Staff Stories

Peter Mahy, Managing Partner

Managing Partner, Peter Mahy

“I gained my LLB Law Degree from the University of Sheffield in 1993, completed an M.Phil. in Criminology at the University of Cambridge in 1994, travelled round the world for a year before undertaking the LPC at the University of Northumbria. I joined Howells Solicitors in Sheffield as a trainee in 1996. I qualified in 1998 where I specialised in civil liberties and human rights and later became Head of the Civil Liberties Department.

I was made a partner at Howells in 2002 and in 2010 I was named Legal Aid Lawyer of the Year Award as a result of my work on the Marper case before the European Court of Human Rights. The Court ruled that the retention of innocent peoples DNA was a breach of their human rights. It is considered one of the most significant Human Rights cases – a world changer.

I have been listed in Chambers and Partners as a leading individual for many years in relation to Actions Against the Police, Civil Liberties and Administrative and Public Law. I have conducted cases before all levels of courts, including the House of Lords and European Court of Human Rights and have over 30 reported cases. I often appear on national television and radio.

In 2011 I was appointed as Howells Managing Partner and am responsible for ensuring the firm maintains its excellent reputation and survives and thrives.

Heather Smith, Senior Receptionist

Senior Receptionist, Heather Smith

I commenced employment with Howells in 2005, working within the Children team as a secretary, which I really enjoyed.  Working in the team was really interesting role but also very sensitive as it involved dealing with social services, adoptions etc.  I had the opportunity in 2008 to change roles within the firm covering maternity leave.   I found being a receptionist very rewarding, dealing with clients face to face and on the phone and received real job satisfaction.  I feel as though I ended up doing what I do best.

Howells has a good in house training development for all employees with a wide variety of training on offer such as: communication skills, equality and diversity, conflict management training, client care training etc.  This helps to benefit all employees in the firm.

In August 2014 I was delighted when I was promoted to senior receptionist.  I have been given more responsibility, which includes the smooth running of two receptions, and am supported by a dedicated team of receptionists who I am fortunate to work with.

Howells always encourages career progression within the firm, promoting internally wherever possible.

I get great satisfaction from the wide range of clients that we assist.  Every day brings it’s own challenges as you never know what each day will bring.

Kathryn Lill, Solicitor

Solicitor, Kathryn Lill

I have been employed by Howells since 2008, originally applying to the firm on the recommendation of a friend. I was volunteering as a generalist adviser and session supervisor at a local advice centre in Sheffield one evening a week and loved the work. My friend had come to Howells about six months earlier and commented on both the diversity of the practice areas and the friendliness of the staff. I joined Howells as a Welfare Benefits and Debt Adviser. The areas of law were new to me and I received training when I joined the firm, as well as day to day supervision.

Howells opened a new office in Barnsley in 2010. I started working at the branch as the Welfare Benefits and Debt Adviser at the end of that year and started a qualification to become a Debt Relief Order Intermediary. I successfully completed this in 2011 and was able to start to apply for this type of debt relief for our clients.

I applied for a training contact with the firm in 2011 which commenced in April 2013.

The first seat that I undertook during my training contact was with the criminal defence team. I thoroughly enjoyed this and started to work towards my Police Station Accreditation towards the end of my seat. By the end 2013, I had decided that I would like to qualify into criminal defence and was offered the opportunity to complete my higher rights of audience (criminal proceedings). I completed the course and exams in February and found out that I had passed a few weeks later.

I qualified as a solicitor in October 2014 and started to work in the in the criminal defence team. I really enjoy my role, particularly representing clients at the police station and at the Magistrates’ Court.

I have now been at Howells for six years, which seems to have flown by. I have been lucky enough to work with different teams throughout my roles and have felt supported and encouraged throughout my time with the firm.

Liam Flanagan, Apprentice

Liam was awarded the ‘Outstanding BTEC Apprentice of the Year (16-18yrs)’ by the National BTEC Awards 2015 for his outstanding work and progression under the apprentice scheme. Watch the video on Liam’s nomination and award