This is by no means a comprehensive list and unfortunately, due to time limitations and extensive case history, it would not be possible to provide a complete breakdown of every case across family law, criminal law, civil litigation & dispute resolution.

CURRENTLY HEAD OF FAMILY DEPARTMENT & WORKING WITHIN THE CRIME DEPARTMENT AT IMD INTERNATIONAL SOLICITORS

JANUARY 2020 – PRESENT

This is my current role. The role specifications are similar to those of my role at Optimal Solicitors so it will not be repeated herein.

HEAD OF FAMILY & CRIME DEPARTMENT LPS SOLICITORS

OCTOBER 2019 – JANUARY 2020

This was a short-term role. this role required me to set-up a family department from the ground-up and alone. I did so successfully. this included all aspects of setting up including processes, procedures, precedents, marketing, client acquisitions & conversions, file management, billing, etc. the responsibilities of this role were as per the role below. The role specifications are similar to those of my role at Optimal Solicitors so it will not be repeated herein.

HEAD OF FAMILY DEPARTMENT (‘HOD’) (INCLUDING PRIVATE CRIMINAL FILES)• OPTIMAL SOLICITORS 

MAY 2018 – OCTOBER 2019

This had been an exciting role specifically undertaken because of the unenviable challenges posed. In this role, I had the autonomy of being solely responsible for the management and growth of the family department. This includes Fee Earning, People & Operations, Marketing (partly) & Business Development, and Financial Risk & Compliance matters.

I had undertaken this role as I am a positive individual with strong communication skills and possess excellent technical ability with a proven track record for handling the spectrum of family and matrimonial law (including divorce, children matters, financial proceedings, and domestic violence cases). It has evidenced my ability to strategically build and maintain a successful department. I had employed, trained, and managed a support team that had assisted me to progress and to handle a caseload of a few hundred clients privately funded cases. This included re-training a solicitor and training three paralegals.

I was initially handed a small caseload of files, consisting in the main of divorce proceedings and many cases with little or no prospects. The clients were predominantly of an eastern European background with many not speaking English.

In terms of progress under my leadership:

  • I managed the on-going client files, dealt with issues (including potential risk issues), progressed, and reduced the files to those that could be progressed both from a legal and/or commercial aspect. I analysed each case file, noted issues, problem solved, prepared plan of actions, and ensured the matters were progressed under my procedures and systems.
  • The new client enquiries were normally dealt with by an entirely separate department. I felt concerned about the number of conversions. The firm envisaged two new client file conversions a week (further to regular marketing). I took all family and criminal enquiries into my department and trained my staff to take these calls alongside me. The conversion numbers had been immense with approximately one conversion a day on average. In the best month, we had converted over 40 new client files in one month (all private fee-paying clients).
  • I had drafted all precedents used in the areas of divorce, financial remedy and child arrangement order proceedings.
  • The file numbers increased substantially and I managed a caseload of a few hundred plus on-going private paying client files (not including matters already concluded and billed), ranging from simple to complex matters. Including, but not limited to, separation (divorce, judicial separation, nullity, etc), financial remedy proceedings, child arrangement order proceedings, agreements (i.e. pre-nuptial /post-nuptial/separation agreements), etc.

 

  • I had set in place processes, procedures, and systems in order to ensure the day to day management and overall progression of the department.  I will always try to implement systems to save time, costs, and ensure the maximum output for a growing department that is conscious of costs. The systems I had implemented ranged from very specific systems to ensure near-perfect file management processes, reduce risk of errors, and unnecessary complications (to the extent that any file can be considered by an external assessor and not be a cause for concern).

 

  • The further systems related to ensuring the progression of a high standard of legal work within files, conversion of new files, training for staff (overall), billing, and heavy input into marketing strategies. The systems implemented ensured not only short term growth but ensured that the procedures and processes were in place to ensure long-term success and the capability to handle a much greater caseload.

I had interviewed, built up, and trained a team of highly motivated and competent staff within the department. This currently includes three completely inexperienced multi-lingual Paralegals and a Solicitor (specialized in personal injury only). This required a ‘hands-on’ approach with extensive supervision to ensure excellent client service is delivered consistently, efficiently, and as profitably as possible.

I  had heavy involvement in the marketing for this department to encourage and promote the image and ethos of the firm. This includes expansion from the current client base to an expansive and wide-ranging client base. This also included expansion strategies in terms of marketing (including online marketing) to expand the client base across England & Wales. I dealt with clients across the majority of cities in England and Wales.

  • This also included but was not limited to, drafting the contents for the entire family website, physical marketing events (sourcing, attending and deriving income), social media content (in part), and drafting articles.
  • I had been responsible for the financial, risk, and compliance aspects. This included achieving agreed financial objectives set for the Department and other KPIs, complying with regulations, and managing risks. I had maintained and ensured compliance with and to be fully aware of all aspects of requirements imposed on a Solicitor by the Solicitors Act, Solicitors Accounts Rules and Trust Account Rules, and all other statutory and Law Society / SRA rules and regulations from time to time in force for the conduct of the business of a solicitor.

The intensive hard work had derived results above and beyond those forecasts. The hard work has resulted in:

✓  increasing income at least four/fivefold on average (per month);

✓  increasing new client conversions substantially (on average one a day);

✓  increasing and training the family department team from 1 to 5 staff;

✓  the streamlining of our working systems to ensure the workload is maintained and turnaround without delay and often on the same day .

