AS WELL as celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) on Wednesday, March 8, director Joanne Ormston marks a 20-year anniversary with Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers in the same week.
From joining the Oldham-based law firm as a graduate in the accounts team, Joanne has worked her way up to being director and was its first female partner.
And she believes that shows how the company thinks, saying: “That was quite a landmark day and a turning point for the firm.
“We have already embraced equity which is the theme for this year’s IWD, #EmbraceEquity, by offering all staff a very flexible working environment.”
Embracing equity recognises that each person has a very different set of circumstances and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.
Here, we catch up with Joanne.
How did you end up working in a law firm?
I started working at the NatWest on the counter as a temporary contract but heard that Pearson Solicitors were looking for a legal cashier and I applied. Lo and behold I got the job and it went from there!!
Being offered the practice manager role aged 24, qualifying as a chartered accountant and then being offered partnership in 2013.
Winning Businesswoman of the Year at the Oldham Business Awards was a particular high. It’s also been great to mentor younger staff and enjoy continued business growth.
Best part of your job?
Seeing the business succeed and staff flourish.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t worry about everything – things work themselves out and you go on to realise that you learn along the way and next time, you’ll handle things a little better.
How has practice management changed over the years?
Now it’s all about the technology, it’s about IT systems and we are very much process driven, which benefits the clients.
We try to be paperless in our offices but I remember the days of waiting for the post to arrive and the excitement of the early fax machines!
How do you see law firms adapting and what are their biggest challenges?
Some of the biggest challenges are compliance, insurance and achieving economies of scale to keep costs down and make the work profitable.
Firms need to decide where their niche is and do that well.
I think a future change could be outsourcing certain work streams to other countries and some bigger firms are already doing this successfully.
Best personal achievement
It’s about becoming a mum and having happy children.
Best work achievement
Remaining at Pearson’s, staying at a place I thought I could make a difference at and seeing that through.
Dog or cat person and why?
Both – I love the loyalty and love from a dog, who else is pleased to see you at the end of the working day.
However, I like the independence of cats and the swoosh of their tail which always makes me jealous!