Interview with: Goli-Michelle Banan, Head of Residential Real Estate
Head of Residential Real Estate, Goli-Michelle Banan, talks about the firm’s client-focused approach and evolution of traditional working practices
1) What do you see as the main points that differentiate LS from your competitors?
The founding partners have a clear vision as to what a good law firm should be and are very aware that clients pick up on a supportive culture that we have here. The firm’s motto, after all, is “We’re a people business”, which effectively means that whilst every top-level law firm we know the law, but what really counts is connecting with our clients and delivering advice in a relatable and human way. Compared to most firms, we have also had a low turnover of staff.
2) Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?
Traditionally the law has been process-driven but LS takes a holistic approach — as trusted advisors, there has always been an eye on developing clients’ businesses.
Sports and Entertainment has recently launched at LS and I see this area growing further owing to how niche it is and few firms have great people covering this sector. You may have seen we acted recently for Harry Kane in his transfer from THS to BM. I also see the New Build Residential Real Estate team growing. We have a lot of developers and agents searching for new solicitors who are proactive and do not allow the volume of business to let service levels drop so we have swooped in as a serious contender in this field meaning expansion will be required.
3) What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?
Adding new departments to ensure all their needs are met as well as their family members, associates etc – Sports and Entertainment and New Build Real Estate (as above), as well as Enfranchisement, Regulatory Solutions (involving (a) CBD Wellness markets; (b) Medicinal Cannabis sector (CBPMs); and (c) Cryptoassets and non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs).
4) Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?
Most definitely, we have had to adapt our working practices to keep up with AI being adopted by other businesses, not just law firms. We have a new sophisticated case management system, we have other platforms for various different reasons to make life easier and communication more fast and effective
5) Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?
We have seen and assisted, for example, a well known chain that makes the best cakes in London [Café Concerto, but please do not name them] go from a small business to the large chain that it is today (we were with it from the start!).
We worked around the clock all weekend when Harry Kane transferred from THS to BM – no call or message was too late or inconvenient, that team relentlessly and tirelessly worked to ensure the deal was done over the weekend
6) Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three year’s time?
I am not sure whether all clients pay attention to the stability and growth of their law firm. They tend to be more invested in the stability and growth of the individual or individuals that they work with at the firm. Having said that, certain key news and media coverage can encourage existing and new clients and that is the result of the firm’;s strategic growth and planning.
I suspect in three year’s time, we may some of the ‘NextGen’ directors running the firm alongside the current Senior Directors and there will be significant further growth whether that be normal recruitment or smaller practice take overs.