move onto the next and I would not, I would not say that you don’t need to network because you absolutely do you completely do you’re completely right there, but what I would say is that my style of networking has changed, massively. I think that you need to have a presence in the relevant circles but, you can perhaps can shave off some of the time that you didn’t really need to spend before.
[0:24:30.8] Rob Hanna: Have you found it better going with a managing partner badge to those sort of networking events or have you found it harder because again some people you know, sort of sit, might get a little entitled. But at the end of the day, you’re still doing the job right and you’re going out there and growing your firm and you’re getting your name out there but have you found it easier or harder?
[0:24:49.1] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: Do you know it’s really funny you say that because I don’t even tell people I’m a lawyer most of the time.
[0:24:54.1] Rob Hanna: Really?
[0:24:55:3] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: Yeah.
[0:24:55:9] Rob Hanna: Haha!
[0:24:56:3] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: I feel like people’s body language just goes, oh god, another lawyer so.
[0:25:01:1] Rob Hanna: They say that about us as recruiters!
[0:25:03:5] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: It’s literally like you can just see it off their face so instead what I do is just be a human being and have a nice conversation about whatever.
[0:25:11:2] Rob Hanna: Yeah.
[0:25:12:2] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: Erm, and just get to know someone. I think people often hide behind and maybe it’s down to insecurities, but they hide behind a name or a title or whatever and I guess I’m just in a different place now, I probably would have been that way before being a partner would’ve been a big thing when I got a partner title I felt really privileged. Being a managing partners great, but I think it’s just so real for me now that it’s just not that fun.
[0:25:43.4] Rob Hanna: Well, I think that’s a real authentic story you know something about you know you really trusting people as well you’re not going in there trying to impress them or sort of oversell what you are it’s like you want to understand these people to the core and actually say back to what you’re trying to deliver is actually a value add service that genuinely cares about their clients and getting back to people so I really resonate with all of that. One thing I’ve also been super impressed about with the way you ran your firm is also your appreciation and adaptation of technology, I think you know lots of firms are still stuck in the dark ages and we’re talking about that the other week about legal tech but do you want to talk about sort of how you guys embrace technology and what that’s done to benefit your overall systems and processes
[0:26:21.0] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: Absolutely, with tech and with the legal industry unfortunately we are so archaic its unreal, we for whatever reason and having worked in so many different firms I’ve just seen why it doesn’t work. So I just cut through a lot of things that previously I didn’t think was necessary. So, we use things like Slack, we use – 
[0:26:43.0] Rob Hanna: Which is, to explain to the non legal minded technologist?
[0:26:47.8] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: Yeah, sure so Slack is just like a messaging system, through well it is encrypted and you have it on your computers or you can have it on your phone and you create like groups or channels and you can have things like, things that cut a lot of mess that you don’t need to have in your inbox. For example we have a channel that says “money in” so if money’s come in and they don’t know where to allocate it,  accounts will just put it into the channel and whoever it is will just claim that’s my money can you put it in this file rather than there being 15 emails going ‘oh can you put it on this file’ and because I have had to work in a really methodical way, I like to keep my outlook inbox really really clean. So, I just take all that unnecessary communication out of my inbox entirely. We are just moving over systems, like our document management system, so we are going to be able to time record on our phone, we are going to be able to give a client login from their side, so we don’t have to send emails to a client anymore we can actually have them have access to our portal so when we send letters and stuff, they can login and see them. There’s load of new things I’m introducing to KM, I am also in very early stages of introducing a KM app at the moment which I am super excited about.
[0:28:09:7] Rob Hanna: Yeah?
[0:28:10:7] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: Yeah, and so watch this space for that and erm yeah there is just so many things. The thing is when I have my business hat on, I could go ‘omg I have another idea’ and I’m just going for it and then I have to bring myself back to fee earning and erm doing that. So there are a lot of hats that I wear most days but definitely tech and development is the space that I see KM really taking its place because what it means is we are a hell of a lot more environmentally friendly, we are able to keep in touch with our clients on real time, so we can literally say we’ve just sent this letter and rather than two days later telling a client we’ve done it just there and then we select share with client and it will just be on their side. This that should be really obvious, but they are not.
