Name: Jacqueline Emmerson
Business Name: Emmerson’s Solicitors Ltd
Describe the goods/services you provide:
Emmersons Solicitors is a law firm which provides a range of services across the North East including; wills and probate, lasting power of attorney, residential and commercial conveyancing, business leases, divorce and separation, motoring law, fraud and criminal defence.
We provide a high quality, bespoke service for businesses and individuals.
Can you talk us through your career to date?
I began my legal career in 1989 as an Articled Clerk, now known as a Trainee Solicitor. Throughout my first two years I worked for and alongside some very encouraging professionals, including some inspirational women which at the time was unusual. They taught me that women can succeed in what was once a very male dominated industry. I completed my Articles at Ward Hadaway.
After gaining my professional qualifications, I went travelling for two years. This experience taught me a lot. I worked my way around the world, on fishing trawlers to working in hotels – it was extremely character building and an experience which I think shaped who I am today.
When I returned, I began working for a firm where I experienced a mixed caseload including personal injury, medical negligence, wills and probate and general litigation whilst also building up an expertise in housing law. I also used my expertise, gained during my articles, to build up a caseload in family law.
Why did you decide to set-up your own business?
In 2008 and 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. My father had been a local businessman in Sunderland, and I was inspired by him too. I had a knowledge of business development, marketing and finance, so felt I was ready to branch out on my own. Being an all-rounder in law, which very few solicitors are, enabled me to attract lots of different clients.
What were the first steps in doing that?
I quickly found premises, began negotiating the commercial lease and sought support from Business Link, a government-funded business advice and guidance service. It all turned around quickly, and within a month Emmersons Solicitors was up and running.
What has been your worst day in business and how did you overcome it?
Three months into running the business, the enormity of what I had taken on had hit me. I was exhausted and overwhelmed. Luckily, on that day my business mentor from Business Link turned up and gave me the support I needed to get back on track. She really taught me how to delegate to others and how to run a business, I was an established solicitor but needed to fully adapt a business mindset which I then adjusted to.
What are you working toward in 2019?
This year will see us continue to grow two areas of law so that they can become standalone departments, commercial property and private client work which includes, wills, probate and lasting power of attorney. We are also looking to continue the steady expansion of our business and hope to grow the team.
What keeps you motivated?
As I found out many years ago, I enjoy helping others, so to see someone benefit from our services keeps me motivated.
I would say I am very driven and enjoy building on our brand and continuing to expand and set new goals. Part of my motivation is also supporting our local business communities across the region and using my experience to put people in touch who could benefit from one another.
How do you measure success within your business?
We measure our success based on referrals and on good feedback – the most important thing to us is providing the best possible service and having happy clients. Our conveyancing team recently reached an 82% conversion rate which also speaks volumes.
What’s your one piece of advice for someone thinking about setting up a business in 2019?
I would say – be prepared. You must be in it for the long run and be prepared for years of having a lower salary than you might be expecting or used to. Also – concentrate on strategy and work on the business rather than in it.
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