January is, inevitably, a time for reflection and for resolutions.
Looking back, the last twelve months have been exciting for us. As ever, at this time of year, we have reviewed our client care feedback surveys. These are really important to us – and we were very pleased that 97.5% of respondents rated the service we provided in 2014 as good or excellent. We’re aiming for 100%! We aim to provide first class legal advice to all our clients, in a friendly and approachable manner and it’s great that so many of our clients confirm that we are doing just that.
Early this year, we recruited two experienced solicitors to strengthen our team. Both Joanna Longfellow and Abby Duffy have already made their mark within the firm and we are delighted by the extremely positive feedback their clients are providing.
As well as strengthening our legal team, Jo has been working with Wakefield Alzheimer’s Society to provide advice to their carers programme. She has also taken the lead in forming links with Wakefield Hospice through their Business Buddies Scheme. Jo has been involved in providing careers advice to students at her old school, Woodkirk Academy. Our solicitors’ team have acted as mentors this year to students at Nottingham Law School undertaking their Legal Practice Courses – I was delighted to be asked to do this having benefited from professional mentoring during my time at NLS.
In October, we were joined by trainee solicitor Chivonne Boothe. During her two year training contract Chivonne will be working across the firm’s practice areas and she played a significant role in supporting our Will Aid campaign in November. We were very pleased to support a number of charities through this and grateful for the generosity of all those clients involved.
We have also been joined by office assistant, Libby Bushby. Libby is undertaking an apprenticeship in business administration and has already proved herself a valuable and efficient member of our administrative team.
Family law partner and collaborative lawyer Nicola Coppinger consolidated and strengthened her expertise in matrimonial financial practice by obtaining her Law Society Advanced Family Panel accreditation, recognising her expertise in this area of law.
Together with our admin team leader, Tracey Hunter, Nicola took part in the Wakefield Business Conference in June – this proved to be a successful event with lots of opportunities for networking with other local businesses. Our pens and sweets proved popular with delegates too!
As in previous years, we wore pink in support of Breakthrough Breast Cancer in October. As a firm, we are committed to supporting this cause. Kelly Davies successfully organised a dress down day and bake sale, keenly supported by all our staff.
As one of the first firms in Wakefield to achieve the Law Society’s prestigious Lexcel standard back in 2011, we were delighted to successfully receive our re-accreditation following an independent review in November.
In December, I qualified as a Higher Courts Advocate (Civil Courts) meaning that I can now represent clients in every level of Court, including the appeal courts. I am particularly proud of this as the most recent statistics show that only around 5% of practising solicitors in England and Wales are Solicitor Advocates.
This year saw the first annual King Street Christmas Jumper competition – Sally Wadsworth proved a worthy winner!
We rounded off the year supporting the Alzheimer’s Society by raffling a Christmas Hamper. Our staff and local businesses generously donated gifts for the hampers and we were really pleased to present our local Alzheimer’s Society office with a donation – thanks to all those who helped us by buying tickets!
And 2015? I am committed to providing the best possible legal advice for all our clients, continuing to contribute to our local community and providing staff with training and development which will ensure our clients get first rate representation from us. And I’ve got my eye on the Christmas Jumper competition – think 2015 might be my year …!