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Get to know the people behind our specialist services, what their experience is, and why they chose to become a solicitor in our Q&A series. Here I interview head of department Richard Scott.

 

What Area Do You Specialise In?

Family Law – particularly divorce, financial settlements, property disputes between unmarried couples, pre-nuptial agreements, separation agreements and children matters.

 

What Does Your Role at Howells Involve?

My job is to help steer my clients through a very difficult and emotional time in their lives. A marital or relationship breakdown is very tough and emotions are often running high.

My primary role is to help my clients through that difficult process, help them resolve their problems and ideally put them in a position to move forward with their lives on a sound financial footing in the future.

On a day-to-day level, I also have certain management responsibilities as a Partner in the firm and the Head of the Family Team at our Head office in Cardiff. Therefore, I also work closely with the Directors in the firm and our Business Development Managers to help devise a marketing strategy for the firm and to mentor the dynamic and enthusiastic junior members of the team.

 

What Attracted You to This Area of Law in Particular?

After finishing secondary education at comprehensive school I was fascinated by the law and decided to study A Level Law at my local tertiary college.

At around the same time, I would come home from my late night shift as a part time barman in a local pub in Port Talbot (earning some pocket money to help pay for my studies) to watch a series on BBC2 called ‘This Life’. This Life was about five young twentysomething university graduates in London who were trying to forge a career in the law as aspiring solicitors and barristers. A few of the storylines saw some of the characters dealing with some interesting cases involving matrimonial disputes amongst other things.

The series felt as though it was about real life and realistic situations involving these characters and their lives as young legal professionals. It was exciting, but also gritty and cutting edge. The programme gave me a little bit of an insight into the type of work that they did, the problems they faced in their working lives and how they could make a difference to the people they encountered.

It also helped that they worked hard but also played hard - it captured my interest and made me think that I definitely would like to pursue this for a career.

From there, I went on to do a Law Degree at the University of Wales, Aberystwyth, a Diploma in Legal Practice at Cardiff Law School and then a training contract with a niche family law firm in Cardiff, and I suppose the rest is history!

 

What Are the Most Common Issues That You Come Across?

When you meet a client for the very first time, their immediate concerns and worries are often about the following matters:

• The arrangements for any dependent children post separation or divorce.
• Whether they or their spouse or partner will have to move out of the family home.
• Whether that property must be sold now or in the future, and how each party would effectively meet their independent needs and re-house post separation or divorce.
• In general terms, their financial security in the future.
• How much it will cost to have their case dealt with and what is the likely timescale for it to be completed.

I always try to give my clients as much reassurance and detailed information as I possibly can in that very first meeting with them. Although cases do evolve from time to time and circumstances do change, I am usually able to provide accurate estimates of costings and timescales at a very early stage together with a detailed overview of the process that lies ahead and the likely outcome in each particular case.

I think clients prefer, and in fact deserve, the honest and direct approach and to be given as much information about what lies ahead, including the potential pitfalls, as early as possible.

Being informative but realistic at a very early stage with a client helps to manage expectations and assists a client to plan ahead effectively and weigh up their options before making any important decisions.

 

What Do You Most Enjoy About Your Job?

Meeting different people from all walks of life and tackling different family related problems. No two cases are ever the same. The best part is often the end result when you know that you’ve done a good job, your client is happy with the result. They are usually very grateful to have come through an emotional rollercoaster and is in a very good place moving on with their lives.

 

What Advice Would You Give Someone Considering A Career in Family Law?

Get as much hands on, practical experience as you can. Howells Legal Ltd are always interested to hear from intelligent, motivated, go getters who are looking to build a career in the legal profession. Be bold, be brave, and make a speculative application to us because sometimes being in the right place at the right time really does work.

You can find our latest vacancies here.

 

What Would You Say Your Biggest Career Achievement Is, To Date?

Becoming a Partner in Howells Legal Ltd and becoming the Head of the Family Law team. In the last few years, we have also been nominated (and won) several awards for our legal services both regionally and nationally.

Read more: Howells Win a Hat-Trick of Awards at National Conveyancing Awards

 

Get to Know the Howells Team

Over the next few weeks, we will be publishing more Q&As with our management team here at Howells. In the meantime, find out more about the team on our People page and get the latest company news and developments from this blog.

 

With effect from 15th February 2015 EU Regulations on Consumer Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) allow consumers who bought our services online to submit their complaint via an online complaint portal.

We are required under the regulations to provide our clients the following information:-
  1. Link to the ODR platform - please follow the following link for further information (http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/odr).
  2. Our contact email address in case of a complaint under the ODR regulation – Andrea Coombes andrea.c@howellslegal.com