Even a cursory glance at the evolution of McLennan Ross LLP’s former eponymous monikers should relay that growth is inherent to the over 100-year-old law firm. With offices in Edmonton, Calgary and Yellowknife, the firm’s humble beginnings seem far removed from today’s high-powered, 100-plus law team.
Reflecting on the firm’s tenured success, Managing Partner Steve Livingstone attributes it to the ability to handle their clients’ needs on a deeply individualized basis.“We tailor our legal services to each client and take time to understand their business and their unique requirements,” he explains. “We make sure that we’re visiting them on a regular basis, which is something similar to what CWB does with clients.
Our extensive experience working with a multitude of businesses of all sizes, crossing all industries in Alberta and the north, allows us to assist our clients in navigating legal processes in the most practical and pragmatic manner.”
Responsive by design
For McLennan Ross LLP, responsive communication comprises a critical layer in their client relationships, acting as another means through which they work to establish trust for working with their clients on a more personal level.
“We pride ourselves, right from the get-go when we bring people on as articling students, to instill in them that we have to be very responsive.
We have to get back to people in a day if they’ve emailed or called us regardless of where we might be,” says Steve. And this effort to form genuine, and effective, relationships has been key, particularly when combined with price, in maintaining McLennan Ross as an attractive option for clients with a multitude of options for legal counsel.
“We make sure we keep our rates very competitive, and that puts us in good stead with a lot of the larger clients that we work with that have choices and also use national and international firms,” Steve emphasizes. “They know our rates are better, and they’re getting equal or better service.”
Work from anywhere
While uninhibited availability for clients has been an important factor in McLennan Ross LLP’s rise to become the largest and most experienced Labour & Employment law practice group in Alberta and the north, it also poses a unique challenge with respect to work-life balance.
“It’s a very demanding profession,” admits Steve. “It’s difficult to balance that, but it can be done by making sure you stay on top of things. Just an hour a day, even if I'm somewhere where I don't want to spend an hour a day, and get it done. Then you don’t come back to the office with fires burning on your desk.”
Though the needs of clients may not necessarily stop after the workday ends, like the names of the firm itself, the nature of time and change have indelibly shaped the firm, affording Steve and his team the capacity and means to manage their workload in a much more flexible manner.
“I balance things now because I am able to access the office from wherever I am,” Steve explains. “So that allows me to go away more and work from home on the weekends instead of coming in.”
Steve notes that when he first started, it was a seven-day a week job with him being at the office every day. But remote access has helped, for instance. “Even though clients expect faster responses, it also allows you to stay on top of things from wherever you are,” says Steve, speaking to McLennan Ross LLP’s policies around remote access. The new remote access system and processes allows their teams to work and communicate from their devices, wherever they may be — a far cry from the days where being at work meant, well, being at work.
Just a call away
Just as customer service is crucial to their dealings with clients, it was something the law firm, likewise, sought in a financial partner. And one they found in CWB.
“They’re phenomenal in that regard,” says Steve in regards to CWB’s ability to understand their needs as a client. “You can speak to them and they know what you’re talking about and they understand their clients’ businesses and they’re always proactive.”
And, unsurprisingly, the bank’s responsiveness has been very appreciated. “I would say at CWB you’ll always be able to talk to someone on the phone, and they’ll be able to answer my questions,” says Steve.
“With most other banks, it’s difficult to get people on the line and that’s not the way at CWB. You don’t get automation; you’re dealing with a live person.”
CWB is here to support companies throughout every stage of their business. Speak to a CWB advisor today to see how they can help your business grow.