The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from M D Law is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.
M D Law
Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles
THE PARLIAMENTARY REVIEW
Highlighting best practice
36 | MD LAW
MD Law is a growing solicitors firm just outside the centre of
Cardiff that specialises in residential conveyancing, family
law and probate, wills, lasting power of attorney and
general private client matters. Having moved its office into a more
central location in 2014, the firm has built a sterling reputation
in the city, attracting clients from all backgrounds and regions.
Managing Director Helen Dickie also joined in 2014 and has helped
take the firm from strength to strength. She tells
how this was possible.
Moving to a more central location in Cardiff was a really important move for the firm
and it has opened up a range of new possibilities and opportunities. Previously, our
office was inaccessible and had poor provision for parking, but with our new location
it has never been more convenient for our clients. In 2017, we opened a second office
next door and I think this is testament to the impact our move has had and also due
to our staff expansion.
As a team of 12, we employ four solicitors, including myself, four consultant solicitors,
three legal assistants and a receptionist. Having worked as a consultant solicitor in the
past after qualifying in 2005, I have known our consultants for many years and each
has brought something new to the business, be it ideas, clients or specialisms. We
value all our staff and the hard work and effort they have contributed to the business.
For us, working together is so vital and greed has no place in our organisation.
Everything we do is part of a team effort and this is understood by our clients – which
is why we keep achieving success.
Culture of progression
I joined the firm in 2014 as a co-director as previously it dealt largely with criminal
legal aid work, but my arrival actually resulted in a total revamp and restructure of the
business. The dedication it has required from myself has been extensive, however, it
has been worth every minute, I am extremely proud of what has been achieved. Prior
to joining I had worked as both a consultant solicitor and a law teacher in a sixth form
college teaching ILEX, GCSE and A level law, and I was also given the opportunity to
teach NVQ students employability skills. I also helped tutor law students training to
become solicitors and I have taken my experience into my current role by creating an
atmosphere that encourages progress and improvement. One of our legal assistants is
starting her training contract this year and I am always on hand to help staff upgrade
their knowledge and progress their skills. At MD Law we believe that training staff is
fundamental to our firm’s skills set and knowledge base, thus always enabling us to
deliver the best services possible to our clients.
We have an approachable environment for both staff and clients and we place a
strong emphasis on creating a productive work-life balance. We have taken on many
new members of staff to meet the new demand for conveyancing services and this has
also helped raise our profile in the city.
AT A GLANCE
»Founded in 2006
»Based in Cardiff
»Services: Specialise in
family law and probate, wills,
lasting power of attorney and
general private client matters
»No. of employees: 12
37MD LAW |
BEST PRACTICE REPRESENTATIVE 2019
Our private client and family departments
are also growing; we have dedicated and
experienced practitioners in these fields.
Having an ever increasing volume of work
in these areas allows us to remain diverse
and reach out to the wider community.
To continue our progression we
underwent a substantial revamp, aimed
at changing how we perceive ourselves
and our long-term goals. We developed a
clear vision of what we hoped to achieve
and by remaining mindful of our ambition
we took a step-by-step approach to
ensure our success. Firstly, we gained
CQS accreditation, which serves as a
stamp of excellence for conveyancing
firms from the Law Society. Most
lenders require the accreditation, and in
2015 we achieved this after a significant
application process. Some staff are also
members of Solicitors for the Elderly
and who are ILFM qualified. Training
remains at the heart of what we do.
In order to succeed in our field,
fostering a tight-knit team is integral.
This extends to include the consultants
that we collaborate with, who have
been vital in keeping us up to date with
all our compliance work. The Solicitors
Regulation Authority has exacting
standards that must be adhered to, and
working with highly skilled professionals
externally has been invaluable in enforcing
our business’s high standards. We
encourage our highly skilled staff to voice
their opinions and display their expertise,
while also taking advantage of the
required external assistance, thus raising
our game and continuing toimprove.
Our growth has largely been a result of
word of mouth and positive reviews.
We take extra care to take our clients’
circumstances into account and we
always treat them compassionately.
We have a personable team, who
understand the stress that meeting with
a lawyer causes many people. When a
recent client had a family bereavement
we sent them flowers to extend our
condolences. This showed them that we
could look beyond our relationship as
a financial transaction and this leads to
clients returning to us in the future and
recommending our services to others.
We always work in the best interest of the
client and we try to make them feel that
their case is the most important matter.
While we always try to achieve this, we
often have to juggle lots of clients with a
moderate to high case load. To ensure this
does not cause distress or difficulty for our
clients we remain completely transparent,
offer clear channels of communication
and manage their expectations. This is
not always an easy task, however vitally
important it is to carry out.
When dealing with cases we ensure that
we are complying with industry regulation
and this can often be confusing for
clients. Delays can be frustrating for our
clients, especially when they conflict
with personal interests, such as moving
into their new home before Christmas.
These situations are complicated, and
we ensure that on each occasion the
clients receive the best service possible.
Looking forward, we have taken great
care over potential challenges such as
GDPR and Brexit and have carried out all
the due diligence possible to secure our
future. A further step we have taken is
working with an external IT company to
ensure that our processes are up to date
and that they protect us in the future.
Similarly, we have invested in external
HR expertise to manage our employees
and to provide the best possible
working environment. We will never be
afraid to invest in improvement as this
ethos will remain at the centre of the
business for years to come.
Based just outside the
centre of Cardiff
We have an
both staff and
clients and we
place a strong
Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review
This year’s Parliamentary Review reflects on a tumultuous and extraordinary year, globally and nationally. As well as being an MP, I am a keen student of history, and I am conscious that 2020 would mark the end of an era. It will be remembered as the year in which we concluded Brexit negotiations and finally left the European Union. Above all, it will be remembered as the year of Covid-19.
In our fight against the pandemic, I am delighted that our vaccination programme is beginning to turn the tide – and I pay tribute to the British businesses, scientists and all those who have helped us to achieve this. But the virus has dealt enormous damage, and we now have a duty to rebuild our economy.
We must ensure that businesses are protected. We have made more than £350 billion available to that end, with grants, business rates relief and our furlough scheme supporting more than 11 million people and jobs in every corner of the country, maintaining livelihoods while easing the pressure on employers. The next step is to work with business to build back better and greener, putting the net zero carbon challenge at the heart of our recovery. This is a complex undertaking, but one which I hope will be recognised as a once in a lifetime opportunity.
Through the prime minister’s ten point plan for a green industrial revolution, we can level up every region of the UK, supporting 250,000 green jobs while we accelerate our progress towards net zero carbon emissions.
With our commitment to raise R&D spending to 2.4% of GDP and the creation of the Advanced Research & Invention Agency, we are empowering our fantastic researchers to take on groundbreaking research, delivering funding with flexibility and speed. With this approach, innovators will be able to work with our traditional industrial heartlands to explore new technologies, and design and manufacture the products on which the future will be built – ready for export around the globe.
And I believe trade will flourish. We are a leading nation in the fight against climate change. As the host of COP26 this year, we have an incredible opportunity to market our low-carbon products and expertise. Our departure from the EU gives us the chance to be a champion of truly global free trade; we have already signed trade deals with more than 60 countries around the world.
As we turn the page and leave 2020 behind, I am excited about the new chapter which Britain is now writing for itself, and for the opportunities which lie ahead of us.