Despite the baptism of fire in co-founding her own legal firm, Emma King remains intent on doing things differently.

What is your business called?

Complete Clarity Solicitors; our sister brand is called Simplicity Legal. I’m also the co-owner and director of Onwards Answering.

Where is it based?

While our offices are in Glasgow city centre, we assist clients all over Scotland.

What does it produce/do?

Complete Clarity Solicitors and Simplicity Legal is a full-service law firm providing legal advice covering family law, guardianship, executries, property, employment law and commercial litigation.

To whom does it sell?

Our client base is diverse, from individuals and sole traders to small and medium-sized enterprises up to large-scale companies.

What is its turnover?

In our last financial year we achieved a turnover of £1.5 million

How many employees?

In September 2023 we had a headcount of 34, a year-on-year increase of 54%

Why did you take the plunge?

I wanted to be a lawyer since I was in primary school. No one, including me, knows where the idea came from. None of my family are lawyers or anything close.

From that decision being made I concentrated all my efforts on achieving that goal. For both university and traineeship I narrowed to one option and went for it.

After working flat out to achieve these goals, at two years qualified I paused and realised that while I loved what I did and what I had learned, I hadn’t achieved another goal which was to travel, so I declined an offer of promotion and flew to Beijing six weeks later, entirely solo, to have a five-month sabbatical. That time taught me to value what I had achieved but also where I wanted to go next.

On my return I took up the promoted post and went to run a branch office for a couple of years before taking up a position in another firm. Four weeks in the door, my now business partner approached me with an opportunity to join him and build something special. As an extremely new business it was a huge risk but I could see the potential to make an impact and do things differently, and I took the plunge. I haven’t looked back.

Onwards Answering was born out of a need of the two businesses to have an intelligent and integrated call answering service which, on discovering no equivalent in the marketplace, we decided to create.

What do you least enjoy?

I struggle with seeing something being done poorly where a little effort will result in a far better outcome. Business-wise, it's networking that still fills me with fear!

What are your ambitions for the firm?

My ambition for the firm is to nurture, grow and develop everyone we have to be the best that they can be. This has been front and centre of our focus in recent times and has delivered considerable success. I know that if I achieve this ambition our business will deliver excellent service to even more clients, and the financial growth which flows from that.

What single thing would most help?

More people joining our firm, particularly those who have practiced in the legal sector for some time but have a desire to be part of a team that grows and supports one another.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned?

Be adaptable. I’m a planner and I hate it when things don’t go to plan. However, running the businesses has taught me that I have to roll with the punches, adapt and come up with a new plan whilst learning from what just happened that caused the last plan to fail.

Where do you find yourself most at ease?

In the office, it's listening to those around me and absorbing the environment that I and they have created. Outwith work it is absolutely being at home, glass of red wine in hand surrounded by family and close friends having just cooked up a feast.

If you weren’t in your current role, what job would you most fancy?

International travel blogger – being paid to travel and have experiences would be just amazing as I thrive on seeing and experiencing new places.

What phrase or quotation has inspired you the most?

The first is "Everything happens for a reason". And it’s what I cling to when plans have gone awry.

The other is "The goal cannot be achieved with me being the lawyer". A wise man, business coach Forbes Bryce, allowed me to see and adapt this revelation so that by doing things differently I could achieve more. By stepping back and developing into the role I now have, which is focused on the operational running of the business and the training and support within, I can ensure that a far greater reach of people can receive excellently delivered legal services.

What is the best book you have ever read? Why is it the best?

For reasons aforementioned it's The Lonely Planet Career Break Handbook, which reignited my travel bug. That time wasn’t just about the travel, it allowed me to realise what I had achieved and where I wanted to go to. It taught me a huge amount about my personal resilience and what I’m capable of.

What has been your most challenging moment in life or business?

Covid-19. I vividly remember 17th March 2020 - it was six days before the government’s unprecedented stay at home announcement when I delivered our own internal "stay at home" message to the team. In that first month business went off a cliff. Together, however, we came through and the business we have now is fundamentally improved because of those experiences.

What do you now know that you wish you had known when starting out in your career?

That the wee girl who liked to argue and came from a never-heard-of state school, and who had no guidance or light to follow in the legal profession, is good enough. Then again without those demons, and facing up to them, I suspect I’d be a very different character.