From temp to Director
By Adele Bebbington-Plant, Director and Head of Wills, Trusts & Estates
I first walked through the doors of our office in Chester City Centre over 15 years ago. I knew instantly that this was the place for me and where I wanted to pursue my legal career.
I had just completed the Graduate Diploma in Law and Legal Practice Course at Chester College of Law and I was scheduled to spend just two weeks as a temporary cover secretary in the Residential Conveyancing team. At the time I was simply looking to add some work experience to my CV, however, I was quickly taken under the wing of Lesley Stuart, partner and Head of the Residential Conveyancing department at that time. I ended up staying for the entire summer during which time I received a distinction in my exam results and was subsequently offered a training contract, starting my first seat with Lesley.
During my training I had spells in our Conveyancing and Litigation departments, however, it was during the time spent in the Wills, Trusts & Estates team that I realised this would be the area of law I would specialise in. Once fully qualified, I was taken on as a solicitor within this team.
There are many reasons why I chose to stay at Cullimore Dutton rather than moving elsewhere to progress my career, here are just a few.
To learn from such knowledgeable lawyers
I was always fascinated by our firm’s rich heritage and driven by the collective desire to provide a high-quality service to our clients. From day one I was working alongside such highly skilled and experienced lawyers, I was able to gain vast experience in dealing with high value estates, trusts, complex and varied inheritance tax issues as well as fascinating assets such as national heritage properties.
More than just a number
Growing up I worked in my family business so was never interested in being ‘just a number’ in a big organisation. Cullimore Dutton was a perfect fit for me from the outset – from my first morning when the then senior partner took time out to welcome me, through all of the partners who shared their skills, knowledge and experience with me, and now in my current role, I have always felt part of a team and part of a working family.
Family and flexibility
Cullimore Dutton have also afforded me time to focus on my own family. My husband and I have a little girl of 11 and twin boys who are 6, all born during my time here. It is a running joke that I have had a desk in virtually every room of our beautiful building , towards the end of my twin pregnancy I was moved from the top floor to the ground floor (despite insisting I could manage the many flights of stairs!) and was based in a room next to Gary Shield, one of our in-house IFA’s and nominated first aiders. Gary breathed a visible sigh of relief when I finished for maternity leave as he hadn’t had to deliver any babies!
Following the birth of our twins I found myself torn between my family and career. Having spoken openly with MD Andrew Wright I was able to agree on part time hours with some home working. I was part time for over four years, which allowed me to both focus on my young family while continuing to work and study for my STEP diploma.
I joined Cullimore Dutton as a temp, soon progressed to the role of Trainee Solicitor and as my career has progressed, I have held the roles of both Assistant Solicitor and Associate Solicitor. In February of this year, I took on a new challenge as Head of our Wills, Trusts & Estates team – little did I realise that a few weeks into my new role we would be faced with COVID-19 and a UK Lockdown!
Further career progression followed as in July of 2020 I was honoured to be offered the opportunity to become a Director and part of our new management structure, enabling me to come full circle and now be in a position where I am able to share my skills, knowledge and experience with junior members of the team – not bad for someone who started out as a two week temp.
Reflecting on the past 15 years, the thing that stands out to me most and makes Cullimore Dutton what it is, is the people. I am very proud that I am still working alongside colleagues and for clients who were there at the very beginning of my career, who have seen and supported throughout. Who have seen my children grow and who have shared in the triumphs (and the challenges). Some are sadly no longer with us and some have joined along the journey. I work with, and for some fabulous people. I am honoured to be part of Cullimore Dutton’s rich history and I am genuinely excited to be part of the team to take us into our future.
Exciting times ahead!
Until next time.
Get in touch with Cullimore Dutton Solicitors on 01244 356 789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org