In this series, we introduce some of the people that make up Stephens Scown. We learn about their expertise, what drew them to join the legal profession and find out a little bit about who they are outside of the workplace.
Can you share with us a little bit about your role and a typical day?
My background is as a HR specialist, so I worked in different businesses and organisations before I joined Stephens Scown. My role includes advising (mainly employer) clients on all sorts of HR and employment queries, whether under our HRExpress service (an annual retainer service for employers), or on a stand-alone basis. Our clients are a real mix – from large regional organisations (often in Cornwall where I am based), to microbusinesses or start-ups, and the mix of support they need reflects that.
I also do HR Consultancy work – so that might be getting an instruction to go out and do an investigation, chairing a disciplinary or grievance hearing, running an appeal process, or leading employee consultations on a redundancy or TUPE process. I enjoy corporate support work too, typically supporting the Corporate Team if we’re acting on a business sale or purchase where there are employees involved, for example, doing the Employment due diligence to assess potential liabilities and if there are any skeletons hiding in the closet!
Why did you specialise in (your area of) law?
After completing my Politics degree, I started my career working in global accountancy/tax practices and my first role was in Employee Reward. That led me towards a HR career where I also worked inhouse for employers before joining Stephens Scown in 2015. I always enjoyed the legal side of HR so when the opportunity came up to join the Employment Team as an experienced Paralegal/HR Adviser, I leapt at the chance.
What do you love most about your role?
Solving a difficult people issue, for example, for a business owner can be really rewarding. People issues can be incredibly disruptive to an organisation, and emotionally exhausting for the employer and staff dealing with it. Finding an acceptable way through can help the client get on with running their business and help them sleep better at night!
How do you spend your time outside of work?
I’m a dad, so my teenage son is my first priority outside work. Since recovering from injury I’ve really got back into running, I run with Truro Running Club and will be aiming to do a (second) marathon in 2023. I love to cycle and swim too. I hold voluntary roles with Totally Truro (Business Improvement District for Truro and Newham) and the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD), and I’m an elected Councillor on Truro City Council, so that keeps me busy. When I have a spare minute, I play the drums (growing up my favourite TV character was Animal from the Muppets!).
If you weren’t working in a law firm, what you be and why?
My professional qualifications are in HR (via the CIPD). If I wasn’t working in the legal field, I would ideally work in the charity sector. By nature I’m a helper, supporter-type of person and would find value and purpose in assisting vulnerable people or environmental causes. I enjoy being part of the Charity sector team within the firm and support several charity clients in my role, which is really rewarding.
What does it mean to work for Stephens Scown, what makes us different?
I’m regularly inspired by so many of my awesome colleagues, at their knowledge, expertise, the quality of their work and commitment to our clients. If I had to highlight two things, I’d say we have a firm full of really decent human beings, which goes a long way towards the experience of working here. And secondly, employee ownership (we were the first large law firm in the UK to be employee owned), knowing we’re all genuinely ‘in it together’ means a lot – you can feel and see it.