Sheffield born Alyson Siddall began her journey with Howells an impressive thirty one years ago, when she returned from her legal training in London to be back in her native city to work at the firm.
“I’ve never wanted to work anywhere else” explains Alyson “I had heard of Howells, locally and professionally, before I completed my training in London, and I always knew I wanted to work for them due to their reputation of being a caring solicitors.
“The ethos of the firm was the main attraction for me. Howells has always been known, and still is, as being a firm which offers a good quality legal service for a client, regardless of their background. I remember when I first started working for Howells a district judge commented that I was working for a “very caring firm”. This only re-enforced what I already knew – that I was working for the right place.”
Originally serving the community in the firms Spital Hill office, Alyson began as an assistant solicitor in the firm’s family law team. She later became head of that department.
In 1991 Alyson was asked to be Partner in the firm, becoming one of the three first female Partners. The firm is now made up of 75% female employees and five of the Partners are a female.
Since Alyson’s appointment as Partner and head of the family law team, the family law department has grown substantially and has developed into two sub departments, matrimonial and children’s law. This year, the family law department has seen success with the expansion of their matrimonial team.
After becoming Partner, Alyson decided to give back to the community and taught at the Sheffield College in the early 90’s on their legal executive course. She also became a Collaborative Lawyer approximately 10 years ago.
In 2001 Alyson moved from working in the community to Howells’ central office in Sheffield city centre.
“We were the first solicitors to have a high street presence with an office with a shop front.” Alyson explains “And we had some drama when the great flood of Sheffield happened (in 2007) and our Love street office was flooded and our chairs were floating in the street! Back then we were known as the Citizens Solicitors, and areoften still referred to as this.”
After the expansion of the firm, by opening offices in Rotherham and Barnsley, Alyson co-drafted a bid for funding through the DWP’s “innovation scheme” which enabled the firm to assist separating parents by offering advice, counselling and mediation. This helped couples communicate and resolve issues as early as possible.
“Securing this funding and contract demonstrates that Howells can think outside of the box and draft competitive bids. . We were the only law firm nationally to be successful in our bid under Round 1 of the Contracts. I’m very proud of this and most importantly that this enabled us to help and support hundreds of families who may not have otherwise been able to afford the service.”
When asked why Alyson has stayed at Howells for thirty one years she replied “I love working at Howells, and I have not wanted to work anywhere else.
The support from everyone in the firm is amazing, and there are no big egos at Howells and some law firms/individuals in our profession put pride before their client’s best interest, not us. We never run up costs unnecessarily. Providing an excellent service whilst keeping clients fully informed about costs is something that I am very passionate about.
“I have clients who I helped and supported over fifteen years ago but still remember me and speak so highly of the help I gave and the service they received at Howells that they recommend us to their friends and family. This makes me very proud to work at here.”