The Symphony Best of 2015 Awards (and Merry Christmas to you!)
Friends, clients, wanderers from the vast search engines to the West. What a year it has been. Symphony Law launched in March and has been a beautiful, exhilarating success so far. Some quick revision tells us that Symphony "is the ability to see the big picture, connect the dots, combine disparate things into something new." I am supremely excited looking forward into the mists of 2016 at what adventures await in this regard (just you wait! Secret plans afoot!).
But first, one must always review and release the year that has been. This year I have chosen to do that by recalling a handful of bests from Symphony's first year. So, without further ado, and in no particular order, I present the Symphony Best Of 2015 Awards:
Ooh, almost caught me there. Lawyers aren't supposed to talk about favourite clients (it's in the Rules somewhere). What I must say is that my clients are a bunch of tremendous, whole hearted, good, generous people. I established Symphony with a view to serving those not best served by traditional commercial firms and I have been so grateful that those cool, pragmatic, lovely people have been most responsive. I really look forward to working hard for you all again next year.
When you start your own law firm you are often treated like you are going out onto the moors, never to be seen again. I am therefore especially grateful to the small army of mentors, fellow lawyers, technical advisors, NZLS staff, friends and family for their encouragement and assistance this year.
Special mention goes to my beautiful partner Kai, who has been my biggest champion all along and who gleefully talks into the night with me about business, the legal profession, culture design and the billable hour. What a man.
Best trust accounting software provider
This will seem an odd category but these are my awards, and my trust accounting software provider, OneLaw, has been outstanding. They know as much about trust accounting as they do about software design and have saved my sanity on at least five different occasions this year.
I started Symphony thinking I would be able to provide some commercial advice to the Fun Business community, but quickly learned that I hate giving commercial advice and am much better simply becoming a Fun Business myself. Switching to a purely litigation-focused practice has been a huge relief.
Best development in the law
It will seem minor but I was very pleased when the Christchurch High Court became the central filing registry for all the southern courts on 1 November. Filing documents has never been such a delight.
A clear winner this year. We adopted a little dachshund puppy in July. Allie adds value to the Symphony Law offices by way of adorable droopy ears and availability for pats and in such disproportion to her size that I can only urge all forward-thinking law offices to immediately install a dachshund in their offices too.
Best book related to Symphony Law
I devoured so many tremendous books this year but the winner has to be The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. Transformed my thinking about business methods and allowed me to try so much more than I otherwise would have.
Best non-law book
I am a giant nerd for urban and residential design, and I went a bit evangelical about Happy Cities by Charles Montgomery, such that it is now my number one response when people ask for recommendations on Facebook (overtaking the previous favourite – Born to Run by Chris McDougall).
Best law firm that is not Symphony Law
This was a close one. Ebborn Law is revolutionizing practice in the family law space, Layburn Hodgins and Simon Stock Lawyers have both been wonderful to work with, but I’m afraid the winner is still Marque Lawyers in Sydney. They remain my spirit firm and a constant reminder of what is possible when you bring your whole self to the practice of law.
Best bit of learning
It’s a cliché to say the whole year was learning, but it was. Quite apart from the fact of learning how to run a firm, the delicious law learning I got to do this year was wonderful. I remember thinking at one point when I was waist deep in some permutation of Regulations issued under the Education Act, “THIS IS SO COOL.” It is good to know my fondness for complex legal puzzles continues unabated.
I am grateful and overwhelmed at what I have been able to do this year – the great work I have been able to do, the great people I have done it for, and the immense learning and growth made possible by this firm. To all those who helped make it this way, thank you.
As I close Symphony for 2015 I wish all those reading this a relaxing, fun Christmas break filled with sunshine, good food and great company. I look forward to revving back into gear on 11 January 2016 and seeing you all then.
With best wishes for a merry Christmas and a happy new year,