27/05/2010 - 00:00

Confidence remains the key for HHG

27/05/2010 - 00:00

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THERE is an air of confidence around HHG Legal director Simon Creek.

Confidence remains the key for HHG

THERE is an air of confidence around HHG Legal director Simon Creek.

That confidence is understandable for the director of a law firm which has grown from six to 70 staff in only seven years, has lifted turnover by 133 per cent in his time with the business, and has moved from Albany to its new home in West Perth.

Mr Creek moved to Albany when he was asked to restore and introduce innovation to the practice of an established law firm and competitor to Hudson Henning and Goodman. Law school friend and now business partner, Murray Thornhill, joined him later.

“I went down in 2000 at 26 and became a partner in that firm, for four years I was in over my head. I grew that from three to 21. The commercial lesson at that point was no matter how hard you work to fix something that is terminally ill, bandaids will only go so far,” Mr Creek says of the roadblocks they faced in renovating the culture of a well-established firm.

Frustrated by the limitations to the growth of the other firm, Messrs Creek and Thornhill approached the owner of Hudson Henning and Goodman, who was only too happy to sell the firm.

“When he was given the chance to sell it to two young guns, he couldn’t have been happier,” Mr Creek told WA Business News.

From there, the business partners set about creating change in the ways HHG operated.

“The place was a shambles in every way you could imagine. It had a strong enough batch of loyal clients who as soon as they saw reinvigoration, flooded back. And that is the only catalyst we needed,” Mr Creek says.

“We set about from day dot, refusing to limit what could happen.”

Mr Creek says HHG’s approach to putting clients as the number one priority is the firm’s point of difference.

He says the most important aspect of client interaction is to encourage an understanding of the law among the firm’s clientele, and “encouraging them to work with us so they were satisfied they were getting value for money”.

“It was fairly basic stuff by that point in many other professions and aspects of commerce, but quite radical in the law,” Mr Creek says.

“That has permeated right the way through and has led to huge growth.”

He says putting clients and the fundamental goal of law – helping people – has been instrumental in the firm being one of the fastest growing in WA.

“We’ve always intrinsically believed that if we are good at what we do, that if we look after clients to the highest level, if we are kind and generous to our staff, incidentally along the way, we will make a dollar out of it,” Mr Creek said.

“At the end of the day, what you are doing is using a lot of knowledge and hopefully a lot of skill, to actually help people. When law firms forget that, they deserve all of the jokes that are out there about the profession.”

Messrs Creek and Thornhill aim to increase the company’s staff to 100, expanding its services into workplace relations and employment law.

 

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