Legal Hero Norman Hartnell

A True Legal Hero

Awards Success – Legal Hero

Last year’s Devon and Somerset Law Society (DASLS) Awards were a great success for The Family Law Company. Three solicitors won their categories, and we made much use of the term ‘hat-trick of awards’. They were all female solicitors and this added to the kudos – law remains a male-dominated sector.

Fast forward to this year’s awards. Of the two submissions I worked on, the first was for Plymouth solicitor Derek Jordan who is a rock for difficult domestic violence cases. I spoke to Derek at length and felt humbled by his commitment to standing up for vulnerable clients.

The second submission was for Norman Hartnell. Norman is the founder and Managing Director of The Family Law Company – his ethos underpins the company’s refreshing attitude to family law. Norman is the last to blow his own trumpet, so the submission was carried out in secret. His colleagues asked me to enter him for the Legal Hero category.

I spoke to people at length to gather information and everyone had nothing but praise for him. His commitment for the past 25 years (and more) has been to turn family law from a combatative process to one that attempts to keep couples amicable. This is especially important where there are children involved.

The submission seemed strong to me, but you never can tell with awards. The judges decision, as they say, is final.

The Legal Hero award was to be announced on the night, so there was no shortlist. I could only keep my fingers crossed. I was delighted that Derek was shortlisted, particularly as his area of work is by far and away a less ‘glamorous’ area of law.

Unfortunately, the heavy snow we experienced in the South West in March scuppered the original awards event. It moved to May and Norman was unable to attend, as he was on holiday. However, the team FaceTimed him with the news that he had been announced as DASLS Legal Hero 2018. There were certainly a few tears shed.

Although Derek didn’t win on this occasion, he was acknowledged as a finalist. I am hopeful that he will win on another occasion, as he thoroughly deserves to.

Legal Hero DASLS AwardsWell done to Norman. Having worked with The Family Law Company for several years and been touched by family law issues in my own life, I agree with everyone, you are a true Legal Hero.

The award was collected on Norman’s behalf by Rachel Buckley and Stephen Sowden.

Post-awards news report here.

 

The Family Law Company at the Exeter Living Awards

Exeter Living Awards 2017

Awards are part of business life – in Exeter we have a wonderful array of awards to enter clients for; WMN, Express & Echo, Devon Life Food & Drink, Love the Flavour, Taste of the West – the list goes on!

I was lucky enough to attend the Exeter Living Awards recently. This is the second year for the awards, which celebrate the ‘best of Exeter’ (and beyond). The event was held at Exeter Uni’s Great Hall which was packed; more tables than last year and a very lively crowd indeed. The Great Hall looked, well, great! Tony Hawkes (not the skateboarder) was the compere, and entertained us with his dry humour.

My partner on the night was Sharon Goble of If…Media, and we had the best table in the house, with Jim, Lucy and Nathalie from Exeter Cookery School, Bethan and colleagues from YMCA Exeter and two of my clients, Kirsten and Rachel from The Family Law Company. Everyone, apart from Sharon and me, was a finalist. (Next year, Sharon?).

Awards Winners

Exeter Cookery SchoWinners Family Law Donna, Kirsten and Rachel at Exeter Living Awardsol and YMCA were pipped at the post on this occasion, such a shame but the competition was red hot. However, as the awards on the presentation table dwindled, we came to the Legal & Financial category. The Family Law Company has won some great awards in the past nine months, and a fifth gong seemed too much to hope for.

So, when they were announced as winners, I emitted a rather loud and embarrassing ‘woop woop’. Kirsten, Rachel and Donna (who was there with another winner, Citizen’s Advice Bureau which she’s a Trustee of) went onstage to collect the award. They looked absolutely great, three talented, strong women in an all too often male-dominated sector.

I always say to clients that it is almost as good to be a finalist as it is to win. But then, when they do win, it feels amazing!

Next up

In May, Devondale Electrical Wholesalers will find out if they have won their category in the national Electrical Wholesaler Awards, which they’ve just been shortlisted for. Fingers crossed for a win, Devondale is a truly independent South West company with a great ethos.

Writing awards submissions is sometimes time-consuming, but they really do help the writer (in this case, me) to understand a company better.

Of course, awards wins are only part of a PR service, but they are great for kudos, confidence and chutzpah. And not just for clients, for me too.

Awards Season 2015

This year some of my clients are entered in awards that are new to me, as well as one that I know well, having written the submission for the very first Small Business of the Year winner, Nu-Heat, in 2011.

In the annual Express & Echo Business Awards for Exeter and beyond, I’m delighted that Robin Rea and his Ottery St Mary restaurant, Rusty Pig are finalists in two categories; Entrepreneur of the Year and Creative Business. Robin has already won at the Live Love Eat Awards this year – Platinum Award and Regional Champion.

Then there are the Tile Association Awards, which I discovered when trawling for potential awards for my South London client Diespeker & Co. Diespeker has also been shortlisted in two categories; Manufacturer of the Year and Best Use of Tile in Hospitality or Leisure.

I was also asked to enter a legal exec in for the CILEx (Chartered institute of Legal Executives) President’s Award. More of that soon.

It is always exciting to learn that a client is a finalist in an awards event and I wish them all the best of luck. I’ll be at the Express & Echo Awards myself – with some trepidation having learnt that Katie Hopkins is the guest speaker!