Ours is a story of professional serendipity…
Charlie and Joe first met in 2010. Up until then, their career paths had borne an uncanny resemblance. Both had careers in law. Both retrained as professional actors – at the same theatre academy and on the same course, though at different times. Both performed in the West End. Both combined their skills and became personal communication consultants. Both specialised in working with lawyers using experiential training. And both decided to try and revolutionise the way these skills are taught to lawyers, helping them to become expert communicators.
The stars aligned, their paths finally crossed and the stage was set perfectly for the arrival of The Personal Communications Academy for Lawyers™ – the inevitable harnessing of their skills, experience and ambition towards a single outcome – helping lawyers to maximise their personal communication skills, so that they can translate their legal excellence into commercial growth.
Charlie has trained 1,000s of lawyers at over 40 leading international and national law firms and leading in-house teams, drawing on his experiences practising at a magic circle firm and as a professional actor. Charlie works with lawyers at all levels of seniority to maximise their personal communication skills so they can build successful client relationships, win new high value business and work effectively in increasingly global teams.
The priority of personal relationships, in the face of today’s assumed technical excellence, led Charlie to set up the first consultancy of its kind, Charlie Swan Associates Ltd, specialising in personal communications training for lawyers and using a team of specialist legal roleplayers. Charlie’s understanding of the communications challenges faced by leading lawyers derives from his experience as a senior associate at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and as an in-house trainer at BLP. Practising and training internationally, over the last 13 years, has led to a deep understanding of what it is to be a successful lawyer and considerable insight into the current challenges faced by lawyers in a global legal market that is undergoing significant change.
It gives Charlie a huge amount of satisfaction to help his clients use their personal communication skills to build successful relationships and, ultimately, commercial growth for their firms. Charlie is an expert at improvised bespoke ‘realplay’ and is often in demand by senior lawyers for his sophisticated practice simulations. He is highly skilled at pitching his practical sessions at the right level of challenge to help lawyers develop their skills in a short space of time. Previously, his career as a professional actor saw him appear in the West End, including at The London Palladium, Her Majesty’s Theatre and Sadlers’ Wells. His experiences led him to specialising in the delivery of nuanced, motivating and relevant learning experiences to lawyers, borne out of their ‘real world’ challenges.
Joe has helped to deliver communications training to over 150 clients since 2001, including 40 leading global law firms and 20 FTSE 100 organisations, drawing upon his diverse background in the law, experiential training, professional theatre and witness familiarisation and executive coaching.
The first piece of the jigsaw came in the Old Bailey and client conference rooms at the inns of court in the 1990’s, working for the senior partner of one of the leading criminal firms of the time, Whitelock & Storr solicitors. This legal background ensured that a large number of leading international law firms have sought him out to help develop their lawyers into expert communicators.
He combined this legal background, with an award winning 12 year West-End acting and directing CV, having retrained as a professional actor, as well as then adding an NLP Practitioner qualification to his diversity. As the Artistic Director of MokiaGrit Productions, he produced many large scale theatrical productions and re-wrote the box office records in several of London’s premier off west-end venues.
In 2012 he brought personal communications training to the world of witness training and was a founding director of the UK’s most innovative witness familiarisation consultancy. As a result, he has trained numerous CEO’s and senior executives, involved in multi million pound legal disputes, to ensure that they communicate as effectively as possible when under pressurised questioning.
He is highly experienced in all types of experiential techniques, with a specialist expertise in improvised bespoke ‘realplay’. Using his legal background to create in the moment credible and stretching legal simulations, he has progressively worked more exclusively within the law. He uses his theatre directing background and extensive coaching experience to ensure feedback is focused, constructive, challenging and practical. His particular added value lies in his insight and understanding of how to use the Outcome-based Communication model to ensure that lawyers are able to use their personal impact tools to achieve both personal goals and the firm’s wider commercial objectives.
Passionate about people and their communication, his experiential training career has seen him work with 30 international training consultancies and 15 of the countries’ leading experiential and roleplay providers, as a personal communication consultant, coach, facilitator and business roleplayer.
Joe is also an accredited business coach, having completed his training with the Academy of Executive Coaching and receiving his accreditation with the International Coaching Federation.