Renowned South Yorkshire law firm, Howells Solicitors, celebrates a milestone this October, with 40 years as one of the leaders in their industry. Originally founded in Sheffield, the firm has gone from strength to strength, facing dramatic changes to their industry and even facing severe floods, Howells reflects on their historic time in South Yorkshire.
Originally having 7 offices in Sheffield, the firm decided to reduce down to one main office in Love Street Sheffield, before disaster struck with the great flood of Sheffield in 2007.
“There were tables and computers floating out on the street!” explains head of client care at Howells Solicitors, Heather Smith “The damage was so bad we had to move offices”.
Howells then opened up their head office on Bridge Street Sheffield, giving them a prime location close to both the Crown and Magistrates courts.
In 2004 Howells decided to expand their work in South Yorkshire and open up an office on Ship Hill in Rotherham, and later in 2008 their Regent Street office in Barnsley, both prominent locations in both towns. However Howells is no stranger to having a high street presence.
“Howells was actually the first law firm in Sheffield to have a high street presence” Partner and head of family law at Howells, Alyson Siddall, explains “We were also the only law firm to offer advice on welfare and benefits, and we have always been renowned for our legal aid work. This has always reflected the firm’s ethos of being a client focused company. We have managed to continue to offer legal aid services alongside our experienced and renowned private client departments.”
Alyson, who joined firm an impressive thirty one years ago, also comments on the firm’s long standing history of being an investor in their people “Personally I have never wanted to work anywhere else because of our reputation of offering quality and placing people at the heart of what we do, both clients and our team.
“We have a number of solicitors and paralegals in the firm which have come through training contracts, apprentices and training provided for by us, and I’m proud that we have some of the best specialists in the industry.”
Alyson’s comments are reflected in 2019 as Howells have expanded their family Law and conveyancing departments, and announced the launch of a new training scheme for legal secretaries.
And Howells’ reputation of ‘giving back’ doesn’t stop there, as the firm are active fundraisers for local charities Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice and Barnsley Hospice. The firms Partner and matrimonial specialist, Sharon Lockwood, is an ambassador for Bluebell Wood “I’m proud to work with Bluebell Wood so closely, and especially proud that Howells supports such a fantastic cause.” The firm is also a proud member of the Barnsley and Rotherham Chamber of Commerce and actively participates in community events across the region.
The firm also invests heavily in their employees and offers opportunities for individuals looking to begin a career in Law.
Ex apprentice and now Paralegal Liam Flanagan said “I carried out an apprenticeship with Howells, and within two years I passed my level two in business and administration. Then I started in the family team working as the first line of communication for client enquiries. There I started my CILEX course which will enable me to become a solicitor without having to enrol in higher education, and gain on the job training.”
Solicitor Rebecca Pepper, who left University and carried out her training contact with Howells, says “Not only has working at Howells allowed me to gain experience in many areas of law, but it has allowed me to develop through both theory and practice as the firm constantly invest in their staff. You definitely get back what you put into working at Howells.”
And the firm are also investing in individuals searching for an opportunity to take their first steps into Law. Claire Bond, head of HR, who will launch a trainee secretary scheme within Howells in the near future says “I love training, and I realised there was a gap in the market in order to give people an opportunity to begin a career in law, as it is sometimes difficult to get your foot in the door. I’m very excited to begin this and welcome the chosen candidates to our already stellar secretary team.”