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do criminal law. We joke that we accompany you all the way through your life – we’re with you when you buy your house; when you need a will to go with that; when perhaps you’re unfortunate to need us if you go through a divorce and we may possibly handle your probate when you die. But joking aside, developing these long-term relationships is important as people build wealth and their lives become more complex.


You’ve grown very quickly – how did that happen? Although mergers and acquisitions have driven our growth, they have opened up opportunities for us to build new relationships from which we’ve been able to grow organically. Our size has also meant we can attract new legal talent who bring with them new areas of expertise, new contacts and relationships etc. For instance, we now have a clinical negligence department, which we didn’t have 4 years ago. As our brand grows, we’ve attracted new types of work, often more complex, which has been very satisfying. Our partnership is very balanced in ages and gender (50:50 men/ women), which is really positive. Our work in wills, probate and lasting power of attorney has grown significantly in the last few years – a local ageing and relatively well-off population impacts a lot on this work. Our conveyance work obviously


took a big hit after the 2008 financial crash but we’ve recovered much of this by working hard to develop close relationships with estate agencies and improve the quality of our service. It’s easy for clients to go elsewhere if we don’t.


Is the location of your offices or long-standing relationships


important in winning business? Yes, these remain important but clients are a lot savvier nowadays. They will do their research; go online to look at lawyers’ websites etc. We are fortunate that not every client buys solely on price – it depends on the quality of service. Does the client like the brand? Do we engage properly with the client when they first call us and again throughout the process? Do we communicate and deliver when we say we will? Does the client trust us? It’s these issues that differentiate


us from other lawyers and ultimately influences whether we win or retain business. We find that clients prefer dealing with people who are interested in them. Often, lawyers can be useless at this sort of stuff. My role as Practice Director is to ensure we do all this properly. My background was in Hospitality in which the customer is key. It’s that approach that has served me well in this role. There may not be the expert locally when you wander into, say our Dartmouth office, but we can quickly direct you to the person in our organisation, who has the necessary expertise. But each office will have different knowledge and expertise that may be very relevant to that location e.g. in Dartmouth we have much experience in dealing with second and holiday home transactions or understanding the complex issues arising from properties with flying freeholds etc. We are now the only solicitors in Dartmouth – we get a lot of work from clients in London or the Midlands, as we know the local area, its peculiarities and we’re also much less expensive than lawyers outside the region.


Our success and growth in family


law has been because of the breadth and complexity of work we do – from producing a pre-nup agreement, to us having a leading expert in fields such as non- accidental injury work. Perhaps we don’t shout enough about this but it’s a real area of difference for our firm in the South West.


Why is the focus on Devon so important to you? Because it’s also about where we live and how we interact with local communities. We don’t take this for granted. We are keen to put back into the community be it sponsorship of local cricket, football or hockey clubs etc, sponsorship of fund raising events, raising money for charity and taking our corporate responsibility and privilege seriously.


As we’ve grown significantly,


we’re keen to keep our feet on the ground and stay true to our values and make sure we have the right team that reflects this. We do think we’re very approachable and we don’t take ourselves too seriously!


Our readers know you from your columns in By The Dart? Is this important in how you promote what you do? Our columns in BTD and other magazines are seen of great value – we take doing this very seriously within the firm, which we did even when we were quite a small practice. It’s about helping to demystify


certain aspects of law but also about personalising what we do and putting a face to a lawyer. We are often surprised by clients who contact us having been prompted or encouraged to do so by reading about a legal issue in one of our columns.


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