New Year 2016
Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2016 and hoping that you had a lovely Christmas.
Thank you for the many Christmas cards that we received, they were all much appreciated.
As our longstanding clients know, every year we photograph Lily for our Christmas Card and very much a member of the family team, she rises to the occasion beautifully! Christmas 2015's was the seventh one and again for the 'photo shoot' in the garden, her patience knew no bounds! To turn the card into a charity one, we make a donation to The Cinnamon Trust , a wonderful organisation looking after the pets of elderly and ill owners who are not able to look after them themselves. This may be helping out with dog walking, or fostering whilst owners are in hospital, or for the rest of the animal's life when their owners have passed away.
There is a rather poignant little anacdote related to our Christmas Card. We had a lovely, very elderly client who lived alone with her much loved cat. She'd never had children but loved all animals including our dog Lily, who she always liked to be present at her appointments whith Jonathan. One morning in May, we were called by the police to say that she had passed peacefully away during the night, with her beloved cat curled up on the bed beside her. As executor and attorney, Jonathan had to go to her home and make arrangements for the cat, (just as he and the client had already planned) and to sort everything out. In the stillness of the room, Jonathan noticed that there on the mantlepiece where one would normally place family photos, were the Lily Christmas cards we had sent to her, one for each of the previous five years. I think the John Lewis advert this year makes us all realise how isolated the elderly can feel, especially at Christmas time and being reminded in this way can make us all think about what we can do to make a difference, however small.
So on a brighter, practical level, with potentially, icy pavements and darker evenings, a quick reminder that we do visit elderly clients at home locally if they find it difficult to get to us. We have never charged for this; it's part of the ethos of the practice that as their solicitors, Jonathan and Charles should be as accessable to their clients as possible. Equally, for those who are juggling with Christmas preparations and being busy at work, we can offer evening appointments. Children are always welcome, we have a toybox in the interview room and Charles and Jonathan are often presented with lovely pictures at the end of the appointment from clearly budding artists. We've noticed that lately we've been getting through a lot of red pencils with the marvellous pictures of Father Christmas they've done, so we have stocked up on Christmas tree chocolates as 'prizes'! Visiting dogs are a treat and Jonathan keeps a secret stash of Boneos in the main interview room all year round!
It's interesting how the nature of the work coming in changes with the seasons; during Spring and Summer conveyancing blooms, finally reaching fever pitch before the start of the acadmic year and then in Autumn and Winter, we see a big rise in Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorneys; I suppose it's about being organised and in having everything in order, with darker evenings and the run up to Christmas. With families coming together over the festive period, it's often a good time to talk about Lasting Powers of Attorney.
Our fees for Lasting Powers of Attorney continue to present us with a bit of a conundrum. We receive calls from potential clients who see our fixed fees for Lasting Powers of Attorney in the local magazines and then ‘ring round’ for quotes. In one week three called us to ask why our fees are so low and whether Jonathan and Charles are actually solicitors! The answer to the latter is of course most certainly yes, indeed Jonathan has now been qualified for 35 years and Charles qualified in 2011. The thing is, we set our fees to make a living, not a fortune; lovely as that would be, at the end of the day it’s all about feeling comfortable in what we charge and how we run the practice and because it’s ours, we can make all the decisions relating to it.
Well, that's the 'marketing' bit out the way, so it just remains for me to thank you for your continued support and recommendations in 2015 and to say that we look forward to working for you in 2016.