Meet the Family Team with Louisa Bestford
I joined Sintons just over a year ago and I am an associate in the family team. I have found it to be a group of very strong and experienced individuals who collectively share knowledge and support each other. We have a unique dynamic and I am delighted to be part of it.
Tell us about your career to date…
I trained at a small firm in Cumbria, which, given the nature of the size of the firm but the strong profile it had in the community, meant I learned a lot quickly and got great experience, but reputation was absolutely everything as word travelled fast. One of the many things I took away was the huge importance of giving an outstanding service to every client.
I then became a head of department in a mid-sized firm in Teesside, which gave me insight into the balance of doing a great job for your clients while also being mindful of developing the business and the commercial side of your role. This experience has been so important and I’m finding it hugely valuable to the job I am doing at Sintons.
What attracted you to Sintons?
Sintons has a fantastic reputation for its family team, and in general, the focus on clients and commitment to exceeding expectations is something I absolutely share. That came across from my very first meeting with Steve Freeman, our department head, and I have come to see that it runs throughout the firm.
The fact it is a large full-service firm was also very appealing, as you can build relationships with clients knowing that we can offer them everything they need without having to refer them elsewhere. Everything is under one roof at Sintons and you can come to know and trust your colleagues, so can refer your clients to them with absolute confidence that they will deliver the same levels of legal and service excellence as you do.
What does your role involve?
I deal with all aspects of family law, but I am always especially keen to promote the fact that we aren’t just here for when things go wrong. We can help with future planning in the form of pre- and post-nuptial agreements so we can put the ‘what ifs’ to bed from the outset and ensure our clients have the peace of mind that if things sadly don’t turn out as planned, they have already made provision to protect themselves and their family and have expert advisors on hand to support them.
I am also very keen to develop Sintons’ reputation even further and am one of our team who regularly writes articles and makes podcasts. I also provide legal comment on BBC Radio Newcastle for family and matrimonial issues, which is a privilege to be asked to do.
What have been your personal highlights to date?
Joining Sintons has been a big highlight and being given the opportunity to build on what I had achieved previously. Although I was a head of department in my previous firm, my role at Sintons has allowed me greater involvement in high-value and complex cases across the whole UK. Each and every case is different and securing the best outcome for your client is a highlight in itself.
I am also very proud to be part of a team which was named Family Team of the Year at the Northern Law Awards 2019. The citation mentioned our strength and collaborative approach and we were absolutely delighted to be independently recognised as leaders in our field in the whole North of England.
The Family Team is one of the most highly rated in the North of England. What are the advantages of being part of it?
The collaborative working of the team and how we support each other is fantastic. This positively impacts on our levels of client service and the job we can do – clients are benefitting from the expertise of our whole team, rather than just one lawyer within it.
Our reputation is second to none and that continues to develop through the innovative ways we use to promote ourselves, such as through using social media, podcasts, and other digital means of communication. We are very forward-thinking and keen to lead the way.
How does Sintons differ from other firms you have worked in?
Sintons is a very ambitious firm which is growing quickly and there are many opportunities on offer here. The senior team lead by example and are very accessible. We sit in an open plan office and the most senior people in the business, including our Managing Partner, are always willing and available to have a chat with you if ever there is something you need.
We have a culture here which is far from the strict hierarchical structure many other law firms operate. Your views are considered and people as individuals can play a role in decision making, which is very unusual for a bigger firm. There is a fantastic atmosphere here and I am really proud to be part of the Sintons team.
What are your interests outside of work?
I have a husband and two children and live near the coast so we spend much of our free time on the beach – we are so lucky to have such a wonderful coastline in the North East. My children play rugby and I am the team manager of the Whitley Bay Rockcliff RFC under 8s, which also keeps us busy on weekends. I am also a keen runner – one year ago I did my first Parkrun, and then just last month completed the Great North Run. This is something I’m very proud of.