2017 was a good year / 2018 will be better
2017 was a really good year for Ian Walker Family Law and Mediation Solicitors, but 2018 promises to be even better. Below is what I can tell you about our plans for 2018, but first, the highlights of 2017 (in no particular order):
- Child Law specialist Kim Stradling joining us. This was a very big event. Kim was previously a partner and head of family law at Devon practice Everys. Kim is one of the leading childcare law specialists in the South West. She chose to join us because she liked our vision and business structure. Most importantly Kim has settled in very very well.
- Recruiting Stephanie Hinde. Stef joined as a Solicitor in November. unfortunately she will be leaving on maternity leave at the end of January(ish), but we will look forward to welcoming her back when she is ready. Stef has a lovely manner and has slotted seamlessly into the team. Whilst relativily junior, she clearly has it in her to her to be an outstanding family solicitor. Our flexible and homeworking policy will assist Stef to return to work in a sensible way.
- In the Summer we added Hannah Elliott as a paralegal. Hannah was fresh from University of Exeter and a very good 2.1 law degree. Hannah is now combining working for us with part time study on her Legal Practice Course and LLM Masters Degree at the University of Law. Hannah has passed every study unit so far with flying colours and she has been a great help around the office. In due course she will be an outstanding Solicitor as well.
- Beth Hazeltine has been a brilliant member of the team. Beth joined in February. Ever helpful and willing. If only she could have been free when we attended the Somerset Resolution quiz night, we would have picked up enough points in the food and drink section to have won.
- In October I attended the Resolution Dispute Resolution Conference in Nottingham and had the great pleasure of chatting at length to Family Law legend Henry Brown (Former Solicitor to Nelson Mandela, founder of mediation in UK, founder of Family Mediators Association and CEDR and the person who trained me as both a family mediator and a civil mediator) Henry is now 80 and is nearly completely retired. I was honoured when Henry told me how much he liked our website. In return I recommended him the pleasures of chess.com
- In 2017 I was re-elected as the Chair of Devon Resolution for a third 3 year term. This is a great honour. Together with my committee we have established the annual Devon Resolution Conference. A great annual get together for Devon family lawyers. We have a truly vibrant region.
- I also joined Resolution’s Dispute Resolution Committee. As a solicitor/collaborative lawyer/mediator/arbitrator I practice what I preach, which is helping clients to resolve their cases fairly through sensible negotiation. The work of the national committees is important in encouraging good practice and it is important for those from the regions to join in.
- Our clients are extremely important to us. I had great pleasure in completing a difficult case for a very nice and (too)longstanding client in December in a very favourable way. This will allow them to finally moving their life on.
- The team is also very important. I haven’t mentioned Carrie Meikle or Karen Elliott above, but they have been so important in us being able to move the practice on. For the time being at least we are the magnificent 7! Its fundamental to work with people you get on with, where everyone is pulling in the same direction.
- At the beginning of February 2018 the practice will be 5 years old. We have brilliantly surpassed our initial 5 year plan. The start was kind of staggered for various reasons, but I started in the office at the start of 2013. To celebrate we will be having a small get together. My initial guest list of those I wanted to invite was over 150, so I have had to pare the list down by quite a bit, but if you would like to join our celebration then don’t be shy and let me know. Apologies in advance for those I couldn’t fit in.
- From 01 February we will be moving our Exeter service to The Senate, Southernhay Gardens, Exeter. This is a prestigious office block which is much more convenient for the Court and is within the “Legal Quarter” of the city, and so will be better for our Exeter clients. It also gives us extra capacity to grow our Exeter service. We are recruiting, so if you can add to the team, please let me know…
- I have plans to promote the use of Arbitration and our Mediation with Arbitration Service. Arbitration has been slow on the uptake, in large because it is different, (and practitioners are cautious about change – even if it is for the better) but it does offer a genuine and viable and more cost effective way of resolving cases than the public courts for less complex cases. I have a plan…
- And more… I wish I could say, but I can’t for now, but do watch this space for further exciting news
Thanks to all who have helped us get this far. I am looking forward to 2018