[0:28:57.7] Rob Hanna: You must find that very liberating because obviously having worked at other firms where even trying to get orders for new stationary, or whatever it might be. But actually, being able to come in and say you know what I want my firm to be properly in the modern world and just rolling with it and getting people to adopt to that sort of thing, that must be very liberating having been in other firms.
[0:29:14.0] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: It is it really is. I think that’s one of the big perks of being managing partner and being in an environment where you can say you know what I want to effect a change and I can affect it immediately. Obviously, you need to get buy in so you need to get, your millennials will jump in and go ‘yeah that’s a great idea, totally all over that’ and sort of your elders might not, so it takes a bit of time you have to convince them and if not you just make them do it.
[0:29:41.6] Rob Hanna: Exactly, exactly. So, you’ve touched on it there but just to get a little bit more about your plans for 2020, you mentioned there’s an app coming out, you mentioned you are going to keep investing in tech and development. Is there any sort of key things you want to spread the word about for 2020 for KM?
[0:29:59.1] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: I would say definitely watch this space. We are really looking to grow our team, we are on a growth development upcycle at the moment, we are looking at what the market needs, we are trying not to necessarily get involved in every area of law, we are just trying to manage work that we’ve got, but we can’t turn away from the work that we are getting. We have a lot of larger cases coming into 2020 which are probably going to take a lot of time, erm, but in terms of the firm and its development, I think we’ve got some ideas which I’m probably not in a position to talk about right at this stage.
[0:30:41.3] Rob Hanna: Keeping the listeners engaged, right? Well we will have to invite you back on in the new year and you can tell us more. Just on that I always like to ask people generally, if you could win any kind of accolade, I know you’ve been super successful up to date already, but with KM, is there anything particular you would like to win or that you are aspiring towards, or do you not believe in awards at all?
[0:31:00.4] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: I think awards are brilliant I think they are a great way to bring promotion to individuals and to teams and to firms, I also believe in actually earning things and I am not suggesting no one out there hasn’t earn them but with many of these sort of award companies, you end up buying tables or whatever and it kind of gets a little but excessive, instead what I do with KM and my staff really do appreciate it. We do a lot more for charity and I tell them what we are spending money on so we for example, pay for hygiene kits for homeless people and we don’t put our name brands or stuff like that its not for the purpose of branding the firm, the idea is im telling the staff that instead of doing this and spending whatever on this which probably isn’t that necessary, you’ve just helped a hell of a lot of homeless people to maybe get checked out from the dentist or to get a meal. So, what I do with my staff is a lot more of the charity stuff than erm.
Rob Hanna [32:15]: Yeah, which is great and that’s really commendable. I guess as we wrap up just you know it can’t all be work when you are taking down time, I am assuming a lot of it is with your daughter, but what does a managing partner tend to do for downtime when you are not in the office.
[0:32:32] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: I don’t know what that means, I don’t know what downtime means at all. Erm, in all honesty if I’m not doing something, I’m doing something else. I kid you not, just as an example this morning I woke up at 4 I ordered water for the office, I ordered loads of stationery, name badges or whatever, literally its just nonstop.
[0:32:54.9] Rob Hanna: And that goes back to your point, of people saying it’s not just about the title, the reality of the job is you’ve just got to do stuff and I think people get stuck in the headlights with a lot of headline, but I see it all the time. So that’s a nice genuine day to day outline right.
[0:33:09.6] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: Yeah, it’s definitely not like Harvey Spector’s life it really isn’t.
[0:33:12.5] Rob Hanna: Yeah, you are justifying your 2 out of 10 for sure. Ok, well look its been an absolute pleasure having you on, I think what you manage to achieve in such a short space of time, I know a lot of our listeners are going to be thoroughly inspired. If they do want to reach out or get in touch with you, how’s the best way for them to get in contact with you?
[0:33:29.1] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: Oh, whatever way, LinkedIn or whatever you suggest really.
[0:33:35.3] Rob Hanna: Yeah, I definitely suggest follow Mandeep on LinkedIn or connect with her. I’m sure she will be happy to answer any questions or help with anything. So, I think from our side thanks very much and over and out.
[0:33:43.3] Mandeep Kaur Virdee: Thank you!

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