Becoming a Solicitor was surprisingly not something I planned. I completed my Law Degree and Legal Practice Course because I enjoyed studying the Law. However, at first I was undecided as to where I wanted my career to go.
After graduating I tried a few other career paths none of which I enjoyed. I applied for a training contract at Evans & Greaves and joined the firm on the 2nd June 1995. Very soon after I started with the firm, I realised that a career in the legal profession felt the right route for me.
My training principal at the time was Geoff Evans who originally set up the firm with my current business partner Christopher Greaves. Having qualified on the 2nd June 1997 I practised in Family, Personal Injury and Criminal Law. I was made a partner in the firm early in my career and was also appointed as a Criminal Duty Solicitor.
As the legal sector has evolved, to accommodate changes in the regulations and adapt to cuts in Legal Aid, we have likewise adapted our firm. This has in many ways been positive for me as I can now focus on the core practice areas that most interest me:- Family law, Wills and Probate.
Upon reflection there have been many highs and lows, being a Solicitor is not for the faint hearted. As a firm our priority is always ensuring that our clients needs are met. Juggling fee earning time with running a small business can be very challenging but it is also very rewarding.
More recently I took the lead in re-branding the firm. This project was long overdue and twenty five years on I am still learning new things. Particularly in terms of marketing, website design and all that goes with it. The re-branding is certainly one of my highlights and something that I am very proud of. I hope to build on this as we move forward in the future.
If you had asked me what I thought the business might look like upon the celebration of my twenty five year’s service, I never would have contemplated that the office would be closed to the public. The Covid-19 Pandemic has been a very strange time and is certainly something none of us will ever forget. These challenging times have been some of the most unusual of my career. However, we have all learnt new ways of working and it has been business as usual providing a vital service for our clients. I believe that we have all learnt a lot of valuable lessons and will take positives from this in order to build a stronger business for the future. Being there for our clients to offer a helping hand come what may is the focus of our ethos here at Evans and Greaves.
How the profession may look in the future?
When I commenced my Legal Practice Course in 1993 at the University of Glamorgan I was part of the first group of people to ever embark on achieving the Diploma. This was a big change at that time in the route to qualification.
It is therefore interesting to see that twenty five years later there is a new route suggested upon the horizon. The Solicitors Qualifying Examination (SQE) is intended to be introduced on 1st September 2021 but is still subject to final approval by the Legal Services Board. This is due to take place later on this year it will be interesting to see if this actually gets approved.
It is said that the main purpose of the SQE will mean that everyone will meet the same high standards in a consistent way. If implemented it will do away with the Legal Practice Course, the Graduate Diploma in Law for those who did a non-law degree and the traditional training contract.
In order to qualify you will need to pass SQE 1 and 2 which focus on legal knowledge and practical legal skills. You will need to have a degree in any subject with two years qualifying work experience, and pass the character and suitability test. There has been a lot of controversy around the exams within the profession as they are going to be multiple choice tests. Many believe that lawyers of the future may not have the same skill set as those who have qualified under the traditional route. The reasons behind the change are said to be that because there are a number of institutions evaluating solicitors it makes it difficult to ensure they all adopt the same standard. This route to qualification will be cheaper and will certainly make the profession more accessible. Whether the intention that those assessed will have all taken the same exams and therefore be of the same standard is yet to be seen. Like anything only time will tell.