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I wasn’t surprised they decided to sell the firm to their employees

Posted on June 26th 2023

Blog by Helen Davies, Paralegal

When I started at Oliver & Co Solicitors in July 2005, I had just left university and needed a job, any job, while I figured out what to do with my life. 18 years later I am still here and I think that speaks volumes about the kind of employer Olivers is.

I didn’t have any legal or even office experience. I was joining the PI department, very exciting I thought to be working in private investigation, transcribing from wire taps and arranging stake outs! I was only slightly disappointed on my first day to discover it was in fact the personal injury department and I was taking up a position as a secretary.

 

It’s extremely satisfying when you finally trace a policy

After a few years, I moved to the industrial disease department, as a secretary at first but then taking on more tasks and moving into more of a paralegal role. This is a role I still do three days a week and I enjoy it immensely. Many of our industrial disease clients are great characters and I enjoy going through their employment histories with them, getting their life stories. I also do company research to try and trace insurance for companies long since dissolved and it’s extremely satisfying when you finally trace a policy.

In addition to my industrial disease work, two days a week I help with admin work. This can be anything from helping set things up on our case management system which was changed last year to creating a mail merge for previous clients or putting calculations into spreadsheets for reports.

I’m lucky that Olivers have allowed me to develop my strengths

I am a big fan of organisation and order (if you don’t believe me, ask my label maker!). This is helpful for all of my work but particularly my admin days and I’m lucky that Olivers have recognised this and allowed me to develop my role to play to this strength.

Times have changed at Olivers

I’ve seen so many changes since I started working here. Olivers have always been keen to keep up with technology and to be as efficient as possible. When I worked as a secretary, I would be brought a huge pile of files with a tape cassette on top which was my work to get through, now our dictation has gone digital and we’re as paperless as we can be.

It’s great to work for a company that really cares

As well as my actual work, I am part of our Corporate and Social Responsibility team. This was set up to formalise our charity and community work and it’s great to work for a company that really cares about this. We’ve had some fantastic fundraising events which, whilst raising money for amazing causes, have been excellent fun and have created lasting memories. From dragon boat racing to all day bike challenges and music gigs, there’s always something fun going on at Olivers.

I wasn’t surprised that they decided to sell the firm to their employees

Since joining Olivers, I’ve seen a lot of changes, the most recent and exciting being the firm becoming employee-owned. Having known the previous owners, David and Kay, for nearly 18 years I can’t say I was surprised that they had made the decision to sell the firm to their employees. They have always looked out for me as an employee, allowing me to develop my skills and I’ve always felt that I can speak to them about any issues.

It’s fantastic that all employees here have a voice

Becoming employee-owned has many benefits to the staff and it’s not just monetary, although it has been great to receive a tax-free bonus! I was fortunate to be appointed one of the firm’s employee representatives, this means that anyone with an issue, idea or suggestion, can come to me or one of the other four reps and have their voice heard, as reps, we then take our colleagues matters to the Board of Trustees. We recently had our first meeting with the board and it was a great experience. I really felt that they listened and understood where the employees were coming from and changes will be made. It’s fantastic that all employees here have a voice and I am very excited for the future of Oliver & Co.

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