A new specialist workplace law firm Crushell & Co Solicitors has come into being, spurred on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Founded by solicitor Barry Crushell, the new business Crushell & Co aims to address employers’ and employees’ need for clear, concise and actionable advice on employment-related legal issues in the wake of the pandemic and its impact on the Irish workforce.

“One of the issues many companies and individuals encounter, is obtaining expert legal advice, particularly as it applies to workplace legal and regulatory matters,” Crushell explained. “Very often, the expertise these people require, is available in a prohibitively expensive large commercial law firm.

“Never has the need for clear, concise, and actionable employment and workplace legal advice been more evident”

“The alternative is to try their local general practice solicitor, who, although familiar with certain aspects of employment or workplace law, is not fully engrossed in the practice. Crushell & Co is trying to bridge that gap, by providing expertise on workplace legal and regulatory matters, at an accessible price.

“At its core, my firm is all about providing solutions. People come to us with a problem, and we try to resolve it. Very often, lawyers offer a legal theory, to a complex workplace issue. A differentiator from other law firms, is that I have worked in senior management roles, implementing the advice I now offer my clients. That real-world experience, as both an employer and employee, gives me the context I need to translate theory, into tangible solutions.”

Peacekeeper turned lawyer

Crushell began his professional life as an army officer, serving with the UN on a number of international deployments, and later qualified as a solicitor with Arthur Cox.

“The legal profession is a very conservative one, however, I have been guided by a number of friends and mentors outside of law, who have used sound business principles to grow and develop their businesses”

“I most recently founded the Dublin and London offices of a US law firm, serving in a senior leadership role.

“It seems strange to say it, but the Covid-19 crisis prompted me to set-up my firm, for two reasons.

“Firstly, the level of uncertainty and volatility in the economy and the workforce is unprecedented. Never has the need for clear, concise, and actionable employment and workplace legal advice been more evident. My firm will provide clarity to both employers and employees who avail of our services.

“Secondly, Covid-19 has accelerated agile and remote working. For those firms who embrace a technologically driven operating platform, the operational cost savings can be immense, which results in cost-savings to our clients. Although we are in the eye of the storm, it may just be the perfect storm for our new practice!”

By the book

As a newly minted entrepreneur, Crushell believes that many of the traditional practices of the legal world still matter.

“I do believe I can build a unique practice, within the Irish legal market and don’t want to regret never trying”

“Although the legal profession has changed significantly over the past number of years, the fundamental principles in establishing a practice remain constant: Law Society approval, indemnity insurance and clients!

“The legal profession is a very conservative one, however, I have been guided by a number of friends and mentors outside of law, who have used sound business principles to grow and develop their businesses.”

His thoughts on building a business have been tempered by hard-won experience. “Document best practice from the beginning! I’ve been through this process before, setting up the Dublin and London offices of a US law firm. What I learned from that experience, was ‘be prepared to scale from day one’.

“As you set up systems, processes and procedures, think about what you can do to help future colleagues adapt and thrive within your workplace. As I go about my day-to-day business, I try to record best practice, so that my learnings are accessible to others. It could be as simple as clarifying what font to use in a letter, to drafting a template engagement letter itself. Documenting how things are to be done reduces ambiguity and uncertainty, ensuring high operating procedures and practices are maintained by all. “

His advice to fellow founders is to believe in themselves. “They say we regret the things we don’t do, rather than the things we do. I don’t want to regret never backing myself. I do believe I can build a unique practice, within the Irish legal market and don’t want to regret never trying.”

Like most business owners navigating the pandemic, Crushell has found technology has been the fundamental and intrinsic link to keep the show on the road.

“Covid-19 has done more to progress agile working in six months than would ordinarily be expected in six years! My goal is to build a firm, where a solicitor can service a client just as well from London as they could in Longford. We have an operating model that can work entirely remotely, using advanced technology and a robust practice management system.”

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 2 September, 2020

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