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Firstly, where do you work and what is your role?
I set up, developed and head the road transport law offering at JMW Solicitors in Manchester, where I have now been for just over 1 year.
Why did you choose a career in law?
My family and friends would say it is because I am argumentative, always have an opinion on everything and am never willing to accept defeat…they are probably right!
What attracted you to your particular specialism?
Road transport law is an incredibly niche area of expertise that is practised on only a very limited basis nationwide. I also think I relished the challenge of being a young female working in a heavily male dominated industry!
What is the most enjoyable part of your job?
They say “variety is the spice of life”…and the road transport sector certainly provides plenty of that! The road transport sector encompasses a vast spectrum of operations of all sizes from, for example, scaffolding companies and skip hire companies (whose use of commercial vehicles is merely ancillary, albeit essential, to their core business) to national and international hauliers and from taxi, minibus and limousine operators to national and international coach operators. A vast array of issues can therefore arise and it is essential for me to fully acquaint myself with the nature and practical and commercial objecties of each particular operation!
What particular challenges are you or have you faced in these tougher times?
The haulage sector has been hit particularly hard by the current economic climate and, as a result, I have had to become increasingly innovative in my approach to fees; however, the last 13 months have demonstrated that I have managed to buck the trend and JMW Solicitors has had another fantastic year across the board.
What do you think will be growth opportunities for the legal profession over the next couple of years?
Firms should consider niche practice areas (such as road transport law) that they can invest in to add to their existing offerings. No other Manchester law firms, and very few law firms nationwide, specialise in road transport law. JMW identified this as a gap in the market and an opportunity for growth that set them apart from their competitors. They subsequently recruited, and invested in, me and are now reaping the benefits!
Clients are also becoming increasingly sophisticated in how they choose, and access, solicitors. The legal profession needs to embrace this by becoming more innovative in terms of its marketing strategy and its client management. For JMW, the Internet is an ever increasing source of new instructions and we will be further investing in our digital marketing strategy going forward.
What’s been your most enjoyable or high profile recent piece of work?
Each of my cases is challenging, interesting and professionally rewarding in its own way. Recently, I advised a leading national retailer in relation to the expansion of the transport side of their business from operating less than 20 goods vehicles from one depot to almost 200 goods vehicles from 8 depots nationwide…that was definitely a challenge!
What inspires you when it comes to your work?
Making a real difference to my clients and their businesses…and providing outstanding service to my clients by being the best that I can possibly be.
Do you work by a particular mantra or motto in your business life?
When I was a child, I was told to always “Aim for the moon…that way, even if you miss, you’ll still be amongst the stars!” and I guess it must have stuck…
Can you give one piece of advice to your peers?
Act like it’s impossible to fail.