Andrew Taylor founded Net Lawman in 1991. His career before then was largely spent as a solicitor and he has over 25 years experience of working in private practice. He has handled many areas of law, but his expertise has always been in commercial property, and more generally, in commercial and company law.
Andrew has also spent significant time away from the legal profession – “work on the other side of the desk” as he calls it. In the 1970’s he built a jewelry manufacturing business that both sold to trade and direct to customers through retail concessions in large department stores. In the late 1980’s he started a commercial property company that he eventually listed on AIM. During his career, he has also had interests (as a shareholder or as a director) in a great diversity of businesses, from garden centers to industrial conglomerates to Internet dating sites. It is the change of status between advisor and client that has given Andrew his unique ability to see what a client needs. He can draw documents that provide not only an excellent legal framework but also many sensible (and some cunning) commercial provisions.
Andrew has always embraced the use of technology in law. He laughs when he recalls being a founder member of the Society for Computers and Law in 1979: having a computer on his desk before IBM thought of a PC in the days when many solicitors were still coming to terms with a calculator. His quest then was the same as it is now: to promote the commoditization of the provision of all legal services and to make the law more accessible. Andrew now controls Net Lawman from the Director’s chair and doubles as a chief legal draftsman with a passion for drawing excellent documents.
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Table of Contents
Let’s start with a brief introduction first. Introduce yourself to our readers.
Andrew Taylor: Hi there.
I am the director and founder of Net Lawman, an online-based legal document template platform established in 1991. We work with businesses and individuals to provide legal and financial advice to ensure that they are making the most of what is available to them.
Our audience is interested to know about how you got started in the first place. Did you always want to become a CEO or was it something you were led to? Our readers would love to know your story!
Andrew Taylor: I have always had an interest in business entrepreneurship and having gained relevant experience in business management and as a lawyer, I decided to follow my passion and build my own business.
“Selfmade” is a myth. We all received help, no doubt you love to show appreciation to those who supported you when the going got tough, who has been your most important professional inspiration?
Andrew Taylor: Inspiration? Steve Jobs. Personal support? There have been countless individuals who have helped throughout the years.
How did your journey lead you to become a CEO? What difficulties did you face along the way and what did you learn from them?
Andrew Taylor: I became frustrated with the system in place for law firms and rather, the inability to connect with clients when they needed us, not after the fact when we are approached out of desperation. I wanted to provide a system to enable those who need legal documentation but don’t want to pay for a lawyer straight away, the chance to get what they need the first time, rather than make crucial mistakes along the way.
Tell us about your company. What does your business do and what are your responsibilities as a CEO?
Andrew Taylor: We provide legal documentation for businesses and individuals so that they can confidently move forward with their needs, knowing the documents they hold are legit without needing to go through a lawyer to obtain them. We provide additional support where needed.
What does CEO stand for? Beyond the dictionary definition, how would you define it?
Andrew Taylor: Calm, Empathetic, and Open.
When you first became a CEO, how was it different from what you expected? What surprised you?
Andrew Taylor: I expected pressure, but there was more than I anticipated. Employees washed their hands of responsibilities, rather than working together as a team, they expected leadership before stepping up to the plate. I quickly learned that trust and respect needed to be earned.
There are many schools of thought as to what a CEO’s core roles and responsibilities are. Based on your experience, what are the main things a CEO should focus on? Explain and please share examples or stories to illustrate your vision.
Andrew Taylor: Absolute confidence. When making major corporate decisions, well, you are never going to please anyone. You show an ounce of hesitancy, and people will jump on this, and should something ever go slightly awry (as can be expected), you will be doubted again in the future. If you are confident with your decision and with its progression, then there is less doubt.
Share with us one of the most difficult decisions you had to make for your company that benefited your employees or customers. What made this decision so difficult and what were the positive impacts?
Andrew Taylor: Going global. Certainly beneficial for the company, but it was difficult to step out, reject great local talent and move into the global market.
How would you define success? Does it mean generating a certain amount of wealth, gaining a certain level of popularity, or helping a certain number of people?
Andrew Taylor: Waking up each day feeling great about the day before and excited about the day to come.
Some leadership skills are innate while others can be learned. What leadership skills do you possess innately and what skills have you cultivated over the years as a CEO?
Andrew Taylor: A keen interest in technology since the 90s, has been greatly beneficial to me, allowing me to be ahead of the game and not playing ‘catch-up’. Confidence in my actions – decisiveness. The patience to listen.
How did your role as a CEO help your business overcome challenges caused by the pandemic? Explain with practical examples.
Andrew Taylor: We were already digitally apt., completely digital, giving us an edge over other law firms just getting to grips with using a digital playing field. We had a strong reputation already, so people turned to us in their time of need for legal documentation during lockdowns.
Do you have any advice for aspiring CEOs and future leaders? What advice would you give a CEO that is just starting on their journey?
Andrew Taylor: Find your strengths and play to them. Do not waste too much time upskilling in other fields, rather employ people who know what they are doing. Outsourcing is your friend. Take time to understand your skills, consider ones you need to learn and others you don’t. Stop hesitating and ‘take the bull by its horns”
Thank you for sharing some of your knowledge with our readers! They would also like to know, what is one skill that you’ve always wanted to acquire but never really could?
Andrew Taylor: A creative outlet, whether it be painting or tai chi, I haven’t the mind for it and I wish I did.
Before we finish things off, we have one final question for you. If you wrote a book about your life today, what would the title be?
Andrew Taylor: ‘The logical path’
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Andrew Taylor for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Andrew Taylor or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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