Skip to content Skip to footer
Enquiries Call 0800 652 8025

Stories from our qualified lawyers


Nicole Adams

Senior Associate – Employment – Southampton

James Casey

Solicitor – Commercial & Private Client Litigation – Bristol

Siddika Chowdhury

Solicitor – Construction – London

Georgia Collier

Solicitor – Private Capital – Bristol

Emily Finn

Associate – Family – Manchester

Kristian Johnson

Senior Associate – Commercial Property – Southampton

Charlotte Lord

Associate – Commercial Property – Cardiff

James Marshall

Associate – Commercial Litigation – Bristol

Fiona Rendell

Partner – Commercial Property – Birmingham

Rob Ridd

Partner – Corporate & Commercial – Bristol

Nicole Adams

Nicole Adams is a senior associate in our Southampton Employment team.

I joined Clarke Willmott LLP in 2016 as a solicitor in the Employment and HR Team. I was promoted to associate in 2018 and senior associate in 2021.

Prior to this I had trained at a high street firm and worked there for three years following qualification. I then moved to a consultancy firm for a further three years where I worked in a small team advising commercial clients and representing both commercial and education clients in tribunal proceedings.

Describe your typical work day at Clarke Willmott?

My day always starts with a review of my emails and my diary for the day and the week ahead. However, one of the things I love about my job is that no two days are the same. My work comprises of a mixture of longer-term projects, such as representing clients in tribunal claims, and responding to our clients’ daily staff issues, as and when they arise and often at short notice. Therefore, it would not be unusual for me to receive instructions on a matter that requires a response the same day.

What is your experience of being a working parent at Clarke Willmott?

I had my first child four days before lockdown and returned to work from maternity leave just prior to all restrictions being lifted. I was able to return working 3.5 days a week which enables me to balance work and childcare. This was particularly important to me due to the restrictions that were in place throughout my maternity leave. Since returning to work and due to the ongoing impact of Covid, there have been numerous times when I have had to juggle an unexpected loss of childcare with work and my line manger has been incredibly supportive of this.

What keeps you at Clarke Willmott?

The people that I work with – both my colleagues and clients. I have always been fortunate to work at friendly and supportive places and Clarke Willmott is no exception to this. The Employment and HR team are extremely supportive and approachable.

James Casey

James is a solicitor in our Bristol Commercial & Private Client Litigation team.

I joined Clarke Willmott in September 2018 as a paralegal in the Bristol Employment team. I started following the completion of my Legal Practice Course (LPC) at the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol.

I liked that Clarke Willmott only accept trainees from their pool of paralegals at the firm, which encourages progression. At the end of 2020, I was successful in obtaining a training contract with Clarke Willmott. I started as a trainee solicitor in March 2021 and will complete seats with employment, Corporate & Commercial and Commercial Litigation before my qualification in September 2022.

What is your experience of working remotely at Clarke Willmott?

The firm has pivoted to remote working really well. From an IT standpoint, the firm changed its way of working quickly with very few issues. From my experience, the teams I have worked in have handled the change well and managed to find ways to keep in touch to avoid anyone feeling isolated. The changes do seem popular to the extent that it seems that we will be working with greater flexibility in the future.

What’s the culture like at Clarke Willmott?

The culture at Clarke Willmott is really positive. People can get as involved as they wish and there always tends to be a strong presence at social events. There is a commitment to a positive work-life balance whilst also completing high-quality work for big clients.

Describe your typical work day at Clarke Willmott

My typical workday starts between 8:30am and 9:00am. I usually start by checking my task list for the day Following this, the morning will be spent completing fee-earning work and attending any team/client meetings. This can vary from independent work through to working closely with colleagues. After lunch, the afternoon will be spent undertaking further fee-earning work. Towards the end of the day, it will be preparing the task-list the following day. Generally, I log off between 6:00pm and 7:00pm.

What do you enjoy most about working at Clarke Willmott?

One of the aspects of I most enjoy of working at Clarke Willmott is the high-quality work and working with supportive colleagues. My experience is that colleagues at Clarke Willmott are really accessible and helpful, regardless of seniority. There is always the opportunity to receive feedback on work and the performance review structure ensures you are aware of your own development and progression. This has been beneficial in terms building up my skills.

What keeps you at Clarke Willmott?

The opportunity to maintain a positive work-life balance alongside high-quality work. Colleagues are always friendly and the culture is good.

Siddika Chowdhury

Siddika is a solicitor in our London Construction team.

