Hansells appoints first non-lawyer as partner
17:34 27 May 2014
Hansells Solicitors and Financial Advisers has seized on the flexibility offered by a change in the law to appoint its first non-lawyer - finance manager Sharon Lilley - as a partner.
To allow the move, the Norfolk firm has become one of the first legal practices in the county to take on the status of an alternative business structure.
The status, introduced by law three years ago, gives flexibility to firms over what services they can offer and opened up the possibility of non-law firms offering legal services.
Hansells managing partner Roger Holden said: “Several businesses have become alternative business structures specifically to take advantage of changes in the law which allow them to offer legal services.
“We’re turning the tables – we now have the option to diversify into other forms of business.”
Accountant Mrs Lilley, of Filby, near Great Yarmouth, has been finance manager at Hansells since 2009, responsible for controlling the firm’s multi-million pound budget, and Mr Holden said: “I’m delighted registration as an ABS finally allows us to offer Sharon a partnership to recognise the importance of the contribution she makes to the business. We’re able to share profits with a deserving non-lawyer.”
He said taking on ABS status kept Hansells among the leaders in modern business practice and gave them a good platform for meeting clients’ future needs by expanding their own options.
Also being made a partner is Swedish-born Mari Vallgren, one of a select band of solicitors to qualify to practice in two countries.
Mr Holden said: “Mari’s appointment is also richly deserved for her dedication to the firm and in making sure Hansells is a key part of the north Norfolk community.
“It is also an important piece of succession planning which underlines Hansells’ commitment to expand business from our offices in Aylsham, Cromer, North Walsham, Reepham and Sheringham.”
A graduate of Stockholm University, Mrs Vallgren, who lives in Norwich with her husband Doug, is a twice-trained lawyer having qualified in Sweden before moving to England in 1994.
She combined her roles as a mother to two young children with five years of legal studies – some of it part time - before graduating at the University of East Anglia. She joined Hansells and qualified as a solicitor in 2005.
A member of Hansells’ Family and Estates team, she specialises in private client law, working primarily from the firm’s offices in Aylsham and Cromer.