Current Employer/Organisation Name
Dutton Gregory Solicitors
What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?
I qualified as a solicitor further to attending the College of Law the year following graduation. I then took a gap year when I worked until Christmas then visited a pen friend in Austria for a week over new year, and then spent 6 months in southern Spain as an au pair learning Spanish from scratch. I started my training contract with Townsends (now Thrings) where I qualified but then got a job as a newly qualified solicitor in Southampton for a firm called Ensor Byfield. I worked there for 2 years before joining Blake Morgan (Blake Lapthorn as was) for 2 years and then Sherwin Oliver for a further 2 years. Sherwin Oliver was then acquired by Blake Morgan and I decided to move on as the company culture wasn’t for me (again!). I had spent those first 6 years working in commercial litigation and then I took up a role as team leader at Dutton Gregory where I was an employee for 16 years until I became an equity partner in July 2017. I am now Head of Landlord and Tenant where I specialise in residential landlord and tenant law and advise the lettings industry generally. When I moved to Southampton I joined the Southampton Junior Chamber in order to meet other professionals in the city and became president about 5 years later. After having my son in 2003 I became a school governor, wanting to understand the education system before my son entered it and during. I remained an active governor for 16 years for a primary school, then an infant school and junior school in my village, the latter two being attend by my son. The skills of a governor transition easily in to the work place and my employer as was during that period was most supportive.
Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?
I had always wanted to be a solicitor. I became a leader within 6 years which gives added dimension to my days. I specialised after 6 years with a bit of reservation but have not looked back. I am most comfortable in this field and helpline managing agents and landlords with all aspects of lettings law. There are approx. 170 substantive pieces of legislation in residential lettings (before all the regulations and statutory instruments) and my team have to answer all manner of question about any of them, daily, as we operate a national telephone helpline. I love the challenges that I work in and I am more involved in the strategy of the firm now as a business owner with 11 other partners. My own dept is always looking for new ways of doing things and ew have an exciting project on at the moment to really allow us to step up and use the array of technology around us in the way we operate. I love working with people who need help in resolving a legal issue and working out the solution and getting it in the most cost effective way. I love supporting others to learn and more recently training. It’s a privilege and very satisfying. I meet and speak with a lot of different people and my job gives me a lot of great opportunities to network and meet other great entrepreneurs from other industries.
Please tell us if you were a member of any societies, groups or sports clubs?
I was in Lopes Hall in my first year and enjoyed the facilities as we always ate meals together and enjoyed netball on the courts at the front. I was a part of the Bracton Law Society and enjoyed the Outdoor Pursuits Club – pony trekking on the moor was memorable. There was always plenty to join in with and explore.
What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?
The law faculty was a great place to be. Competitive yes, hard work yes, but all with an interesting a great purpose. The Law ball at a local hotel was excellent and gave us a chance to contribute and let our hair down. I got involved with 5 others to do our own rendition of Banarama’s Robert de Niro song which we changed to Robert de Drury after a tutor in contract Mr Drury. We worked hard a played hard and had a fab time socially.
What did you enjoy most about studying here?
The campus supported a real uni family feel. Loved the position of the Uni on the hill and the walks into town it provided. great areas around to visit on social events.
Why did you choose to study at Exeter?
Good reputation and along the south coast. I never wanted to study in London having lived on the south coast since a youngster. Far enough away from home to be away yet able to get back ok.
What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?
Patience and compassion and excellent communication skills – I write well. Ability to embrace change. An abundance of self-motivation and self-learning.
What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?
Go for your goal and do not limit yourself in anyway. Work out what sort of business you want to work for – large corporate or a provincial firm where you become known fast.
What are your plans for the future?
To have the best lettings dept in England and Wales and one which paralegals and graduates want to be part of. I am aiming for the dept to become an academy of excellence.