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Inspirational Woman: Lauren Riley | Solicitor at Labrums & Female Entrepreneur

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Head and shoulders

Keen to dispel the image of a stuffy solicitor, 29-year-old Lauren Riley is anything but. Recently strutting her stuff on BBC1’s The Apprentice, the keep fit fan is the embodiment of today’s modern business woman and is determined to give the letter of the law a ‘facelift.’ She is a firm believer that today’s leading business women can be both professional and glamorous.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and what you do currently

I am a qualified solicitor. I decided to specialise in family law as I wanted to make a real difference. I was prepared for being put through the mill emotionally, especially when dealing with cases involving children, but at times it can still be challenging. At the moment I am a consultant solicitor at Labrums. I also enjoy keeping fit and am particularly interested in nutrition.

Personally I love the flexibility. It usually means I work many more hours than my employed counterparts but the sense of achievement in each small step is very gratifying.

What inspired you to start a business?

In my everyday role as a lawyer I was constantly surprised by the amount of my working day which comprised providing fairly simple updates to a client. I would constantly hear the complaints of my colleagues about how frustrating this was to them. The Link App was born organically from the need of lawyers for more effective communication and of clients to be kept in the loop more during their cases.

You created The Link App; how does it work?

The Link App is the ultimate tool for busy law firms looking to thrive in an increasingly competitive market, improve customer service, save time and money, and increase productivity.

Ultimately, The Link App serves to increase productivity across the working day, by keeping clients ‘in the loop’ without the need for back and forth communication, freeing up valuable time.

It’s quick, easy, and efficient – ideal for busy law firms, and designed to compliment their existing system.

Once logged in, they’ll find all their clients listed alphabetically and can begin to see how The Link App will improve client management and the efficient running of files.

The Link App is designed to update clients on their case quickly, using our pre-populated list of standard case updates, or tailoring a message. For example, ‘drainage search back: no issues’ or ‘contracts exchanged at 10.30am, completion due in seven days.’

In turn, clients can use the ‘request a call back’ feature, prioritizing calls in terms of urgency. This allows law firms to speak to them at a convenient time, when they are completely focused on their case, maximising the value of time spent on the phone. Not only this, but cases can be accessed securely at any time of day, across desktop, phone, or tablet.

Ultimately, law firms save both time and money, making it easier to operate in a highly competitive market and providing an exceptional customer experience.

What is the greatest challenge and the greatest reward in being your own boss?

Personally I love the flexibility. It usually means I work many more hours than my employed counterparts but the sense of achievement in each small step is very gratifying. The challenging part is definitely to strike the balance and step away from the laptop after late evenings and weekends. Honestly, I haven’t quite managed that part yet but helpfully in the future I will.

I think networking is really important. I see so many people doing it crudely, only showing interest in the CEO of a company etc. I think that you are always a representation of your company and you should foster relationships at all levels.

What motivational tips can you give to our members about goal setting and managing both successes and failures?

I believe in setting aspirational goals. A ‘shoot for the stars’ approach and if you fail you still ‘land on a cloud’ mentality. Setting big goals with a touch of realism has been my strategy. Write them down and keep your overall goals in the forefront of your mind.

Take stock mentally when you can and do not be too hard on yourself. I try to find a mini victory every day, then, when I look back on the past six months, I almost can’t believe how much of what I set out to do has been achieved. A positive mental attitude goes a long way.

I think networking is really important. I see so many people doing it crudely, only showing interest in the CEO of a company etc. I think that you are always a representation of your company and you should foster relationships at all levels.

What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a business owner?

I have entered the tech field from a legal background. This was always going to be daunting. I have always been honest that my strengths lie in my knowledge of the legal market and my ability to drive the company forward as opposed to the software development itself.

I have been very selective about who The Link App engages and so far this combination has been a successful one.

How have you benefited from mentoring or coaching?

So far my experience of this has not been entirely positive. There are many schemes out there and particularly at the beginning I reached out to a few of them. However I found that they were offering conflicting advice. I think having mentors is important, so I have mostly drawn inspiration from the people in business I respect .

What advice can you give about the benefits of networking?

I think networking is really important. I see so many people doing it crudely, only showing interest in the CEO of a company etc. I think that you are always a representation of your company and you should foster relationships at all levels. In my opinion people buy people and that’s where networking is so valuable. From what I understand of those who have wanted to do business with me, it’s because of the way I have presented myself.

I believe in setting aspirational goals. A ‘shoot for the stars’ approach and if you fail you still ‘land on a cloud’ mentality.

What are your tips for scaling a business and how do you plan for and manage growth?

The Link App is a relatively new company at the beginning of its journey so I wouldn’t feel qualified to talk about scalability. I know I have many ideas to take The Link App forward but I have chosen to concentrate of the legal sector to begin with as this is my area of expertise.

I believe in setting aspirational goals. A ‘shoot for the stars’ approach and if you fail you still ‘land on a cloud’ mentality.

What does the future hold for you?

I am so very excited and optimistic about the future. I have had so much positive feedback following my recent television exposure and this has been a source of inspiration to me. The first version of The Link App will be ready at the end of November and we are currently in talks with interested parties regarding investment. I will continue to practise law too.

Lauren Riley is a consultant solicitor at Labrums and creator of The Link App www.thelinkapp.co.uk, which is available for download on iOS and Android devices from the App Store and Google Play from late November.

Find out more about Lauren here

Website: www.laurenriley.co.uk

Twitter: @misslaurenriley

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