Number of lawyers in team: 16
Q&A with restructuring and insolvency lawyer, Aman Sehgal who joined in 2017 from Muckle
When and how did you hear about Keystone and what were your initial thoughts?
Through general marketing at the time that Keystone were doing, primarily online and on LinkedIn. I was aware of the firm and had been aware of it for a while as I had considered flexible working before joining. I had been a bit wary of taking the leap of faith, but the LawSetFree website and advertising was quite persuasive, particularly when you worked out how much you could be earning, which was quite compelling.
Since joining Keystone, is the firm what you expected or different? And how?
It’s much better in every way, to be frank. Anyone joining a new firm is always nervous, but I was particularly nervous due to the unique structure of Keystone. I always pictured that you would be working solo but was pleasantly surprised with how joined-up the firm was with events and marketing etc.
How long did it take you to transition to the firm and how would you describe the first few weeks/months and the support available?
I think I fully transitioned into the firm within a few months. The first few weeks were daunting because it was so unknown as to how successful you would be, and also that there are 300 colleagues you don’t know. Within a month at my first CPD session the firm connected me with people I would work well with or who I would get on with. Everyone was extremely welcoming and supportive. CPD is great way to get to know people and as a source of work.
How would you describe the Restructuring & Insolvency team and your colleagues in this area?
Incredibly experienced, which is fantastic as there is always someone who has been there and done something and who you can ask for support. Whilst we are spread far and wide, we make an effort to stay in touch. It has been challenging throughout lockdown but we have regular contact over email and video call to make sure everyone is okay or to discuss any challenges someone is experiencing.
With the support team based in a different location to you, how have you found this and how does it compare to a traditional firm?
That was something I was nervous of, particularly being based in Newcastle, with the main support team being London-based. I was used to one-on-one support teams at a traditional firm. However, it’s been far superior to what I’ve experienced before, and the location has made no difference whatsoever. It’s probably actually enhanced the service, as the team go above and beyond to support you.
How did your clients feel about your move? Has the way you worked with them changed and where/how do you meet with them?
There were lots of questions from clients as they weren’t quite sure as to the nature of the practice and a number of them hadn’t heard of Keystone. I found myself explaining the nature of the firm and my role within it. Once I did this, they very quickly got onboard as they understood it gave me my own practice outside the traditional law firm. They were supportive and wanted to help me with the transition.
How does Keystone compare to setting up on your own?
It is something I considered, but having seen people I know go to set up their own practice and listening to some of their horror stories in terms of the time needed to run the business and their own practice, finding the hours in the day felt impossible. Keystone gives the best of both worlds, running your own practice without all the red tape and behind the scenes.
Have you needed to enlist support from other colleagues on matters and how did that work?
During lockdown I was instructed by a client for the administration of a plumbing and heating business with multiple sites, so I needed input from property, IP and employment in relation to the sale of a business which had to be turned around in 72 hours. Being able to call on colleagues up and down the country was very useful and to the client was seamless.
Are the IT systems well equipped to deal with Restructuring & Insolvency work?
Fantastically well. The IT system allows us to onboard a client as quickly as possible with minimal fuss. For something like an administration this is particularly useful as the set-up generally has to be done in a 24- or 48-hr period. We spend time on the matter rather than the administrative process.
Is there anything else that you pay for which is not covered by the firm and which a new lawyer should budget for?
I am based in Newcastle and have teamed up with some other lawyers based in the area to rent an office space and we also have our own paralegal. This is slightly different to most Keystone lawyers who will not have the overheads of an office due to working from home.
Has your life changed since moving to Keystone and if so, how?
Yes, massively in terms of having the autonomy and flexibility to work to my own schedule. I have two young kids in school so it’s great to have the flexibility to drop them off or pick them up and not be worried about being at work. Generally being able to manage client relationships myself has made a huge difference.
What advice would you give to a Restructuring & Insolvency lawyer thinking of joining Keystone?
Consider it carefully but if you have the drive and appetite to run your own practice without the administrative burden of running your own firm, then Keystone is an ideal option. We have a large number of experienced R & I lawyers and it’s a great team to be a part of. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone.