An article by Genevieve Burnett at Pink Rottweiler

The Good Life was a BBC sitcom from the mid-1970s starring Felicity Kendall as Barbara, one half of a couple who had decided to escape a consumer lifestyle and become totally self-sufficient in their home in south-west London.

As a child, The Good Life was one of my favourite television programs. This may partly explain my desire to talk to Veronica Hartley about the unorthodox road she has travelled on her way to becoming a partner in an international law firm.

Veronica, whom I’m interviewing via Skype because I live in Australia and she lives in the UK, bears an uncanny resemblance to the fictional Barbara. Maybe, it’s her warmth and her bubbly optimism. Or it could be her passion for the life she’s built with her husband, Jules.

In The Good Life, Barbara and her husband, Tom, devoted all their energy to developing a self-sufficient lifestyle on a small suburban block. It seems that the writers of the show made an executive decision that Barbara and Tom couldn’t do all that while also holding down jobs and raising children.

Veronica and Jules make Barbara and Tom look like amateurs. They combine two careers and raising a family with engaging in what they describe on their website as ‘self-sufficiency madness’ on a 14-acre smallholding in south Wales, just outside the hamlet of Llanddarog.

On 1 April 2017, Veronica also became a partner in the London office of international law firm RIAA Barker Gillette.

Life before smallholding

Ten years ago, Veronica and Jules’s life looked very different. Like many ambitious young professionals, they were living in London and were preoccupied with their ascent up the career ladder.

Veronica was pleased when she landed a position as a corporate lawyer at Barker Gillette, a boutique commercial law firm based in the West End whose culture supported a sensible work–life balance.

Meanwhile, Jules was managing a business intelligence team at a private equity firm.

Each day, the couple took their lives in their hands as they cycled to work from the flat they had purchased in Hackney. With trepidation, I imagine them weaving in and out of the London traffic, dodging the city’s famous bright-red, double-decker buses.

Ideals and lifestyles: becoming interested in smallholding

After graduating with a law degree from the University of Birmingham, and before undertaking her legal traineeship, Veronica had spent a gap year working as a SCUBA diving instructor in Australia. She saw the coral bleaching that was occurring on the Great Barrier Reef as an example of how humans weren’t doing a very good job of looking after the planet.

When they met in London, Veronica and Jules, who had graduated from Cambridge with a degree in natural sciences with a major in zoology, discovered that they were both interested in environmental issues and animal welfare. They put their beliefs into practice and tried to eat organic produce as much as possible.

Increasingly, however, the couple began to question their urban lifestyle and its impact on the environment. They became interested in the concept of self-sufficiency because, as Jules pointed out, it was all very well to spout ideals but, in reality, they were living no differently from everyone else.

‘I blame Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and River Cottage for persuading me to leave London and purchase a smallholding in Wales,’ says Veronica with a laugh. ‘I loved that program and it made me see that smallholding wasn’t some sort of naïve dream. It was a viable way to live.’

Veronica asks me whether the program was ever shown in Australia. When I explain that not only did Fearnley-Whittingstall make it to Australia, but we’ve been served up four series of our very own River Cottage Australia. I add that I suspect the local version caused thousands of Australian couples to flee from the major cities to build their own versions of a rustic paradise.

Leaving London and taking the plunge into ‘self-sufficiency madness’ in Wales

Penybanc

While Veronica says she still had doubts about the joys of farming in the damp and often chilly British climate, Jules, who had grown up on a smallholding, wasn’t daunted. ‘There’s no such thing as an inappropriate weather for farming in England or Wales, just inappropriate clothing,’ he insisted.

At that point, the die was cast.

The first step in the journey into ‘self-sufficiency madness’ began with the couple taking a smallholding course in Devon. Veronica assures me that she enjoyed the course, despite having spent her childhood in Brussels and never having been an outdoorsy kind of person.

‘After coming back from Australia, where I had spent a lot of time on boats and there is a sense of endless space, I felt caged-up because we lived indoors most of the time in London,’ she explains. ‘Even so, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the smallholding course, which included learning handy skills like how to flip a sheep on its bum.’

The next step was for the couple to sell their flat in Hackney and purchase 14 acres of farmland in Wales with a house that needed major renovations if they were to become self-sufficient in energy.

Veronica and Jules chose Wales for their smallholding adventure because it has a high rainfall, was far enough south to have a long growing season, and is a location where they could afford to buy enough land to have a serious chance of reaching their goal of being largely self-sufficient in both food and energy.

‘We did a lot of research before buying Penybanc Farm in 2010,’ says Veronica. I imagine them diligently reading all sorts of books about what kind of land to select, how to grow vegetables, and how to raise ducks, geese, chickens and pigs.

From the photos on the website, I can see that Penybanc Farm is a picture-postcard kind of place.

Thinking outside the box: preserving Veronica’s career as a corporate lawyer

Veronica and Jules were concerned that one of the most challenging aspects of moving to Wales and embracing a self-sufficient lifestyle was preserving Veronica’s career as a corporate lawyer based in a West End law firm. She had no desire to become a country solicitor, which would have required her to dabble in a bit of everything.

At this point, Veronica, who has always been technologically savvy, approached the partners at Barker Gillette with a radical proposal.

‘I told them that Jules and I were moving to Wales but that I wanted to continue working for Barker Gillette. I explained I could work remotely. At that point, the firm had the technology and systems to make it work – remote desktop access, a sophisticated document management system, remote email access, and the phone could be diverted so clients wouldn’t even know I wasn’t in the office. Video conferencing would mean that clients could see me when necessary. Plus, I could always get to London in four to five hours if necessary.’

The clincher to the deal came when Veronica mapped out the cost savings for the firm. She pointed out that it had invested a lot of money in turning her from a junior corporate lawyer into a senior one with a great deal of experience; that she would no longer need an office in Central London, with all the expensive overheads that entailed; and that she would salvage all the dead time she lost every day commuting to and from work.

‘I will always be grateful for the firm thinking outside the box on this issue,’ says Veronica. ‘At the time, I saw it as a no-brainer but, as everyone knows, lawyers tend to be risk averse. The great thing about the partners at RIAA Barker Gillette is that they have always been open to new ideas.’

Working remotely begins to make sense for both partners and staff at RIAA Barker Gillette

Veronica and family

Interestingly, Veronica’s plan didn’t work out only for her. The partners at RIAA Barker Gillette, seeing the benefits, gradually began to embrace the concept of working remotely themselves.

‘In London, where a snow day or a strike shuts down the city and where a lot of people spend up to four hours commuting in and out of Central London, the partners began to work from home occasionally,’ Veronica says. ‘After all, it allows continuity of business in circumstances where it would otherwise be impossible.’

It wasn’t long before most of the partners were allocating a certain number of days per month to working remotely, simply because it was more convenient, more efficient and more cost-effective.

‘I also think there has been a change in the attitude to family life that has transformed attitudes to how we work,’ Veronica explains. ‘These days, men – and I believe this is true of most of the male partners at RIAA Barker Gillette – want to be involved in raising their children. They want to see the school play, attend concerts or spend time watching a kids’ rugby match. Working remotely makes this more possible than ever before. You no longer have to worry that you’re going to miss a major event in your child’s life because you’re stuck in traffic or on a train that’s been delayed. Plus, most women are no longer willing to sit at home with the children and allow their partners to avoid any responsibility for raising them.’

Initially, the limited number of licences RIAA Barker Gillette held allowing remote access into their servers restricted the number of partners that could work remotely at any one time. However, the firm soon decided to invest in technology that would make working from home an option not only for the partners but for the lawyers as well. Eventually, this was also extended to support staff.

‘Once everything became cloud-based, it made it much easier because the firm no longer had to have servers in its basement or to buy expensive licences to enable remote access,’ Veronica explains. ‘Interestingly, I don’t believe the firm made a conscious decision to transform the way we worked. It happened organically.’

The shift towards working remotely has also benefited women lawyers at the firm who have wanted to have families but also to maintain their careers.

