Financial & Legal News

The Pandemic One Year On Legally

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“That was the year that was and what a difference a year makes” - the aphorisms for 2020 flow thick and fast and with Oldham hitting the headlines on a weekly basis for corona statistics we’ve all had our part to play.

Businesses have been tested like never before but Pearson Solicitors and Financial Advisers are hopeful for 2021. 

As a business during 2020 we welcomed several new staff, adapted to working from home allowing employees to be fully flexible moving forward and on top of all that have plans to open up two new offices to extend our legal and financial offerings.

We have also been able to extend our charitable support for Maggie’s Cancer Care for another year and staff are looking forward to getting back into the centre as volunteers.  At the same time we have focused on charities and concerns close to our hearts during the pandemic such as Oldham Foodbank, Dr Kershaw’s, the Oldham Coliseum and supported Frank Rothwell in his amazing Atlantic row raising funds for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

“It’s been a tough year for all businesses, we work alongside many of you and I’d like to think we’ve been there for each other in these tough times. Whilst we’ve managed with a variety of Zoom type meetings we do like the personal touch and to meet and greet our clients and so we’re looking forward to getting back into our offices and seeing clients at some point soon,” said Partner and Head of Financial Advice, Richard Eastwood.

Business Challenges and Successes in 2020

There is no doubt the various lockdowns have been challenging for all businesses.

In the early days of the pandemic our employment team and corporate lawyers were advising on furlough, GDPR and home working, the changing job retention scheme and the unforeseen circumstances surrounding Covid-19 and force majeure contracts.

“Many of our clients are SMEs and rent commercial property and in this area of the law the rules and regulations adapted to a pandemic almost weekly.  The new Coronavirus Act 2020 put in place last year on March 25th meant we had to act quickly and I’d like to think we assisted in keeping business clients up to date and briefed,” added Richard.

The housing market took an initial hit as everyone stayed put in March last year, but stamp duty holidays and a search for that little bit of garden put some bounce back into conveyancing and we’ve dealt with record levels of house sales already this spring.

Several staff have joined us during the past few months in family, residential property, commercial law, financial services, marketing, litigation and personal injury and we are still expanding and keen to recruit young lawyers to join our business, it’s really important to us that we keep jobs and professional  services in the centre of Oldham.

“Some good things have come along as well, as we adapted to working from home we’ve consequently had a greater focus on paperless working which is an environmental change that was long overdue.  Potential clients have also adapted and whilst we are at heart a local firm, searches for legal services on our website have reached record levels from all over the UK,” he said.

Many businesses have adapted to life under lockdown and perceptions may have changed for professional services and so seeing your solicitor working from home with family life going on in the background may have helped to break down some barriers.

But sadly in some areas family life has been tough and the care and family team at the Pearson have been extra busy.  Conversely as we were spending more time with ‘loved’ ones - engagement ring purchases reportedly spiked in lockdown, but divorce rates also shot up.  The usual busy times for family solicitors are January and September, but in 2020 the peaks and troughs balanced out as it became crunch time for many relationships.

Most people traditionally engage solicitors when they move house or need a Will, both of which continue to be expanding areas and will always be the traditional ways the public come across a solicitor, many for the first time.

“Pearson Solicitors have been at the heart of the Oldham legal community since the 1870’s so it will take more than a global pandemic to change that,” said Richard.

Despite the challenges and uncertainties of the past year resilience will see businesses through as many organisations not only bounce back, but start to grow in the post-pandemic period and Pearson are proud to be committed to being there to support them.

For advice on any financial or legal issues contact the Pearson team on 0161 785 3500 or email enquires@pearsonlegal.co.uk

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.

Written by Richard Eastwood

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