First published in Around Saddleworth
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We recently sat down for a (socially distanced) coffee and a chat with Rebecca O’Donnell from O’Donnell Solicitors in Saddleworth.
Rebecca O’Donnell studied Law at Leeds University and completed the final stage of her legal education part-time at the College of Law Chester, whilst already working for a well-known regional firm whereat she would later qualify.
Rebecca carried out her Training Contract at that firm and qualified as a Solicitor in 2007. She was soon invited to Partnership in 2010, (prior to the firm’s incorporation) and following incorporation, was appointed a Director. Rebecca’s training offered her an invaluable and intimate insight into several disciplines of the Law, enabling her to draw on that knowledge when required to do so. Rebecca eventually headed up the Private Client department of the firm which she helped grow rapidly and successfully.
Rebecca is well connected in the local area and enjoys a strong and loyal following in the Property and Private Client sector.
She is also highly praised as a good litigator with a particular emphasis on contested Estate litigation, as well as Landlord and Tenant disputes acting for a number of private Landlords.
Becky’s practice has a bias in Private Client and the elderly; however, she continues to act for a number of private clients in connection with residential property work and in contentious work when required depending upon the nature of the instructions.
Rebecca is highly regarded by Carers and Care Homes locally in respect of her work with the elderly and their relatives who wish to prepare Lasting Powers of Attorney or Wills. She also helps those wishing to apply to the Court of Protection on behalf of a person who has lost capacity or in dealing with the estate of someone who has passed away. Rebecca is frequently appointed as a professional trustee, executor, and or attorney for individuals and works closely with a network of independent financial advisors.
Rebecca has a caring nature and is often sought out by local care providers. She is happy to attend clients at their home, in hospital, care homes or residence where required. In her spare time, Rebecca enjoys spending quality time with her young family, visiting new places on holiday, dining out, nights out, (babysitter dependant), running, and all types of exercise. Rebecca also likes indulgent days with her friends visiting Spa’s and enjoying afternoon teas or a cocktail or two are also a much-loved treat.
How has your business managed to succeed through the COVID19 crisis?
First and foremost we have a fantastic team with a ‘can-do’ attitude. We have been very careful about the type of individual we take on and are a dynamic and extrovert set with an extremely positive attitude. The team are always looking for the positives in a situation and for opportunities and will never give up. Our 24 strong staff, all adapted quickly to working remotely and with the best technology to support us all. We found the transition pretty seamless. Our files could all be accessed remotely and phones diverted. We received a high volume of new instructions throughout this period and output was pretty consistent. Video calls proved a popular way of holding client meetings during the lockdown.
What drew you to a career in the Law?
I knew when first studying Law at A-Level that I had a genuine love for it. The intricacies, the philosophies and the elegance of a good legal argument drew me, but also the wit and humour that the Law can also offer.
When and why did you decide to start up your own legal firm.
I qualified as a solicitor in 2007 and then became a partner in the firm at which I qualified, specialising in Private Client and heading up that department of the firm. At that same firm, my husband headed up the Commercial Team. My husband and I had a vision and a passion for a certain type of Law firm which we mused over for years before breaking away and setting up our own firm in 2015 together. We broke everything down and had an image for how we wanted to operate and present the business. Although on a much smaller scale than the firm we now have today. Too many businesses in different sectors become stale. They don’t look after the basics like presentation and surroundings and first impression, at the risk of seeming complacent. We will never stop moving forward and always want O’Donnell Solicitors to be at the forefront of the legal market providing the best advice and in the best surroundings.
What’s it like running your own business and what kind of boss are you?
Fantastic. You can construct something unique from scratch. You are in control of the ingredients and can select everything to complete the picture. It gives you a sometimes overwhelming sense of responsibility but immense pride and a sense of belonging. It’s like nurturing a child and watching it grow from strength to strength taking great pride in each stage of its development.
What is a typical day for you?
I will skip the 6.00 am to 7.30 am part of the day which is entertaining and stressful for very different reasons. We have three sons aged under 9. Say no more. I often have three client appointments in any one day and I enjoy meeting the different personalities and ascertaining the different needs of each individual. I enjoy advising each client according to their particular situation, including in a lot of cases strategizing future IHT planning. I work collaboratively with my clients and enjoy forming great relationships with them. When I am not seeing clients I am often drafting Legal Documents, be it wills, LPA’s, Applications to the Court or Probate registry and assisting with the business management side of the practice. I try and squeeze a gym class in either at lunchtime or immediately after work before heading back to the family in the evening.
What are your outside interests?
The honest answer is I do not have much time to relax. Life is full-on and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Often our boys are playing sport in the evenings or need help with homework or in the summer months we may head out for walks sometimes finishing at a Local Pub for dinner. When the children are in bed my husband and I often make plans for the business and plan holidays and trips away with the boys. We have packed weekends often heading out to the surrounding countryside for long walks, sometimes heading to the Lake District, a place we are very fond of. We also live for our holidays and enjoy taking the boys to visit different countries.
Thanks, Rebecca it was lovely chatting to you.
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