As a leading expert on contracts in the logistics sector, the appeal of law to business lawyer Nigel Kotani has always been the technical aspect, but he was frustrated at the opportunities offered in traditional firms for those who didn’t want to take the conventional career path to become a partner.
After 10 years of working in a large City law firm, where he gained extensive experience of listing African natural resource companies on the AIM market, and significant transactional experience in the Former Soviet Union, Nigel was attracted to an opportunity presented by an ex-colleague.
“He specialised in logistics and was great at getting new work, while I enjoyed delivering for the clients. The first month was idyllic and then the recession hit. My business partner decided on a total career change so I took over the practice as a sole practitioner and inherited a client base, office and trainees – plus a large cost base.
“In two years, the cost of our PI insurance quadrupled – it was extremely tough.”
Nigel looked at opportunities with both large firms – “our billings were just below the threshold that they wanted” – and smaller outfits: “It didn’t appeal. I knew I would be no better off than I was currently.”
A solution to our PI liability
In 2012, Nigel was introduced to Excello Law managing director George Bisnought. “It was exactly the right thing for me at exactly the right time. After four years of intense stress and pressure running my own practice, everything was taken off my hands when I joined the firm – administration, accounts, website – and Excello offered a solution to our PI insurance liability.
“The stress of just having to survive disappeared and allowed me to focus just on the work – it was absolutely brilliant.”
Nigel has recruited other lawyers to join Excello Law and enjoys working within an informal team of highly-experienced corporate, employment and banking lawyers. “I have known many of them for 20 years, we cross-refer business amongst ourselves. It feels like a team within a firm, although we all choose to work how, when and where we want to.
“It was a very natural transition for me to work in an agile environment. I have always worked with many international businesses so don’t do a lot of face to face transactions. I am used to working remotely and being directly responsible to my clients. You have to be able to bring in your own work and deliver on all key aspects of service to your clients, although we also have the full resources of the central support team.
“I can’t imagine going back to a 9-5 firm. After four years at Excello Law, even my wife has thanked George for the positive, life-changing opportunity. We’re planning to go backpacking in India over Christmas because I know I have the cover in place with my colleagues. I couldn’t have done that before.”