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Pearson Director Celebrates 20 Year Anniversary

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As well as celebrating International Women's Day, law firm Director Joanne Ormston is marking a 20-year anniversary with Pearson Solicitors in Oldham.

From joining Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers as a graduate in the accounts team, Joanne has worked her way up to Director and Practice Manager and was the first female Partner appointed by the Oldham law firm.

“That was quite a landmark day and a turning point for the firm, I’d like to think at Pearson we have moved on from the equality debate as we have been a progressive employer for a number of years and have already embraced equity, offering all staff a very flexible working environment,” said Joanne Ormston.

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. It is the theme for this year’s International Women’s Day where the #EmbraceEquity is seen as a must-have across the board.

Taking Ten with Pearson Director Joanne Ormston

We caught up with Joanne to see how life at the law firm has changed in the past 20 years:

How did you end up working in a law firm?

I graduated and started working at the NatWest on the counter as a temporary contract.  I 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!!

Career highs

Highs – being offered the Practice Manager role after 2 years at 24 years old.  Becoming qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 2011 and then being offered Partnership in 2013.  As part of the firm, it’s been great to mentor and help various younger staff members and enjoy business growth every year since 2013.

What is the best part of your job?

Seeing the business succeed and the staff within it enjoying their role and feeling like they make a difference.  As a practice manager, I enjoy helping people to achieve where they want to be in their job.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Don’t worry as much about everything – things work themselves out and you go on to realise you along the way and next time, you'll handle things differently.

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 at the end of the day is a benefit to the clients.  We try to be paperless in our offices and everything is working at 100 miles per hour… I remember the days of solicitors and clients waiting for the post to arrive and the excitement of the early fax machines!

How do you see local law firms adapting in the future and what are their biggest challenges?

Some of the biggest challenge facing law firms like ours 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 rather than trying to cover all areas.  We are always aiming to get all staff able to be client facing and operate files at the right level.

ABS, The Legal Services Act - the so-called ‘Tesco Law’ all predicted huge changes for local law firms – what do you think the main changes will be in the next few years?

I think one of the main changes could be outsourcing certain work streams to other countries - some bigger firms are already doing this in certain areas e.g. conveyancing.  At the same time, smaller firms are looking constantly at service levels and this is something we always challenge staff on as client expectations continue to increase.

Best personal achievement

It’s got to be 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!

For more information on a career at Pearson Solicitors or for legal advice call 0161 787 3500 or email

Please note that the information and opinions contained in this article are not intended to be comprehensive, nor to provide legal advice. No responsibility for its accuracy or correctness is assumed by Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers Ltd or any of its members or employees. Professional legal advice should be obtained before taking, or refraining from taking, any action as a result of this article.

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