“I am a Managing Director of an International Helicopter flight training School and have been flying commercially in excess of 30 years. I started with a hired helicopter and moved on to eventually owning several million pounds worth of helicopters, hangar and classrooms for ground school training. In fact my company is probably the biggest of its kind in the country and I have serviced contracts providing training for up to 70 pilots from no flight experience to commercial pilots, at the same time, with no reportable incidents whatsoever. I, however, had to manage the business myself and to wear all the hats, all the time, has been very difficult and so, over the years, I have relied on professionals to assist with the more professional sides of management namely and obviously accounts and law. I have never really had much confidence in either profession and would sum most of them up as being bad pilots if I had to make a comparison to my own profession and certainly, I would not give them jobs flying! In reality what this meant was that as the economy got harder and people became more difficult to contract with I was forced more and more to rely on the legal professions. To say I became disappointed and frustrated is an understatement; I felt totally and completely at a loss, they just asked for money, then more money and then more money again; to instruct solicitors really is supporting the economy! In reality at that point, if I met another solicitor ever again, it would be too soon, the advice I was receiving was purely legal with no consideration for my business and now planning other than we will speak again when the other solicitors reply came in; of course this is distracting, I have many contracts being tendered in many countries and I needed to have a conference with a lawyer that understood my business and would sculpt the advice I needed around my business planning. All contract shave issues, the bigger the contract, the bigger the issues and of course the bigger the risk and as a small company arguing against a much larger one then there is inherent unfairness, they have more people, more money, more time, more everything including in house lawyers with all day to spend on their issues and contracting. I needed a legal company that understood business and so looked for exactly that. At one time I was in a dispute with a massive company over one of my contracts where I had invoiced for extras that they agreed to at the time and then reneged upon; the risks were equal to the costs, which were massive; it was at this stage that I realised that I was just exhausted with the entire process and the weight of carrying every task in the management of the company; the recession could easily have claimed my company as to concentrate on either training or contract dispute would mean neglecting the other and each was equally important.
I had to decide and so looked for a solicitor that had a background in business, one who might be trusted to do more than one letter at a time without me setting out for him what we might expect to see in any response and why that would be wrong; I was nervous and in fact much more so than when I send a student pilot out for his first solo flight because at least I had trained the pilot! One firm after another gave their opinion on my contract dispute; one even said just issue the proceedings against the company and force them to litigate; Nooooooo that cannot be right. It is the truth to say I spent several thousand pounds just on this matter alone until I happened into the offices of Kidwells Law; I knew of them as the MD was a pilot and in fact I had trained him myself over 20 years ago and now discovered him to be a solicitor! I met with Mr Horne, immediately I could see that he was thinking ahead, planning and listening, I spent several hours with him and no charge, none whatsoever, the advice was just that which I felt was right, do not force these people into court they will wrap the entire process up in rules and regulations and run me for the costs; at last a Lawyer that spoke Business.
I was in trouble and I knew it, I needed the money from this contract to fund the business until the next; simple business planning. Mr Horne read the contract I had with this company in such a way that opened up doors that none of the other lawyers had even mentioned; I was interested but had no more funds for lawyers, he capped the rate and wrote to the other side Very shortly afterwards we were in conference with this company that was threatening to counter claim against me for over £300,000 and always said they would not meet and discuss. Less than 2 weeks later the matter was settled and I was paid the money that was due from them which allowed me to trade on; I am not exaggerating when I say that I owed by sanity to Mr Horne, he understood, listened and acted in exactly the way he said he would and at times, to be frank, I did not really understand the full extent of the legal arguments but I trusted and I have not done that for a very long time.
Immediately after this settlement I found myself asking other business related questions of Mr Horne and very quickly I discovered that he offered business planning advice and support; I almost ripped his arm off. I have been busily moving through my business with Mr Horne discussing the future and how to structure it; along the way I have needed contracts drafted, non disclosure agreements, litigation advice employment and HR advice all of which is provided by his firm though Mr Horne whom I trust to the highest level. I can say that I now have a business advisor that opens the door to trusted business planning and legal support for me. Standing with Mr Horne, and sometimes behind him, has meant that I have been safe from those whom would take advantage or do my company harm.
My personal feelings about Mr Horne, after having taught him to fly, is that he has soared to great heights with his own career as a lawyer and business advisor. I will honestly say that for me, changing from being his instructor, to having him guide and teach me how to improve my business skills, has been one of the most enlightening experiences in my life. Very few people look back to their primary school teacher and give them the credit they deserve in teaching us the basics needed for modern life. I however am looking forward to what my business can achieve in the future with the security and guidance offered by Mr Horne and his team at Kidwells Law.