‘I have to say that I appreciated my colleagues keeping in touch while I was on maternity leave,’ Veronica says. ‘Personally, I find breastfeeding quite boring, so I was grateful to have the “adult time”. This is another way in which technology has changed things for women. Women lawyers don’t need to disappear when they have children. They can now work part-time or casually. You can even keep in touch and up to speed with matters while on maternity leave, if you wish. It’s a matter of working out what suits you.’

Veronica admits that the result has been a slightly odd atmosphere in the West End offices of the firm now known (after a couple of mergers) as RIAA Barker Gillette, because, on some days, very few people come into work and, if they do, it’s at different times. Nevertheless, the change has meant that, in a city where residential property is particularly pricey, both the lawyers and support staff have been able to buy homes in more affordable areas outside London without having to evaluate whether they can cope with the long daily commute into work.

‘It has also changed retirement. These days, the process can take a lot longer. First, someone may cut back to a part-time role. Often, this involves working from home more often. At RIAA Barker Gillette, we have a partner who still does part-time consultancy work from Spain.’

Becoming a partner in an international law firm while juggling motherhood and smallholding

For Veronica, who is now as skilled at acting as a midwife when her pedigree Oxford Sandy & Black pigs give birth as she is at drafting a facility agreement, becoming a partner at RIAA Barker Gillette was a logical, although unplanned, step in her career.

‘To be honest, I didn’t think about partnership too much. I was grateful that the firm had let me have the career I wanted and that I could live in Wales while working remotely. But I was chuffed when they said they wanted to make me up. It was a testament to my legal skills, as well as to all my hard work. It also shows how RIAA Barker Gillette is still a progressive firm. Ultimately, improvements in technology have meant that it’s possible for me to live a so-called alternative lifestyle and also become a partner and manage a team of four people remotely.’

These days, Veronica works full-time from home and commutes to London when necessary. Jules works three days per week as a business intelligence consultant for a large insurance company and commutes to Bristol two days a week.

‘I work pretty unconventional hours,’ says Veronica. ‘My team know that they usually shouldn’t call me between 5.30 and 7.30 pm if they want my undivided attention, as these are the witching hours with the kids. I usually work some more after they go to bed.’

While Veronica admits she has undertaken some unorthodox activities while talking to clients on the telephone, and has worn some interesting outfits on Skype while guiding them through key issues in corporate documents, her working days seem normal.

‘Yes, I’ve talked to clients via Skype wearing a suit jacket so that I look respectable, but I’ve been covered in mud from the waist down. I’ve also spoken to clients on the phone while picking apples because, technically, it was my day off. It doesn’t seem to bother them. Instead, my clients seem to appreciate that I’m pretty much available 24/7. In the end, I think they get a better service because I’m available to help them whenever they need it. No client can ask for more than that.’

Building teams: how the culture of law firms is changing

As a partner, Veronica has a team of four fee earners and two support staff.

She is also about to take advantage of the legal apprenticeship scheme that has been introduced in the UK to increase diversity in the legal profession. It turns out that the legal profession in Britain, like in Australia, is still dominated by white, middle-class men. Law school is expensive and the magic circle firms in the UK continue to recruit largely from Oxford and Cambridge, which perpetuates the narrow demographic of people entering the profession.

‘I was pleased when my fellow partners were so supportive of my idea to take on an apprentice solicitor. A couple of them mentioned that they had thought of putting forward a similar proposal but hadn’t got around to it. The important thing is to promote diversity in the profession. The tendency for people to recruit people who are similar to them is well known, but this isn’t the way to build strong and cohesive teams. I think women are slowly helping to change the culture in law firms. Men are also benefiting from these changes. The next step will be to embrace diversity in the law from both from an ethnic and a class perspective.’

Partnership, motherhood and smallholding is a good life but a busy one

Veronica and family

There is no doubt that the past seven years have involved a lot of hard work for both Veronica and Jules. They have renovated their house, undertaken a huge amount of work on a smallholding that had been neglected for many years, and dealt with all sorts of animal dramas, including foxes eating chickens, a sow contracting metritis after giving birth, and the disappointment of watching Dimple, their Jersey cow, give birth to a still-born calf.