After completing my LPC in June 2014, I spent a year volunteering at my local Citizens Advice Bureau and working part time at a university library. I joined Clarke Willmott in November 2015 as an administration assistant in the non-contentious Construction team in London. Initially, I was assisting a small team with the administration of their matters as well as assisting them in producing and sending out engrossments. My role quickly progressed into a paralegal when I started getting involved in drafting some of the contracts and regularly liaising with clients on the status of their contracts.

Between March 2017 and April 2018, I was on maternity leave and within a year of coming back, I was offered a training contract that commenced in March 2019. I completed my first seat in non-contentious construction and then went on maternity leave in 2020. After returning from my maternity leave, I completed seats our London and Bristol Restructuring and Insolvency team and the Birmingham Commercial Property team. I qualified in September 2022 and am a solicitor in our Construction team.

Tell us about your experience of learning and career development at Clarke Willmott

Clarke Willmott has provided me with many opportunities to grow and learn. Not only has my role progressed, but I am also regularly notified and invited to attend various webinars and workshops both internally and externally. We also have a lot of external events that we are invited to so this helps us with our social networking skills with clients.

How has your experience of working in a number of teams as a trainee been?

As the Non-Contentious Construction team is my sponsoring team, this is where I did my first seat. By transitioning from paralegal to trainee, I could see how much my role had really developed in terms of how much more responsibility I was given and also how I was now dealing with more complex legal issues.

My second seat was in Commercial Property with Birmingham, which I enjoyed as I had a chance to work for a completely different office. Although I never met my team face to face, it did not have any adverse impacts on my learning and development as this was during the lockdown, so everyone was in the same position. In fact, my supervisor made a conscious effort to regularly arrange team calls so that I got a chance to ask questions and also be given training on legal tasks.

My final seat with the Insolvency team not only enabled me to gain experience in contentious law, but also have the opportunity to develop a completely new skillset.

What is your experience of being a working parent at Clarke Willmott?

Clarke Willmott is a very parent friendly firm. After coming back from my maternity leave the first time, I was able to work part time and also continue to work part time during my training contract. I feel lucky to have found a firm that allows me to pursue my career whilst being a mother to two young children.

What keeps you at Clarke Willmott?

I feel fully supported in my career at Clarke Willmott and love the fact that I am working with people who want to see me progress and grow.

Georgia Collier

Georgia is a solicitor in our Bristol Private Capital team. 

I’m at the beginning of my career. I joined Clarke Willmott as a solicitor one week before the first lockdown in 2020, so I have only ever (really) known working from home since being here. Lockdown was tough as a didn’t know anyone and unexpectedly had to find my feet remotely. Everyone was friendly and forgiving in my countless questions and, because working remotely was new for them too, there was something of a comradery in the team. We set up a WhatsApp group where we would (and still do) share IT happenings and goings wrong, remote working ‘hacks’ and personal life events etc. It was our equivalent of ‘making a coffee in the kitchen’ chat which I think has also helped get to know one another a bit more.

Describe your typical workday at Clarke Willmott

I tend to log in for 7:30am/8am whilst working at home. I log in early in the knowledge that I might unload the dishwasher or put a wash on throughout the day, which will cause me to be away from my desk more. I generally reserve the morning for calls, emails and drafting and then meetings will be booked for the afternoon. I will sometimes try and go for a walk around the block on a lunch time, but otherwise tend to eat lunch at my desk and plough on until about 6-ish when I will call it a day. On Thursday mornings, the Private Capital team meet on Teams with a cuppa and have a catch up, mainly non-related topics like sport or pets! Now that restrictions are easing, I am looking forward to being back in the office perhaps one or two days a week and socialising with the team again.

Tell us about your experience of learning and career development at Clarke Willmott

I have been supported to attend courses to aid my development and sat two STEP exams whilst at Clarke Willmott, meaning that I am three quarters of the way through my STEP qualification. CW provide study days that are matched with annual leave. For example, I take half a days’ holiday so that it can be matched with half a day study leave. I support this entirely as it makes sure that the individual uses study leave wisely and at the right time, meaning that more consideration is given to the day or days leading up to an exam. I am a firm believer that success does not come without sacrifice.

What do you value most about working at Clarke Willmott?

