A SUNDERLAND Law Firm is celebrating 21 years of success in the city centre.
Emmersons Solicitors, which has been based on John Street since its launch, was created by Jacqueline Emmerson when she was 31. She was one of few women in the region to set up a law firm at the time.
Following the launch of the business, the team quickly grew from Jacqueline and her secretary to include several solicitors and professional lawyers as well as support and admin staff. Emmersons Solicitors now employs almost two dozen people and has a reach across the North-East via its network of offices.
Director Michael Robinson also joined the firm within its first year.
Speaking about the business, Jaqueline said: “Back when I launched the business there was a lot of competition and I knew that Emmersons had to stand out from the crowd. At the age of 31, I had reached the glass ceiling in terms of what I could do working for others – the industry was very male orientated, so I wanted to branch out and work for myself. “I set up in Sunderland because I had been brought up in the area and my father was a local businessman who was really passionate about the local community. He passed that loyalty to Sunderland on to me. I wasn’t well known in business at the time, however, my personal relationships developed into professional relationships and my reputation grew, and as did the business.
“I was inspired by the few other women who had set up their own practices in the industry, including Kay Boswell who I saw successfully managing her business whilst bringing up thr4ee children. I will also always remember local solicitor Bill Scanlan visiting the office to offer his congratulations and support.
“There have been some great highs but also some testing times, but we’ve always adapted and thrived.”
Within the first seven months of business and following a thorough assessment, Emmersons Solicitors became one of the first practices in Sunderland to gain Legal Aid Franchise status, a key milestone for even the more established and long-running solicitors at the time. This allowed Jacqueline and the team to carry out public funded work efficiently and to a high standard.
Emmersons Solicitors has also been shortlisted twice and Highly Commended once for the National Law Society Excellence Awards, as well as gaining its Lexcel Accreditation. The firm was Highly Commended during the Sunderland Echo Portfolio Awards in the ‘Medium Sized Business’ category and was mentioned in Parliament thanks to its successful campaign for a change to defence sentencing.
Emmersons Solicitors support several different charities, including Armed Forces charity, SSAFA, homeless charity, Crisis, the British Heart Foundation and Feeding Families North-East. The firm is also an official member of Solicitors for the Elderly, a specialist group of lawyers who have pledged to make a difference to older and vulnerable people.
Emmersons Solicitors dedication to the older community also includes its status as ‘Dementia Friends’ and its involvement in the Alzheimer’s Association scheme, offering reduced fee work in relation to Lasting Powers of Attorney.
Jacqueline still remembers the early days of the business, she said: “I still remember my first client, he was a young man who was having difficulty with the relationship of the mother of his child, who wouldn’t allow him to contact. It was such a rewarding experience to solve his case and help him. I was so grateful to him for walking through the door on that first day.”
Article first appeared in the Northern Echo on 29th January 2019
You can also park opposite our Sunderland Office on John Street.