Somehow, they have also found time to start a family of their own. Melinka is now four-and-a-half and Orlin is eighteen months. There is no doubt that the arrival of the children has filled Penybanc Farm with additional squeaks, squawks and giggles.

The couple share the parenting responsibilities for their two children, as well as having the assistance of a nanny who works three days a week.

Both children like to play games where they pretend they are on the phone or typing at a computer. Apparently, this comes from observing their parents working from home.

‘I have to say that it is humbling to have the mannerisms and facial expressions you use in your professional life mimicked by your children, even the toddler,’ says Veronica, with mixture of both delight and horror.

The reality is that Veronica and Jules live a busy life.

The commitment of a smallholding also means that it is difficult to get away whenever they want a break from the responsibility associated with owning a smallholding. The couple can’t just grab the kids and drive off, leaving the animals, vegetables and orchard to take care of themselves.

However, Veronica doesn’t seem to have any regrets about this.

‘We don’t travel much these days,’ she says. ‘Penybanc has made me realise that we don’t need to go away to see things. There is so much to see here. There is so much life in our garden. The bird population is incredible. We see red kites all the time. We’ve set up bat boxes, and Melinka’s dream is to have a pet bat that lives in the house with us. The kids adore pottering around with the animals.’

Personally, I can’t imagine any child who wouldn’t enjoy growing up on a smallholding with Dusk the Border Collie, a gaggle of geese, a pen filled with piglets, and an orchard of fruit trees to climb.

‘In the end, a healthy lifestyle is a big priority for us,’ Veronica says. We are wrapping up our chat because she needs to take over looking after the kids from Jules, who is about to start work for the day.

‘I don’t like exercise for exercise’s sake,’ she adds. ‘I would much prefer to get fit from doing chores. These days I only eat meat if it’s our meat, because I don’t want to eat a pig whose mother couldn’t even lie down when giving birth. With our pigs, they have a good life, eat well and are killed humanely. We also allow them to graze, which is something most people don’t know pigs like to do. It’s a fair deal and our pork is delicious.’

I’m somewhat taken aback to learn that Veronica’s favourite sow is named Barbara, but I’m pleased to hear she is very much a part of the family. Over the past seven years, Barbara has given the Hartleys many litters of Oxford Sandy & Black piglets and some of her offspring have won prizes at agricultural shows. Sadly, she is now getting on and has a limp. Veronica admits that she will be sad when the time comes to turn Barbara into pork sausages. (Neither she nor Jules would dream of wasting the meat.) The good news is that Jules has made a model of Barbara to create a bronze cast that will sit on Veronica’s desk long after Barbara has left Penybanc.

Portrait of Barbara

Is the name ‘Barbara’ a spooky coincidence?

I suspect not.

It seems that I’m not the only fan of Felicity Kendall’s Barbara and The Good Life. The only thing I regret, thinking back to the show 40 years later, is that Barbara wasn’t also a mother and a lawyer.

Article by
Genevieve Burnett
Pink Rottweiler

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What they say...

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Corporate & Commercial: Veronica is very diligent and met the tight deadlines that were set for her to complete the liquidation which I realise were made harder by our late responses to her questions!

Deborah:
January 2019

Corporate & Commercial: Veronica has our complete trust. I can’t recommend Veronica more highly, she is a pleasure to work with.

Deborah:
January 2019

”Excellent firm. Brilliant people. Barker Gillette made me feel extremely well looked after and confident that I had the A team of legal representation looking out for my interests.”

Alexa:
October 2018

Debt Recovery: "...Daniel was very good at keeping expectations realistic, I always felt we had a good chance and thanks to Daniel we did the best we could, with a bad situation."
Guy -
September 2018

Commercial: "I would 100% recommend this firm for its quality, approachability, delivery of commitments and undoubted competency."

George -
August 2018

Probate: All personnel I dealt with were completely knowledgeable and a pleasure to work with.

Engel:
August 2018

Employment Law: Customer Service and communication was brilliant there is nothing negative to say about the service.

Francios:
August 2018

Criminal Defence: “I can’t thank [Steven Barker] enough for his support and advice.”

Marc:
July 2018

Criminal Defence: “I had had no cause for a criminal solicitor ever before therefore was more than a little worried. With Steven’s help and guidance through the process I came out unscathed at the other end.”

Marc:
July 2018

Criminal Defence: “I would recommend Steven Barker to anyone caught up in criminal legal matters.”

Marc:
July 2018

Criminal Defence: “[Steven Barker was] Courteous and professional from start to finish.”

Marc:
July 2018

Employment: Karen Cole Just what you need: Overall, kind, courteous, understanding and efficient with excellent advise.

William:
April 2017

William

Wills, trust and probate - James McMullan "Efficient, approachable, understanding and affordable."

Ann
: March 2018

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Lease extensions: We have been very happy and satisfied with the level of service received and have not had any cause for concern or complaint in any of the dealings with Mr Jacobs or other members of the team.

Ash
: February 2018

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Employment: Karen Cole dealt with my case, she made the legal jargon very easy to understand, was patient, understanding but to the point.

Sheila: January 2018

Wills, tax and trusts: I became involved in an extremely contentious and complex legal issue concerning the trust fund of a minor, and the unwillingness of the trustees to disclose relevant information. The case was trying and laborious, but James and Alex were ...

Dispute Resolution: Daniel Downes’ ability to read the request, take a commercial view and give options is why I will continue to use. Saves hours of debate. He is a pleasure to instruct.

Jane Darkin:
December 2017

RIAA BG have been an outstanding support to our organisation for ten years since our inception. Not only in setting up processes and contractual documentation but steering us through trickier, unfamiliar legislative waters from time to time.

December 2017

Private Client: Pleased to say that I am completely satisfied with the service James McMullan provided. Thank you so much.

Muriel Goldstein:
October 2017

Professional Negligence: Qaiser Khanzada and Steven Barker went out on a limb for me 30+ years ago and I'll never forget that.

Zak Jaggard:
September 2017

Professional Negligence: Qaiser and Steve’s dedication and professionalism guided me safely through a legal minefield, and went well beyond a solicitor's remit. They care - and to this day I think of them as family.

Zak Jaggard:
September 2017

Employment: I found Karen Cole to not only be engaging but extremely helpful, knowledgeable and professional, I would use her again should the need arise.

August 2017

Employment: I spoke with Karen Cole regarding an issue I had with a client and payments. Karen came up with a solution very quickly and a resolution was concluded within 14 days.

Andy: August 2017

Family: As a novice in legal matters, Mr McMullan and his staff were always ready to help me in a complex case.

June 2017

Commercial: Ben Brownscombe provided me with excellent advice. He was easy to communicate with, he was able to explain the implication of each clause and very reliable.

May 2017

Employment Law : "Karen provided invaluable guidance and support throughout the process and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend her services in this field."

May 2017

Private Client: I am very satisfied with [RBG's] services as I was in London for a very short visit but managed to arrange an appointment to see one of your partners who was able to help explain and complete the matter in question.

Eman Kassem:
April 2017

The advice and service that was given to us was invaluable to our business and [we] would use and recommend Karen Cole for her professional, clear and prompt service.

Sally Lusher, GO-Coach Hire Ltd:
January 2017

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Corporate: Extremely knowledgeable and able to convey this knowledge clearly and concisely. Would definitely recommend.

Stephan Buxton:
February 2017

Corporate: Excellent experience of working with Veronica and the team. Always friendly and approachable.

Stephan Buxton:
February 2017

Corporate: RIAA Barker Gillette made the company both investable to Business Angels and overall commercially viable.

Niall Haughian, CFA: Chief Operating Officer:
February 2017

Corporate: RIAA Barker Gillette has taken my start-up company that lacked structure and provided us with sound legal and business advice.

Niall Haughian, CFA: Chief Operating Officer:
February 2017

Corporate: Solaris Photonics is truly grateful for the tremendous professional effort undertaken by the RIAA Barker Gillette team.

Niall Haughian, CFA: Chief Operating Officer:
February 2017

Company Commercial: [Veronica] used her expertise to suggest crucial additions that gave additional benefits to my business interests, that I had not even considered.

