I grew up surrounded by entrepreneurs. My mum owned her own shop and my dad his own transport company.
This family background made me passionate about business from a young age and now, as an MP, I take pride in being able to say that I enjoy working hard to support companies working in our constituency.
To continue this work, I have decided to shadow a business every month to learn about the great work they are doing.
This week, I walked into the busy office of Brearleys who recently opened on Morley High Street. I wanted to see first-hand what it is like to work at a solicitor’s firm.
A lot of people wonder what is it like inside a firm of solicitors and a lot of us think twice before visiting one. Yet Brearleys take pride in positioning themselves as being open and welcoming.
From their location to their warm team spirit, this lively, friendly firm strives to support their customers through what is often a difficult or upsetting period of time.
Coming in through the front door Nick, the branch’s manager and firm partner, explained this concept: “We opened on the high street because we want people to pop in and have a chat.”
This is the same reason why I opened my office on the high street too.
As I walked into Nick’s office he was busy on the phone talking to a client who had lost a finger due to a work related accident. Nick quickly passed me an extra headset and asked me to join in as a shadow solicitor. During our conversation, I soon realised that at Brearleys, the client is not a number but someone the team really cares about.
Following the call we toured the office. I enjoyed learning that even at smaller firms, solicitors specialise in different areas.
“We divide our work to experts within the team to ensure we provide the best service for our clients,” Nick explained.
The team has Nick and Laura heading Personal Injury, Sue and Emma managing Property and Conveyancing, Jayne leading on Family and Child Law and Jo taking care of Probate. They are all supported by Katie, Jill, Erin and Lisa who also happily welcome customers at the front desk. And, I was curious to learn the Morley team even have Andrew who specialises in animal accident related injuries.
Finally, we then turned to the part of the day I found most captivating. I joined an introductory client meeting with a constituent who explained how he had developed an industry related disease, silicosis, as a result of continued exposure to silica dust at work.
As an MP I thoroughly enjoy meeting and listening to the people I represent and I was particularly interested in this case as my dad also developed an industry related disease, mesothelioma, due to asbestos exposure.
The three of us had a productive discussion where Nick took him through the next possible steps.
As a member of the Health Select Committee I find it helpful to my work in Parliament to hear about health related issues and on this occasion it was enlightening to hear about industry related accidents.
Shadowing a solicitor for the morning was exciting yet demanding work. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
From this experience I can say that if you ever have a question or concern and feel as though a solicitor’s firm could be of assistance please do not hesitate to contact them. On this occasion for me, my visit paid off with a lovely team photo.
Thank you to the team at Brearleys for the time they took to show me around.