‘5 minutes with…” is a series where we interview members at Sussex Innovation about their business, why they joined and their plans for growth. Today, Digital Marketing and Sales Executive Amy chats with Lucy Tarrant from Cognitive Law.
Can you tell me a little bit about Cognitive Law, and what your role entails?
Cognitive Law was founded in 2014 by my former business partner and me to provide legal solutions in a new way. It was founded out of a need for change. I was a solicitor, a lone parent, working full time in a traditional law firm, and going into the office every day, but that set up wasn’t working for me. I wanted to continue enjoy practising law, but on my own terms and without restraints. Cognitive Law was set up to allow solicitors like me to be their own boss; and to manage their own time, their clients, and their workload.
We’re a small but mighty firm with 13 solicitors specialising cross sector, from commercial legal solutions to family and later life. We also have 2 sector teams that specialise in providing legal solutions to the tech, digital and software sector, and to the recruitment sector.
The joy of working with a cognitive consultant is that they support clients from start to finish. They have a genuine passion for achieving the right results for the clients, and work within a time scale that suits the client.
As the Managing Director I oversee the running of the firm, with support from the Head office team. I also specialise in providing commercial legal solutions to the recruitment sector.
How was your business impacted by COVID-19? And have you noticed changes in the sector in general following on from the pandemic?
We were incredibly fortunate not to have been impacted by the pandemic from a logistical point of view. Cognitive Law was set up to work remotely, and all our consultants are based at home. Our Head office team also worked partly from home, so nothing really changed in the way were working when the first lockdown came along.
We’ve always empowered our consultants to work when, where and how they like which meant during the pandemic (and the home-schooling!) there was never, and never will be, any pressure to work set hours and times. We all work at a time that suits our clients and ourselves.
In fact, I think the pandemic strengthened the culture of the firm as we had more video meetings and catch ups than ever before!
In terms of the legal sector generally, we are now seeing a lot of other law firms starting to work the way that we do – so we like to believe we were ahead of the curve.
Other than COVID, what has been your biggest challenge?
From a personal point of view, it’s been to learn to trust my instinct, and listen to myself when things don’t feel right. At the beginning of the firm’s existence, I took on a couple of solicitors that with hindsight were not the right fit for the team. It’s important to grow the firm steadily with the right people rather than to grow quickly with the wrong people. I learnt that the hard way!
Having the right team around me is extremely important. I need to be sure our that our consultants are providing an exceptional service to all our clients. That means I only take on the solicitors who not only “get” the firm’s ethos, but also share my passion for providing an exceptional legal service.
What has been your biggest success to date?
It’s hard to identify one single success to be honest, as when I look back over the last 7 and a half years of Cognitive Law, I can hardly believe how far we have come. From starting out with just 1 solicitor (me!) and 2 clients, we have grown year on year. It’s one of those businesses that you only see how much you have achieved when you look back. Like most small business owners, I don’t take for granted how lucky I am to be running a thriving law firm, so I guess my biggest success is that I did it.
What are your plans for the future?
Growth is definitely in the plan! We are looking to grow Cognitive Law with more consultant solicitors, to enable us to provide our clients with an even more extensive range of legal services.
Also, having worked with many, many, clients over the years I also understand the importance to clients of pricing, planning for, and budgeting legal spend. With that in mind we are expanding our legal subscription packages to enable clients to access legal solutions in a way that suits them. This will range from one off pieces of legal advice to outsourcing a business’ entire legal services to Cognitive Law – more to come on this soon!
What’s your favourite thing to do outside of work?
That’s an easy one! I love to spend time with family and friends, walk the dog, and indulge in cheese and wine!
How did you hear about Sussex Innovation, and why did you decide to join Sussex Innovation?
I had known about Sussex Innovation for some time and had looked around a couple of years before joining. The more I learnt about the centre, the more I knew this was the perfect place to have our Head Office. The people, the culture, and the facilities were exactly what we were after.
Having made the decision to move our office out of the centre of Brighton, it was hard to find a more welcoming environment for our consultants and clients to come to. We needed office space with parking, and flexible facilities to hold events, hot desk, and meet clients. Sussex Innovation gives us everything we need and more!
What is your favourite thing about having an office at Sussex Innovation?
I can’t think of one favourite thing. The location is perfect and so accessible by road or public transport. The team here are so supportive and welcoming, and the office space is perfect for the team. Our office really is my happy place. I skip down the corridor most mornings – if I’ve had a coffee and I’m feeling energetic!
At Sussex Innovation, we provide a range of support services, access to professional networks, and affordable, serviced office space in Sussex, Brighton and Croydon for those who need a base. So, whatever your line of work, get in touch and find out how we can help you grow: email@example.com, (0)1273 704400.