S. Arnold:
February 2017

Company Commercial: Excellent service and I wouldn't hesitate to use Veronica again and recommend her.

S. Arnold:
February 2017

Company Commercial: The contracts my business required were complex. Veronica was efficient, friendly and took the time to ensure everything we needed was covered.

S. Arnold:
February 2017

Residential Property: Simon Levi is always helpful, clear and meticulous. I always feel that he has our best interests at heart.

M. Orteu:
January 2017

Dispute Resolution: Alex “really protects his clients to the best of his ability. I would not hesitate to recommend him. Excellent manner with clients and highly gifted.”

Morris Nourani, Hastings International:
December 2016

Dispute Resolution: Alex Deal is a “very bright, hardworking individual inside and outside working hours.”

Morris Nourani, Hastings International:
December 2016

Dispute Resolution: Alex Deal “attains a very sharp grasp of extremely complicated issues including cross border commercial matters.”

Morris Nourani, Hastings International:
December 2016

Dispute Resolution: Alex Deal “is, simply, in a class of his own. Focused, dedicated and genuinely caring about his clients, he excels in getting into every tiny detail quickly.”

Morris Nourani, Hastings International:
December 2016

Wills, tax and trusts: “We were always happy with the service from James McMullan.”

Josephine Sullivan:
December 2016

Steven Barker gave us his personal attention no matter how small the detail.

Mr J Patel:
December 2016

We are very thankful to Steven Barker for helping us out on our difficult times, and being there for us whenever he was required.

Mr J Patel:
December 2016

Laura St-Gallay, Dispute Resolution: “Fees have in all cases been very reasonable and I have very much appreciated the responsiveness of the team when I have needed advice at short notice.”

Peter Scholes:
October 2016

Laura St-Gallay, Dispute Resolution “The advice I received was helpful and timely, and a satisfactory settlement was reached quickly in large part due to the high quality of the advice given.”

Peter Scholes:
October 2016

Alex Deal, Dispute Resolution “I would not hesitate to recommend the Firm for any matters relating to litigation/dispute resolution or employee/partnership law matters (where Alex has previous provided valuable advice).”

Peter Scholes:
October 2016

Dispute Resolution: Alex Deal and Laura St-Gallay responded immediately to my request for assistance even though the amounts at stake were relatively small.

Peter Scholes:
October 2016

Stuart Jacobs, Property Litigation: “It was very important for us to feel confident and be cost efficient with our legal case.”

Loretta Martinelli:
October 2016

Laura St-Gallay, Property Litigation “The numerous changes were well understood and have been taken on board each time we changed our mind on our strategy.”

Loretta Martinelli:
October 2016

Laura St-Gallay, Property Litigation “The matter was dealt with in a very kind and calm manner while keeping us informed of the cost implications throughout.”

Loretta Martinelli:
October 2016

Stuart Jacobs, Property Litigation “The firm was very understanding and patient with our request and regular requirements for explanations and changes.”

Loretta Martinelli:
October 2016

Wills, trusts and tax: James went above and beyond in looking after the entire process.

Ian Cuthbertson:
July 2016

Criminal Defence: Carly Aitchison “I would not hesitate to recommend [RIAA Barker Gillette], I do not think I could have done any better, they have my eternal thanks and gratitude.”

Rob Meekcoms:
June 2016

Criminal Defence: “Steve and his team were absolutely brilliant, they supported me through the toughest times I have ever been through.”

Rob Meekcoms:
June 2016

Commercial Property - Simon Levi: "Very satisfied and happy with the results and professional communication of Mr Levi during the legal process. I will definitely use RBG again in the near future and will highly recommend Mr Levi to all my friends and relatives." 

 Eran Ezra, September 2016

“Vinay Verma demonstrated exceptional professionalism and sensitivity from start to finish.”

Mr I C and Ms N K

“I was extremely satisfied with all aspects of the service. Veronica was extremely personable and she made me feel very comfortable when dealing with an unfamiliar situation.”

Vanessa Lorenz

“Both Alex and Veronica have been extremely professional and easy to work with.They know how to listen to your needs and are helpful in giving advice.”

