Following Debenhams Ottaway’s win at the Law Society Excellence Awards 2015, partner Susan Glenholme talks to the Law Society PS Magazine about the benefits winning the award has brought to the business.
What benefits has winning the award brought to your firm?
It’s so important for our clients that they know they can trust us. We are often working with people with very significant estates; certainty, discretion and reliability are key. Many of our clients are referrals from existing clients, and having the award is a great way of confirming with them and our referrers that we are specialists in this area of law.
The award has also helped to increase our recognition among other law firms, particularly in the London arena, and we have seen an increase in the volume and quality of referrals. The flipside of this is that it has also helped to reinforce the growing recognition that there is real legal expertise outside London, and that clients don’t have to pay London prices to obtain excellent advice.
As a team, we are extremely busy. We are always looking for highly talented lawyers with the right client service skills to work for us. They’re not always easy to find; this award has helped attract the right kind of talent to the firm.
We have been ranked in the top tier of the Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners directories for the last three years. This award undoubtedly helps to maintain those rankings.
Why did you decide to put yourselves forward for the award?
As one of the largest private wealth teams in Hertfordshire, we know that we offer a valued service to clients for a competitive price. We take client service very seriously and regularly ask for feedback. 100 per cent of our clients would recommend us to family and friends. We thought this deserved recognition.
We are very active in the local community. We regularly speak on local radio highlighting important issues, such as updating wills and having lasting powers of attorney in place. We hold drop-in sessions and offer flexible appointments to suit our clients’ busy lives. We are also very active in the charity sector. We believe that this enhances the offering that we give to our clients and the local business community, and that this, again, deserved recognition.
What value do you think winning the category can add to someone’s career / practice?
Any good lawyer wants high quality, challenging work. The more we can do to attract clients and referrers with this kind of work, the more we can develop our lawyers into true experts in this area. We have received more complex work, particularly in our trust and probate teams, and deal with more complicated wills, as clients understand that we have the expertise to help them.
We already have a very large and loyal high-net-worth client base, but we have seen an increase in the number of high-profile clients who come to us for our discretion, and appreciate that we are only 20 minutes outside of London!
Visit the Law Society website to read the full interview with PS Magazine.