I value the team I work with and find that of huge importance to day to day. I also value having the resources to deliver a high standard of work. Our area of law is extremely broad and so having a researcher and non-practicing solicitor on hand to assist with any legal queries is fundamental to job satisfaction in a Private Capital team. With this support, I know that I (or Clarke Willmott) will have provided a top-class service for the client. Clarke Willmott investing the time and money in this role where other firms don’t, speaks strongly about their ethics and client principles.

What keeps you at Clarke Willmott?

It has taken time for me to settle into life at CW, perhaps a little more than it would have done in normal times, but I have been here for nearly 18 months now and feel very much at home. I work closely with Carol Cummins and, with Carol’s wealth of experience, I am finding that I am learning more and more as the weeks go by. I have a brilliant team, good support from business services and I am encouraged to work 9-5.30. Receiving good client feedback is rewarded and because treating clients with respect and as humans is a key aspect of my personality, I feel proud to be part of a firm where great client service is so highly valued. I’m happy here and my aim is to apply for associate in 2022.

Emily Finn

Emily is an associate in our Manchester Family team.

I was two years qualified when I joined the Family team at Clarke Willmott in 2018. I made the move to join Chris Longbottom and Leah Taylor, who had not long before founded the Manchester Family team, as I saw it as a unique opportunity to be part of the exciting development of that team. I have since been promoted to associate.

Tell us about your experience of working in the Family team

It is an incredibly supportive and collegiate team. The Manchester team meets once a week, either in person or video call, to discuss our matters, catch up about the weekend and our personal lives, and seek/give support and guidance where needed. The national team meets virtually once a month. We have strong working relationships within the team as a result, despite being based in different locations, which allows us to share information and to support one another on a day-to-day basis where needed.

The work is varied and challenging! I think this kind of challenge helps us grow, develop and keep moving forwards – one of the reasons I chose a career as a lawyer in fact.

What keeps you at Clarke Willmott?

My connections with the people here, the culture, the mutual support. I feel respected, valued and supported. I am given access to resources that I need to perform my role to the best of my ability. I work collegiately with not just my own team, but with colleagues from across the firm in all practice areas.

Tell us about your experience of learning and career development at Clarke Willmott

The exposure to complex work and the freedom I have been given to progress complex matters, alongside the support from my manager, has allowed me to learn and develop massively.

Having such a varied workload has allowed me to further develop my skills and build a bank of positive client feedback and referrals. I have been given the freedom to build strong connections with clients, peers and other advisors.

I could not have been supported more fully by my manager in my preparation for my application for to be promoted to associate this year.

How has Clarke Willmott supported your wellbeing?

I attended one of the Leading Minds webinars on ‘resilience’ which the firm gave us all access to at the start of lockdown. This made a big impression on me and inspired me to carry out further research. My resilience and wellbeing have improved as a result. It is, of course, always a work in progress and I am still learning more every day!

I have been given the space and flexibility to involve myself in other wellbeing initiatives to learn more about myself and support others. Recently I assisted in the organisation of a yoga & wellness event for Young Resolution Manchester, an organisation of junior family lawyers in the region, for which I sit as treasurer on the committee. Organising the event was a big commitment that took up a significant amount of my time. I was given the flexibility to work this around my other working commitments. I am grateful to Clarke Willmott for respecting my ability to manage my time and to involve myself in these kind of important wellbeing initiatives.

Kristian Johnson

Kristian is a senior associate in our Southampton Commercial Property team.

I joined Clarke Willmott as a paralegal in the Commercial Property team in November 2012. I’d previously completed my LPC and chosen to work for two years outside of the legal sector to expand my commercial experience. Having completed my training contract with Clarke Willmott, I have since progressed to senior associate.

Tell us about your experience of learning and career development at Clarke Willmott

In my experience, the firm rewards hard work and willingness to develop your knowledge. Senior fee earners are always happy to run through matters and explain points of law. The firm offer regular training sessions and are happy to support you should you find relevant courses that would complement your development. Now that I have progressed into a more senior role, I enjoy assisting the junior fee earners with their development so they can fulfil their potential.

What is your experience of working flexibly at Clarke Willmott?

Over the last 18 months Clarke Willmott has worked incredibly hard, firstly to react to remote working as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic but also to adapt to the challenges facing working parents. The firm are keen to assist staff in balancing the demands of work and family life. My wife and I had our first child in lockdown and I have been able to be involved far more given Clarke Willmott’s flexible approach.

What advice would you give to someone looking to build a career at Clarke Willmott?

My advice for this is fairly simple – if you work hard in developing your knowledge and client care skills, it will be noticed and rewarded.

