What to do in the face of a distressing legal situation is a tricky subject, and often one which most of us know little to nothing about. So, in the hopes of gleaning a little light into the world of solicitors and their general call of action, we spoke with Claire Buckley (Partner, and Family Department specialist) of Dutton Gregory – the national brand, with a strong local presence.
When did the Bournemouth branch open?
02 December 2002.
What makes you unique?
Clients expect law firms to know the law. What makes us different from other firms is our staff, and the relationships that they have with our clients and business colleagues. We spend time ensuring that we employ people who think the same way we do and are a good fit for the Dutton Gregory culture. Once on board, we actively encourage their career and personal development and support staff who want to give back to the community, by becoming school governors or working with organisations such as the Citizen’s Advice Bureau.
This supportive nature can also be seen in the way we work alongside our clients. We believe in a personal service at Dutton Gregory, which is why the person our clients instruct to help them (from the outset), will be the same person who looks after them the entire time they need us. We realise that many of our clients might be instructing solicitors for the first time or have had no choice in doing so because of the actions of others, but no matter what the circumstance we move quickly to reassure them and agree a way forward.
Which areas do you specialise in?
Personally, I specialise in Family Law and can help couples whose relationships are not going quite the way they would have hoped. The firm as a whole provides support and assistance to clients in every aspect of their lives, whether it’s business or personal. Our services to individuals includes house moves, advice on wills and assistance with the probate process, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, divorce, separation and financial matters, as well as personal injury and advice on medical accidents. For businesses we can advise on all aspects from start-up, to funding, employment matters and the commercial property aspect. Our Commercial and Commercial Property departments are supported by our Commercial Litigation and Property Litigation teams, to ensure that we have every ability to carry out our clients’ wishes – whatever they might be.
Why should someone come to you regarding divorce/separation advice/child residence issues, over your competitors?
I came into the law because my mother was widowed very young and had to make visits to see the family solicitor. These were always a trial for her and caused her great worry and anxiety. His heart was in the right place, but she often didn’t understand what he was advising her to do. I used to try to figure out, with her, what he was talking about but I was too young to be of much use. This is what made me want to become a solicitor. I vowed that I’d be down to earth, approachable and my advice would be in plain English and easy to understand. I never forget that I am seeing people at the worst time of their lives and they need support and guidance as well as advice and an assertive advocate, who is always on their side but not afraid to tell it like it is. I am efficient and quick in my response times and always update my clients as to what is happening. I pride myself on my communication skills and hard-working ethos.
What is your process with regards to personal injury?
Our Personal Injury team in Dorset has just been recognised in Legal 500 Directory for 2017. The Directory ranks legal firms according to feedback received by their researchers from clients and the business community. Jo Gatehouse, the Partner who leads our Dorset team was recognised as being “professional, thorough and remarkably knowledgeable.” Members of the team are APIL and Law Society accredited.
The team handles a wide range of personal injury claims, with catastrophic, brain and spinal injury claims being particular areas of strength. They manage claims involving multiple injuries and serious injuries as well as psychological injuries (such as PTSD and psychiatric trauma), requiring extensive care and rehabilitation measures. Our team offers a personal service to clients; understanding that each of them has different needs and we tailor our service to their requirements. We personally visit clients in hospital and at their home, wherever they might be in the country. Each of our clients is given a dedicated specialist to help and assist them through the process of their claim. Using technology (including case management systems) we ensure that our clients’ matters run as smoothly as possible and they are kept informed of the progress of their claims at regular stages.
Say I had just bought a house and have discovered a discrepancy in the property that the previous owner has lied about, what should I do?
That is a very loaded question! It depends on the seriousness of the fib and the discrepancy and the value or loss to the client. First of all the client should come in and see a member of our property team and discuss it with them. The property lawyer may be able to resolve matters for the client or can refer the client on to the litigation team, who can provide further advice as to the appropriate course of action.
How do you stay up to date with the latest laws and regulations?
In all sorts of ways. I attend courses, view webinars, talk to colleagues in team meetings, read relevant publications such as monthly legal magazines and periodicals, BUT the main way I keep up to date is by actually practicing in my area of law; acting for people on all sorts of matters and dealing with other solicitors. Going to court a lot helps too, in terms of being able to see what orders the judges are making. The best way to stay knowledgeable is to just do the work!
What does 2018 look like for the business?
Very exciting! We have plans for growth in Dorset and I’ll have some exciting news to tell everyone in the New Year regarding that – but sadly I can’t say today!
Dutton Gregory is doing all it can to ensure that we have the best people on board to provide the greatest service we can to our clients and the community. Our aim is to provide a ‘one-stop-shop’ for families and businesses from each of our offices throughout Hampshire and Dorset. We have received recognition and reward for our services to clients and our work with our local business colleagues and we aim to build on that over the coming year. In fact, we have recently heard that we have been shortlisted as a finalist in the Dorset Legal Awards 2018 in two categories; “Law Firm of the Year” and “PI / Clinical Negligence Team of the Year”. I understand that 22 other law firms submitted applications to become “Law Firm of the Year”, so we are honoured to be a finalist, along with three other firms. The ultimate winner will be announced in February next year, so we have our fingers crossed!
Do you have a festive message for our readers?
I would like to wish all your readers, our clients and our business friends, a very “Merry Christmas” and a “Happy New Year” from everyone at Dutton Gregory.
t. 01202 315005
a. Dutton Gregory Solicitors, 3 Poole Road, Bournemouth, Dorset, BH2 5QJ