Once upon a time, there was a conveyancing solicitor named Anna Newport.
Anna had rather a lot of experience in conveyancing and was, as it happens, pretty darn good at her job. (If this was a traditional fairy tale, we’d probably also be saying something about appley cheeks and golden hair, but seeing as we are serious professionals with many years of illustrious education between us, we’ll let you imagine that bit for yourselves.)
Now, Anna didn’t have to contend with a big bad wolf or three bears or the possibility of turning into a pumpkin at midnight, but she did have a bit of a bugbear. And that bugbear was the small matter of the culture of the conveyancing profession as a whole. (Did we say it was a bit of a bugbear? We may need to rephrase that).
The thing is, in this particular once upon a time world (which as it happens, looked rather like West Yorkshire), it seemed to Anna that conveyancing solicitors weren’t treated in the way they deserved to be treated. After all, conveyancers tend to be creative, collaborative, process-driven people who want to help other people buy homes. She thought they should be lauded as the princesses and princes they are, not as something akin to the three little pigs.
With all this in mind, Anna decided she was ready for a change. She left her sensible job in a law firm with the intention of writing a book about conveyancing. Unfortunately, though writing a book is a fun and worthy pursuit, isn’t a particularly lucrative one. Anna began doing some legal locum work here and there to keep the pennies coming in.
We said already that Anna was very good at her job, didn’t we? Well, she was so good that she couldn’t quite get away with the here-and-there locum work she was picking up. Before long, clients started bothering her about setting up shop herself, so they’d always know where to find her. Anna managed to resist for a while, but when a client actually offered to pay the cost of law firm insurance from their own pocket, she felt she had to give the idea of going into business some serious thought. (For the record, this is not the sort of fairy tale where people let other people pay for crucial business expenses and the generous client in question was politely turned down).
When Anna thought about it properly, she decided she rather liked the idea of starting her own firm. Who’s to say that legal work shouldn’t have a human side, and that everyone involved shouldn’t be happy, valued and cared for? What was stopping her from building a Goldilocks-worthy firm where the support and the compensation and the quality of the work and the customer service and the work/life balance would be just right? With all this very firmly in mind, Anna got her operations-minded husband Clive on board, and together they launched Newport Land and Law.
Of course, running a business isn’t always a fairy tale. In the five years since Anna and Clive first took the plunge, there have definitely been hard bits. It hasn’t always been easy to see where the company would end up, or what might be the best route to take to get there. However, we can absolutely say, hand on heart, that the good has far, far outstripped the not-so-good.
We’ve grown our staff base by the power of ten (today there are twenty of us on the Newport Land and Law team). We’ve won awards (we were named Supplier of the Year: Professional Support at The Negotiator Awards 2021, don’t you know). We’ve added additional legal services to our arsenal (we’re on hand to offer support with wills, probate, dispute resolution and the like). We’ve also kept on turning a healthy profit year on year (which, we’re sure you’ll agree, is pretty vital).
Though we’re hugely proud of all these things, the part that really gives us a warm, fuzzy feeling is this: we’re providing a high-quality service that keeps our clients happy while also keeping our team happy. Because: yes, we believe that satisfied clients are absolutely key in business. But we also believe that ensuring our staff members are well-supported and have a sustainable work-life balance is just as important.
And perhaps we’re onto something, because if you stop by our office, you’ll hear lots of important solicitor-esque discussions about things like restrictive covenants, drainage surveys and property boundaries… but you’ll also hear lots of laughter. Yes, laughter in a legal firm: maybe it’s more of a fairy tale than we thought.
This month we’ll be celebrating the fifth anniversary of Newport Land and Law with what is likely to be an obscene amount of cake. Chocolate, vanilla, carrot, red velvet… you name it, we’ll probably be eating it. And in between the celebrations, we’ll be asking ourselves the same question we do every day: what can we do right now to make things better for our clients and our team tomorrow, and next week and next year? After all, things don’t all stop with a ‘happily ever after’ in the real world… though Anna does hope a fairy godmother will appear one day to wave a magic wand and finally give her some time to finish that damn book.
If you’d like to talk to us about becoming a client or a team member, or even if you’d just like to congratulate us, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. We solemnly promise not to steal your porridge, blow down your house or make you kiss any frogs. (Well, not any slimy ones, anyway).