✓  increasing the client base approximately fivefold;

✓  increasing the client base to include clients across England & Wales

 

Office Precedents: Proof of Evidence, Letterhead (amendments and assisting in preparation of new version), Form of Authority, File Opening Form, File Arrangement Forms and Systems, Logs, Police Station Attendance Form (amendments), Ledger System, Briefs, Private Billing Excel Sheet, Terms of Business (amendments)

Policies: Working alongside external Consultancy Firm in receiving, amending (where requested) and implementing Policies with staff (i.e. Conflict Check, Equality & Diversity, Compliance Plan, Complaints Form etc)

Prison Video Link: Solely Researching, Promoting, and Setting-Up Hardware and Bridging Provider from the Office to Prisons Across UK – Time and Cost Saving Exercise.

Postage System: Assisting in setting up a cost-effective and time-saving system (inc Pitney Bowes Franking Machine set-up, Complaint(s) Post Office, etc, Effective System of Postage and Staff Rotas)

LAA Tender: Major and Senior part drafting, preparing, finalising ITT Tenders (inc Own Client Contract and the 2015 substantial Tender Applications). With a little support from external Consultancy and the firm cutting costs undertook this complex task tendering in 5 areas across West London and with resounding success (but for the changes by the Govt). Assisting with Staffing issues, Supervisor Forms, Indemnity Forms, and Fulfilling LAA Requirements.

LAA Audits (numerous): Assisting & Supervising (certain aspects) – In preparation for LAA Criminal Contract Audits (inc Peer Review & Contract Compliance Audits).

Preparations for Contract Manager (LAA Crime): Assisting in Preparation/Amendments to SQM Office Manual and Organisation Chart.

SRA Accounting: Assisting Senior with calculating monies held in Client Account and Office Account. Cross referring to the Accountant and the Client files. Calculating transfers from Client to Office account. Chasing-up and collecting outstanding fees and setting–up strategies to reduce losses etc.

LAA/National Taxing Team Billing Issues: Challenging Billing Calculations by LAA

Trust Deed(s): Drafting Trust Deeds Between Management (Re: Shares, Interests, and Rights within Business Structure)

Management Agreements: Trusted Position to Assist Senior Staff with Investment Agreements, Resolutions, and Stock Transfers.

Appointment of Director Forms and Stock Transfer Forms – Drafting for changes in Management Structure.

Office Banking Issues:e. Change of Mandate Issues with Bank Re: Previous Director

Client Care and Terms of Business: Drafting, Amending & Updating staff for Implementation (i.e. CCR2013, Complaints Section, and Ombudsman (timescale).

Consultancy Agreements & Employment Contracts: Drafting, Amending, and Following-Up Consultancy Agreements Duty Solicitor, Employment Contracts and Engagement Agreements (i.e. during ITT Tenders 2015)

Solicitor Indemnity Insurance: Assisting Senior Staff with aspects of Indemnity Insurance intermittently.

References: Senior staff provided an outline and drafted, cross-referred, and received confirmation before progressing reference applications for staff and consultants.

Office Lease: Considering, Negotiating and Amending Current Lease Agreement for Office. Drafting and Progressing Completion, Statutory Declaration, and Initial Payment.

Staff Guidance: Preparing and Drafting: Magistrates Court file management Guides, To-Do Lists, Supervision (up to 4-5 staff members) across different areas of law (Crime, Family, Civil, etc), Feedback and the innumerable number of times assistance required during the day with on-going issues.

Website: Drafting contents of the firm’s website and Senior’s profile.

Complaints: Dealing with (often without support) Complaints. On occasion, if the matter required, external assistance was provided by a consultant and she worked alongside to progress matters. Examples: Complaint by CAT Team (who progress LAA applications) to Contract Manager Re-Member of Staff (responding to LAA and Contract Manager); Complaints by Courts (i.e. Re non-attendance, non-compliance or other issues).

Staff (Searching for Candidates, Interviewing, Assessing, Feedback, Decision to Hire/Terminate), Complaints; Staff Complaints/Issues): Developed into the ‘go-to’ individual for issues and used as a go-between to handle the issues on behalf of Senior staff and Feedback whilst implementing final decisions. Interviewed staff, guided into the role, problem-solving, assisting to fulfill the role, providing support across the board, dealing with internal staff disputes, fiery disputes with Senior staff (inc MCOL claims and Disputes developing from ending employment).

Bar Council Application: Drafting and Preparing: Pupillage Program (with Counsel involvement), Practice Skills Standard, Pupillage Documentation, Bar Council Application, Policy Documentation, and Pupil Supervisor Documentation.

Disputes with Chambers: Dealing with billing matters for various Chambers. Dealing with a dispute regarding fees for specific cases and responding to Bar Council (inc Day to Day negotiations with Chambers)

Registering Firm for Training Contracts: and briefing Senior on procedures and steps. Including assisting future Trainees with PSC, Training Records, and Time to Count Applications.

Representing Firm: Set-Up and Voiced the Telephone Line (for few years) and would be requested to meet most walk-in client’s to represent the firm and progress to receiving instructions.

Drafting Affidavits:e. for a name change, student finance issues, ID documentation issues etc