For many entrepreneurs in 2020, a new curse word entered their vocabulary and it is 'pivot.' We heard time and time again that in order to survive, businesses needed to pivot and adapt. For some this meant drastically changing the way they do things in order to keep from permanently closing up shop, for others it meant being nimble and reacting to new rules and procedures as they were developed.
In the case of one Chatham-Kent business, it meant taking time to tackle those efficiency projects that always have been discussed, but never really given the resources needed to see them completed. The business that decided enough was enough and they had to pivot, was none other than Whittal and Company Law Firm.
"We know that law departments and lawyers are inherently resistant to innovation and change. Prior to COVID, we'd already started down this path – the pandemic just kicked us into high-gear," said Rachel Schwarz, Chief Strategy Officer with Whittal and Company Law Firm. "Day 1 of the pandemic we hunkered down and looked at how we can improve performance. We sat down as a team and decided that now was the time to look at how we could better use technology and supercharge things in a way we had always talked about."
In addition to improving overall operations and services for both staff and clients, they also decided this was the time to scale up and add more employees.
"In 2019 we expanded beyond our Chatham office and added a second location in Ridgetown, which no doubt made things busier for us. 2021 will bring increased growth and presence across CK. Coupled with the work we did to improve the digital capacity of our services, we are seeing growth both in Chatham-Kent and also across Ontario," said Schwarz. "We have hired six new staff members with plans to hire more, updated our digital presence, and revamped all of our services to be COVID-safe."
They also launched a service called Panoramic Plan in 2020, which is a new way of looking at estate planning for the 21st century.
"The estate planning service is significant because we are making it easier for people to do the planning work required, fast-tracking the documents they need when necessary and do it such a way that they can maintain social distancing, and craft estate solutions that address the needs of the modern family."
As an essential service, law offices are required to continue to operate, even during provincial lockdowns.
"We have always leaned into using technology in our firm, and this gave us quite the advantage to be ahead of this curve pre-pandemic," added Schwarz. "Now we have dedicated IT and Communications teams."
In addition to the growth and successful pivoting that Whittal and Company Law Firm has seen over the past year, 2021 marks a special occasion for the business.
"This is their businesses 10-year anniversary and we are so glad that the owners, Daniel and Rachel, chose to come back to Chatham-Kent after living and working abroad for many years," said Jamie Rainbird, Manager of Chatham-Kent Economic Development. "They have built a great family business in our community that is employing people, helping customers, and raising the bar for businesses everywhere. I wish them many more years, and generations, of success."
Whittal group shot 2020
The team at Whittal and Company Law Firm has been growing with six new staff members and plans to continue hiring. (Supplied photo from early 2020)
Marketing and Communications Officer
Economic Development Services, Community Development
Municipality of Chatham-Kent
124 Thames Street, Chatham, ON N7M 5K8