Work must be done … and be seen to be done

During my recent holiday I spent a few days in the South of France. I was able to keep up with what was happening in the office by e-mail and phone when necessary and ensure that where my input was needed on certain important projects, nothing was delayed by my absence.  So I can quite happily accept the idea that the Prime Minister and the Chancellor don’t need to be in London to keep their finger on the pulse during the holiday season.  After all, their communications systems are likely to be a bit more sophisticated than mine. They also have the Civil Service to keep things going.

But is being able to do what is necessary the only factor?  When so much of what happens in our economy seems to turn on perception and confidence as much as on hard fact, was it a good idea to allow the impression to be given that no-one was minding the shop?

Of course that question of perception probably also made it impossible for the Prime Minister or the Chancellor to rush back from the beach at the first sign of a problem – it would simply have added to the air of crisis.  Surely, however, someone must have foreseen that having not only the PM and the Chancellor, but also their respective deputies – Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Chief Secretary Danny Alexander – all on holiday at the same time would not look good?  At Gardner Leader, we don’t have the country’s economy in our hands but we do try to ensure that each team always has appropriate levels of cover during the holiday season and that we are not all away at the same time.

A few years ago, it became clear that a holiday I had booked in Italy would clash with a vital phase in a company sale worth tens of millions to our clients.  Again, I could probably have done much of what I needed to do via e-mail and Internet from abroad, and colleagues back in the office could have handled anything else.  But would the client have felt that their once in a lifetime transaction was getting the attention it deserved?  I suspect that they would not have thought so and that a potentially stressful time would have been made worse by the fear that their interests were not being fully looked after.  So I cancelled my holiday, completed the transaction and went away later.

Sometimes it is not enough for the work just to be done – it has to be seen to be done.

UPDATE: Apparently the Prime Minister is now coming back as a result of the riots in London.

Our new look is unveiled …

We have now launched our new image which we have been working on for a while.  Our new website will shortly go live at  Our previous branding had served us well over the last seven or eight years but we felt it was time for a refresh.  We have evolved as a firm over that time.  While we are still heavily involved in work for individuals such as wills, conveyancing and family law, we have also grown our commercial and litigation teams.  Our lawyers are now involved in a lot of complex litigation and high value corporate transactions.  We felt it was time for a new look to reflect the firm that we are now.

Our new logo also incorporates the message that is central to our approach: “Delivering Results”.  I am confident that clients will enjoy working with the team that we have at Gardner Leader, but in the end what clients really want is for us to understand their objectives and to help them to achieve their aims with the minimum of hassle.

We are really pleased with our new look and we have already had very positive feedback from people who have seen the new signs going up around our offices over the last couple of days.

UPDATE: Our new website should now be live at

Bribery Act comes into force today

The Bribery Act comes into force today, 1 July 2011.  In previous posts, I have explained some of the main features of the Act and why it is important for all businesses to consider the implications the Act could have for them.

All of my previous posts on the subject can be found by clicking on the ‘Bribery Act 2010’ tag below.

All change

I doubt if there have been many weeks in the 116 years that Gardner Leader has been in existence which have seen so much change.  Tomorrow (30 June) marks the end of our financial year and with it the retirement of two of our longest serving partners.

John Jackson joined Gardner Leader in 1983 and since then has become one of the most familiar faces in the magistrates courts of Newbury and surrounding areas as a leading criminal defence lawyer.  He has also acted as our client care partner handling any (thankfully rare) complaints about our service with tact and diplomacy.  He will no doubt use his retirement to make more of the exotic trips he enjoys so much.  We will miss him and we wish him well.

Even John’s 28 years are dwarfed by the 42 years that Derek Child has spent at Gardner Leader, most of them as senior partner. Quite simply, Derek has made Gardner Leader what it is today. We are delighted that even though he is stepping down as a partner, he will be staying with the firm as our Chairman and will be in the office three days a week so that we can continue to benefit from all that experience (and his detailed knowledge of the ups and downs – mainly downs – of Swindon Town FC).

As well as those retirements, we will also be changing our logo and website within the next few days to freshen up our look, so there is a lot going on!

Why Olympic references are ring-fenced

Reports that an art event is facing legal action from the organisers of the London Olympics for using “2012” in its name, are a timely reminder that there are strict legal restrictions on using certain words associated with next year’s Games.

All major sporting events are now surrounded by legal protections and restrictions designed to ensure that corporate sponsors get the full benefit of their investment, and to stop others trading off the benefit of the publicity generated by the event.

The Olympics are no exception and legislation passed shortly after London won the right to host the Games will severely Continue reading