Q&A with Adrian Jaggard, Taylor Rose MW CEO
This issue, Chaynee Hodgetts interviews Taylor Rose MW’s CEO, Adrian Jaggard.
Founded in 2009, as Taylor Rose Law, Taylor Rose MW is a firm which has successfully undertaken several mergers, with firms such as Tucker Turner Kingsley Wood and McMillan Williams Solicitors. It currently has around 500 employees and 350 fee-earning consultants, generating revenues of £70m in the year ending September 2021. Primarily focused on consumer law, Taylor Rose MW operates in sectors, including private client, family, criminal law and property law, where it is a top three UK conveyancer. The firm also has a leading consultancy division, with numbers increasing. This issue, we speak with the firm’s CEO, Adrian Jaggard.
Thank you for joining us, Adrian. Please tell us about yourself – what is your current role, and what do you enjoy most about it?
I am the CEO of AIIC, a group of progressive companies that are focussed on legal services and value-add services. I am also the CEO of its largest subsidiary, Taylor Rose MW.
I have enjoyed our journey a great deal. We have faced many challenges associated with our pace of growth, but resolving them makes us stronger each time.
What do you find most challenging about what you do?
My primary challenge is to keep communicating with colleagues in AIIC, Taylor Rose MW and our other businesses. Everyone says it but taking time out to listen to what’s going on, as well as explain what’s happening is so important and something that I should be doing more of.
What led you to the role you’re in today?
Fate. I fell into legal services as a law costs draftsman for a local law firm. From the start, I found it easier to succeed in a work environment than school (possibly explained by undiagnosed dyslexia at the time).
After a couple of employed roles, my brother and I formed a successful costs business (Jaggards). We later returned to learning to become solicitors. My brother was first to do this and I followed, driven by the greatest motivation of all, not being outdone by your younger brother!
We formed Taylor Rose in 2008 and the wider AIIC group has grown around it.
What is a typical working day like for you?
I work closely with two assistants and together we manage a high volume of tasks emanating from my roles. My days are usually spent doing one of:
- Weekly Teams/calls with key personnel in the AIIC group;
- Managing two or three key projects, usually linked to improving us somehow;
- Engaging with wider stakeholders (insurers, banks, media etc.);
- Exploring opportunities such as M&A and investment;
- Catching up on emails.
Are you involved in any charitable or pro bono work?
Not at the moment, but I plan to look for an opportunity later on this year.
I was historically a trustee of two charities, both of which helped children with disabilities and their families.
Where do you see your firm heading in the next few years?
The legal services market remains fragmented, with many lawyers on the consumer/SME side approaching a crossroads imposed by increasing client expectations and a need to modernise.
Taylor Rose MW is trying hard to build on its past successes and stay on the leading edge of our evolving market. We want to be attractive to talented lawyers when they reach their crossroads, offering a great opportunity for them, whether as an employee, business partner or consultant.
What are the main projects you are working on at the moment?
We are currently looking at our growth funding options for the next few years, working on a strategy to make sure that we can keep pace with market changes and our anticipated growth. As part of this, we are taking the opportunity to have a long look at ourselves, improving parts of the business and filling one or two roles that should be in place for a business of our size.
I am directly managing a project to overhaul our people onboarding process. We have scoped requirements from a stakeholder group and have reviewed options. We are currently working with a preferred provider to introduce a new seamless onboarding process for employees and consultants.
Which things would you most like to change in your sector, in an ideal, or more practical, world?
The legal services sector is comprised of businesses that have all the conventional commercial pressures, but many also carry out an important social function when they routinely protect vulnerable sections of society. Government support and industry prioritisation for community services are at an all-time low. Publicly funded work is now often associated with smaller, sometimes struggling law firms, not receiving recognition or proper reward. Reform is needed.
A joined-up effort to eradicate paper would be welcome. We still receive an immense number of letters that we have to scan onto our systems, it just seems completely unnecessary nowadays.
Are there any laws you think need to change?
Research confirms that there continues to be a large unmet legal need in the UK. This can be partly addressed by new and evolving service providers, but much still rests on legislation and swift access to government functions like the Land Registry or the court system. Reform has an opportunity to modernise processes and improve public perception and experience.
What would your advice be to new starters in your firm or role?
I once mentioned to a trainee solicitor at Taylor Rose MW my view that a socially strong lawyer who is technically average would usually be more successful than a technically strong lawyer that is socially average. I recall that they doubted the statement at the time, but having seen both play out many times over the years, I stand by this statement.
A lawyer starting out in their career needs to build strong relationships with their colleagues and clients from the outset.
What one thing do you wish you’d known before now?
Once you get to a certain size, you can trust in success if you have underlying quality of service.
What do you do to ensure work-life balance when you’re not working?
Not enough, unfortunately. Holidays are sacred and increasing as I get older.
What are your hopes for the future in your own sector and field of influence?
We have an opportunity to get a lot better over the next few years, close the gap on other sectors and then hopefully take those skills to other jurisdictions.
Are there any key issues you would like to discuss or raise awareness of?
When many talk of the evolution of legal services, there is often an assumption that the changes are driven by the next iteration of technology. While technology is a facilitator, the pandemic has shown us that different ways of working can deliver giant leaps in wellbeing and efficiency. This was achieved through large-scale adoption of existing technologies. In the same way, consultancy-led legal services (especially in consumer law) will play a big part in our sector’s future.
Adrian Jaggard, CEO of Taylor Rose MW, was interviewed by Chaynee Hodgetts, Features & Opinion Editor and Barrister with Libertas Chambers: taylor-rose.co.uk