We talk to Frome-based Hoare Associates founder Richard Hoare about running a legal practice with a difference.
First, could you start by telling us a bit about Hoare Associates and what it does?
We negotiate agreements and relationships between exceptional people and companies in the music business.
Describe your workspace in three words.
Music. Library. Shed.
As the work we make ends up in the digital world, we’re always interested to know how physical spaces influence the work of our collaborators. With that in mind, what does a workspace mean to you?
During the pandemic, we made the difficult decision to give up the lease on our stunning loft space office in the centre of Frome. This was only going to be possible if everyone in our small team felt they had the right environment to work in at home. So a lot of thought and attention went into ensuring we all had a space in our homes where we could feel comfortable and focussed.
In my case, this meant repurposing the small music studio at the bottom of my garden, into a place which was as fit for work, as it was for play.
Can you talk a little about how important collaboration is in your day-to-day process?
It’s paramount. Before I started Hoare Associates in 2015, I worked for about 12 years in a traditional music law firm. It was a team of brilliant individuals, but collaboration was not high on the agenda. Building our business from the ground up, we’ve been able to take a fresh approach, and we rely heavily on the types of collaborative tools and processes which are commonplace in tech and other sectors, but not so much in traditional legal services.
We adopt kanban/lean workflows in everything we do, and we share these processes with many of our clients, for full transparency and heightened collaboration.
I was fortunate enough to be asked to write a book about negotiation for the inspirational DO Book Co. during lockdown, and the main theme of that book? You guessed it: collaboration!
Finally, what are the 3 most important objects in your workspace?
1979 Fender Rhodes MkII Electric Piano
We decided early on with the company, that music would be at the heart and soul of everything we did. This electric piano is, to me, the greatest instrument ever made. I play it every day, and it’s a constant reminder of why the words “Music” and “Business” are in that order.
This is from a local Frome artist. The dodo is our logo, which people sometimes find odd. But the rationale isn’t what you might expect. There is a passage in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland that goes:
`But who has won?'
This question the Dodo could not answer without a great deal of thought, and it sat for a long time with one finger pressed upon its forehead (the position in which you usually see Shakespeare, in the pictures of him), while the rest waited in silence. At last the Dodo said, `EVERYBODY has won, and all must have prizes.'
We strive to make every negotiation a win/win.
Francis Bacon’s “Soundhouses” Quote
The pioneers of electronic music The BBC’s Radiophonic Workshop, had this on their studio wall, so if it’s good enough for them….
It describes in vivid detail, a modern recording studio. But it was written almost 400 years ago. It’s source of mystery and inspiration, Was Bacon a magician? A time traveller? Was he, as many people believe, the true author of Shakespeare’s works? Who knows…. Would he have produced absolute bangers if he was alive in the 21st century? Almost certainly.