Swansea legal firm eyes expansion following successful year of trading
A Swansea-based property law firm has revealed ambitious plans to double its headcount and turnover within the next three years, following a strong year of business growth.
Dezrezlegal, which has grown its workforce by 10 per cent over the past year and now has 35 members of staff, is now looking to increase its profit margins by more than 11.5% in the next 12 months.
Founded in 2009 with just two members of staff, the firm, which has offices on the SA1 Development and plans to take on a further two legal teams within the next year, attributes its success and growth to its commitment to investing heavily in its employees’ skills.
The conveyancing specialists have a number of training programmes in place for staff at all levels to ensure that they are getting the best out of every single employee. Individuals looking to start their legal careers can apply for a two-year Council of Licenced Conveyancers (CLC) qualification, which sees them split their time between classroom learning and direct training from an in-house qualified solicitor. Funded by Dezrezlegal, the competitive course enables individuals to become fully qualified conveyancers.
On top of mandatory training in sector related areas and IT systems, all staff receive six-monthly reviews to discuss their ambitions and develop tailored progression plans complete with suggested qualifications and training that will help them to achieve their goals.
Those looking to progress to management level are offered the chance to complete a Level 2 course in management, while existing managers are put through a Level 3 refresher course to maintain the highest standards and provide them with greater confidence to act in more of a mentorship capacity. An employee on the accounts team is also released half a day a week to complete an AAT accounting course at Gower College Swansea. In addition to this, the company partners up with local colleges to offer full-time administrative apprenticeships, helping students to get a foot in the door.
Laura Burkinshaw, Legal Director at Dezrezlegal, said: “This year we’ve experienced fantastic growth and increased the number of cases on our books. Although property law is increasingly competitive, I believe that our highly qualified and motivated team, along with our personal approach sets us apart from our competitors and has been a key driver behind our success.
“Employee investment is extremely important to us. As a small company, taking the initial decision to train up our staff from scratch ourselves was a risk but one that has paid off, bringing with it a number of benefits. Not only have we experienced significant growth since implementing training, but we have developed a fantastic team of extremely valued and talented individuals”. One employee to have benefited from the comprehensive training offering is Laura Carter, 26, who joined Dezrezlegal as an administrative assistant after graduating from Swansea University with a law degree and work experience at organisations dealing with property law. Having immediately made an impression, excelling in all areas of her role, Dezrezlegal funded Laura to complete a 10-week Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Level 2 course. The company has also selected Laura to be put through the Council for Licensed Conveyers (CLC) programme, which once completed, will see her become a fully qualified Licenced Conveyancer, opening up a world of possibility and career progression.
Laura said: “Dezrezlegal has been great, supporting me in completing my academic studies and providing me with invaluable practical experience to help me kick start my legal career. I’m grateful that they have put me through my CLC, and am thrilled that they are already supporting me to work towards a promotion once I am qualified as licenced conveyancer.”
Speaking of Laura, Laura Burkinshaw said: “Laura started here with a basic knowledge gained from work experience at a high-street practice. As a company who deals in a large volume of conveyancing files, some employees find it difficult to transition over to the busy environment that we have here at Dezrezlegal but Laura excelled in every area, no matter what team or job role she has been involved with. She has a fantastic work ethos and this was the main reason we looked at putting Laura on the CLC programme as this will enable her career to progress to be able to manage and lead a file load and team of her own”.
Staff retention and productivity are also at their highest thanks to the training, subsequently reducing time and resources spent on recruiting new employees, as well as increasing employee salaries.
Dezrezlegal is now on track to achieve its goal of double its workforce, which would see it moving to bigger offices, however the company stresses that Swansea will remain its home.
Julie James, Minister for Skills and Science, urged more employers to invest in the skills of their workforce: “Higher skill levels are essential to the future of competitiveness of Wales but, achieving the degree of upskilling required, means that more employers must be willing to invest their own resources in training and development.
“Welsh Government remains completely committed to supporting the development of skills across Welsh industry – particularly in the priority sectors – but, in order to make a real difference to our wealth creation capacity as a nation, more employers must play their part and increase their investment in their workers of all ages.”
For more information on the Welsh Government’s campaign to retain and train workers of all ages, visit: https://businesswales.gov.wales/skillsgateway/age-investment
(IMAGE: Legal Director, Laura Burkinshaw and Administrative Assistant, Laura Carter)