Law firm Stephens Scown LLP is one of Devon’s success stories, consistently being named one of the best employers in the UK, as well as being the first large law firm in the UK to become employee owned. In this update for Devon Life readers, the firm’s Head of Devon, Hilary Pitts, explains what is behind this success.
What is your role at Stephens Scown?
I am a Partner in the Real Estate team. I help developers buy sites (in many cases for much needed housing) both locally and nationally. Many of my clients are housing associations and it is very rewarding knowing that they are providing homes for people who are ordinarily unable to afford to rent or buy on the open market.
I am also Head of the Devon office and am involved in ensuring the smooth day to day running of the office and, as part of the Board, being involved in the strategic direction of the firm.
Which of the firm’s achievements are you most proud of?
The firm has grown over the years into a £20m business. Not only is this a great achievement in itself, but we have done this whilst retaining the firm’s culture. This is borne out in our being listed as one of the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For five years in a row.
We very much value our people and Stephens Scown is now employee owned, which means that our employees have a stake in the business.
What is your personal highlight at work?
This is a hard one – there are so many! One is of course supporting clients and getting deals over the line. It is great to see outlines within a red line on a plan become people’s homes.
I also love reading feedback from our clients. We are constantly looking to improve and it is rewarding that a lot of our new business is down to other clients recommending us.
My other highlight is being part of the success of the firm and being in an environment where people are happy to come to work.
What advice would you give someone considering a career in the law?
Definitely go for it! I had a previous career in banking and am also a qualified Company Secretary. I did my Law degree in my spare time and loved it so much I decided on the career change. Not only is the work rewarding, I have some wonderful clients and great people I work with. No two days are the same!
What do you enjoy most about living and working in Exeter?
Exeter is an exciting city. I grew up in London and spent time working there and in Johannesburg and Saudi Arabia but it is wonderful to be able to call the South West home now. We have hills, amazing beaches, exciting businesses (many of which we act for), and unrivalled countryside and coastline. What more could you want?
What does the future hold for Stephens Scown?
The future will see us continue to grow. As a Board we also look at what is on the horizon and how we can make the most of any opportunities that may arise.
We continue to look at ways in which we can reduce our carbon footprint and be socially accountable.
There is a lot happening economically both domestically and abroad, but we are in a good position. We have a stable, sustainable business, talented employees and great clients.