Susan Keese, Director

“Alex and Veronica talk things through with you (not at you like many solicitors!) in a language you can understand and ensure that your needs are fulfilled.”

Susan Keese, Director

“Veronica Hartley is a very capable solicitor who acted for me on an important and complex case which ultimately had a satisfactory conclusion.”

Stephen Deverell, Chairman

“Veronica Hartley was extremely friendly and informative. Complex legal terms were explained in an easy to understand manner.”

Peter Low

“I was left feeling comfortable that Veronica had my best interests at heart and a lot of stress and worry was taken away as soon as we began speaking to her.”

Peter Low

“I found Veronica to be professional, conscientious and able to maintain a healthy balance between following our commercial instructions with that of focused legal advisor.”

Gary Watts

“Not only is Veronica excellent at her job she is also very genuine and a pleasure to deal with.”

Deborah Haw, Director

“After several bad experiences with other solicitors it was such a pleasure to have Veronica look after our interests in the UK.”

Deborah Haw, Director

“Whatever questions and problems we put in front of Veronica she seems to resolve with ease. I cannot recommend her more highly.”

Deborah Haw, Director

“Relaxed and personable working.”

Damian Griffiths

“James was throughout very kind, calm and polite which makes him in my view the perfect divorce lawyer.”

Mrs A K

“James dealt with all my emails and phone calls extremely efficiently.”

Mrs A K

“James McMullan is a very professional lawyer and I always felt that he advised me very well and importantly very realistically. ”

Mrs A K

“James assisted me with my difficult divorce this year. He was professional and supportive at all times. I could not recommend him highly enough.”

Madeline Fleming

“Friendly and professional.”

Jonathan Pullum

“My solicitor is excellent. I have not really dealt with anyone else but calls to the office are fine.”

Jerry Morgan

“Patience, understanding, concern, compassion, expediency”

Jeffrey Lambert

Carly Aitchison Kept me informed all the time.

Ritagate Ltd

“We have the highest regard for the expertise and client commitment they demonstrate. They are responsive, conscientious and always go the ‘extra mile’.”

Stuart Leaman

“Alex's mind is skilled, brilliant and tactical in all of his dealings, especially if so required in court, his solution is pragmatic and commercial.”

Tony Muskat at AS MUSKAT

“As a client, I have always felt in safe hands and it has always been my pleasure to work with Alex.”

Tony Muskat at AS MUSKAT

“Alex provides sound, considered advice and has the ability to analyse and appraise the merits of any case, with the best interests of his client always in mind.”

Tony Muskat at AS MUSKAT

“I first used Alex's legal expertise in 1999 and was immediately impressed by his ability and have continued to rely on him for all my legal matters in the UK ever since.”

Tirapongse Pangsrivongse

“I have total confidence in the other members of the firm that Alex has introduced me to such as Veronica. I cannot recommend Alex more highly and have trust in all his advice.”

Tirapongse Pangrivongse, Chairman

“Alex Deal and his team have provided us with incisive and timely advice over a number of years. His help in employment matters has minimised our exposure.”

Robert Macdonald, Chairman

“Alex always bears commerciality in the forefront of his mind when giving direct and concise advice. We have been happy to recommend him widely.”

Robert Macdonald, Chairman

“For over 15 years, Alex is the first person I turn to with a legal problem.He is responsive, sharp and most importantly invariably right - about the sharpest legal mind.”

Kam Takhar

“Alex's rigorous legal advice has often helped our company avoid protracted legal disputes. Alex offers tremendous external support to our in-house legal and HR teams.”

Jose Miguel Echenagusia,
Vice President Legal Services

“Alex stands out for his sound business judgment, profound knowledge of the law and pragmatic approach to the resolution of disputes.”

Jose Miguel Echenagusia,
Vice President Legal Services

“Our company has used Barker Gillette for many years. Alex and his team have always acted in our best interests offering a prompt, effective and responsive service.”

Jose Miguel Echenagusia,
Vice President Legal Services

I have been a client of the firm for many years and have found them extremely supportive and kind in very difficult circumstances.

Vinayak,Chairman

“Looking at the best needs for the client and tailoring advice to that.”

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