Henry Clarke writes about the benefits of taking an entrepreneurial approach to law in Law Society Gazette
With a varied career in law, starting out at a ‘Magic Circle’ firm, holding legal staff roles within the British Army and then moving on to private practice in the Middle East and an in-house role in the UK, Construction, Commercial and Corporate Partner Henry Clarke felt that he wanted to expand his knowledge of business, something that had not been included within the parameters of his formal law training.
Deciding to add an MBA to his skillset, the master’s degree saw him able to explore the subject of entrepreneurship, focusing on the many benefits that this approach can bring to the table.
Tying together his findings with his extensive legal sector background, The Law Society Gazette recently featured Henry’s article about how encouraging entrepreneurial skills would greatly benefit the legal sector.
Concentrating firstly on the lack of any formal business skills training within the current UK law school provision, Henry notes that US and Canadian law schools are now providing business skills training as part of their academic courses. Recognising the need to incorporate business skills training to provide students with a wider viewpoint and skillset, these establishments are enabling students with knowledge that goes beyond the traditional training routes and career prospects, imperative to ensuring the law sector can modernise effectively.
Discussing the formal, traditional route that is offered to those signing up to become lawyers, both in respect of training and then throughout their career paths, he discusses how the current system sadly lacks encouragement or acceptance of an entrepreneurial spirit, instead continuing to foster a cautious, prescribed path.
Mentioning the current low productivity levels in the UK, Henry states that taking an entrepreneurial approach would greatly increase productivity as by its very nature it is innovative and dynamic.
In conclusion, he sees the development of an entrepreneurial approach to law as bringing a fresh, modern approach to the legal sector where the lawyers can have the freedom and flexibility, and where a more responsive dynamism would mean a new and improved way of working.
Saying of his own position as a Spencer West Partner (where freedom, flexibility and an innovative, collaborative approach are an intrinsic part of our ethos), Henry said: “Running your own practice can be hugely rewarding, not just in terms of financial gain, but also in terms of work-life balance.”