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Gloucestershire Business News

Loyal team is secret to longevity says law firm

A Gloucestershire law firm says it can boast over 150 years' worth of combined service from the seven longest-standing members of its team as it reaches its 70-year milestone.

Two lawyers have been with Willans for almost 30 years, one for 22 years and an additional four people are celebrating 20 years of service this year.

Steve Diamond, an associate conveyancer, began his legal career 28 years ago from a background in hotel management. The firm's then partners saw potential in him, his inner drive and the ability to build up strong and lasting client relationships.

Now he is one of the county's best-known residential property lawyers, acting for many repeat clients year-on-year.

Steve explained why he believes Willans has stood the test of time.

"I think it is down to the quality of service we provide. Firms have needed to adapt to compete in a changing market, without losing sight of their core values."

Jonathan Mills was brought in to head up the commercial property team at Willans in 1989, joining two months after Steve. A figurehead of the firm's commercial arm, he is well-known in his field, having acted in many multi-million pound transactions for a diverse range of clients.

Jonathan, who began his legal career after ten years in the Far East with the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank, is rated by Chambers as an "outstandingly responsive practitioner". After 24 years as a partner at Willans, he became a part-time consultant in 2013.

Magic circle City-trained corporate and commercial partner Paul Symes-Thompson is another of the firm's stalwarts, racking up 22 years of service.

Charity law consultant and former managing partner Margaret Austen celebrates 20 years at Willans this year, as do senior partner and lead litigation partner Nick Cox, and secretaries Anne Richards and Jinny Elgey.

Alongside Paul Symes-Thompson and Margaret Austen, Jonathan has overseen the firm's commercial arm, which continues to rank strongly for the South West year-on-year in national legal guides.

He commented: "Long-standing clients are dear to my heart. I particularly enjoy working with these sorts of people as there is a very strong personal relationship. I find that they know what you're thinking, and more particularly, you know what they're thinking, and working with clients I get on with gives me a real buzz. It's been a joy to watch the firm grow as it has over the years".

Managing partner Bridget Redmond commented: "We choose our lawyers not just for their excellent technical skills - they have to have outstanding people skills too. Clients tell us that they really appreciate the blend of both."

Pictured: Steve Diamond (left) and Jonathan Mills of Willans.

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