What keeps you at Clarke Willmott?

Simply, it is the people at and ethos of Clarke Willmott. Everyone, no matter their seniority is approachable. As cliched as it sounds, the firm genuinely cares about its employees. You are made to feel like a valued member of not only your team, but of the wider firm.

Charlotte Lord

Charlotte is an associate in our Cardiff Commercial Property team.

I joined Clarke Willmott in 2017 following a career break of 15 years, during which time I had two children and also set up and ran two family businesses with my husband. My original position at Clarke Willmott was maternity cover for one of the solicitors in the Social Housing Property Finance team. My background was in commercial property and a large part of my work had been secured lending. However, it was still a bit of a learning curve! The CW team were extremely supportive, from admin staff and IT support, paralegals to partners. I quickly slotted back into working life and was delighted to be offered a permanent position at the end of the year. In 2019, I was promoted to associate.

What the biggest challenge you faced when returning to law after 15 years?

My concern before returning was that the law would have moved on without me. I bought some up to date textbooks and did some studying, which helped to calm my nerves! Although when I left practice, we were still sending faxes and letters, I had kept up with technology so adapting to emails wasn’t a problem. It was interesting having electronic files, but, during the COVID-19 pandemic I became pretty much paper-less in any case and now wouldn’t look back!

What is your experience of working flexibly at Clarke Willmott?

When I first joined Clarke Willmott, I was keen to continue a volunteering role with Girlguiding and my team leader was supportive so that I could fit my working hours around my volunteering commitments.

I was also equipped with a laptop and mobile phone (even before the COVID-19 pandemic!) to work remotely if necessary so that I could support my parents when my mum was ill.

The pandemic of course introduced us all to a new way of working and since restrictions have lifted, I have been enjoying a hybrid way of working, generally attending the office to meet colleagues on our team day (weekly). I tend to dedicate that day to catching up with colleagues, training and tasks which require collaboration with others in the office. I find that “deep diving” tasks are better tackled at home with fewer distractions. Since working in this way, I have certainly found that I am more productive and better focussed, and can also balance my work with family and personal commitments.

How have you been involved with community or charity projects with Clarke Willmott?

The most memorable time I was involved with a charity project with CW is when I took part in Llamau’s annual “sleep-out” event in the grounds of Cardiff Castle. Llamau’s mission is to end homelessness for young people and women. The aim of the fundraiser was not to experience homelessness, but to recognise and reflect upon the challenges it brings. Unfortunately, on the night of the event, just as we were settling into our sleeping bags, Cardiff was hit by a storm. The event was eventually abandoned at three in the morning, but those hours spent in the cold, wet night will stay with me forever. I was able to go back to my car and drive home, which for some simply is not an option.

What keeps you at Clarke Willmott?

The people. At Clarke Willmott, there is a genuine feeling that we are all part of a team, whether we are fee earners or support staff, working hard with and for our clients to achieve the best outcomes. And at the end of the day, we are friends too. We enjoy an annual Bake Off competition, Christmas snowflake decoration making, and various social events throughout the year.

James Marshall

James is an associate in our Bristol Commercial Litigation team.

I joined the firm as a fresh-faced paralegal in 2013, two days after finishing my LPC. Having previously shown little inclination to be a litigator, I very quickly found that litigation is in fact the best area of law in which to work. I have gone through the ranks from paralegal to associate and have loved every new challenge that has come my way.

What advice would you give to someone looking to build a career at Clarke Willmott?

First of all, set out your personal goals. For example, are you looking to secure a training contract or if you have qualified, when will you be targeting promotion? CW has really clear guidance documents that you can refer to, so check it regularly against the work you are doing. Are you ticking the right boxes? Speak with your team manager right from the outset so that they can help you achieve what you want to. There is no need to wait for your annual or mid-year appraisal to do this!

Finally, get involved in as much as you can! CW puts on great social and charity events, but they do not happen by themselves. It takes volunteers to get things done, and it helps to get you noticed in the firm, which is always a good thing.

What keeps you at Clarke Willmott?

Put simply, I love the people and the work that I do. I have been fortunate to land at a firm whose values align with mine and where getting up for work everyday is something to genuinely look forward to.

What is your experience of hybrid working at Clarke Willmott?

The firm has adapted to the new norm of hybrid working really well. My personal preference is to work from home the majority of the time and to come into the office occasionally, mainly to see and speak with people both in my team and the wider firm. CW has facilitated this by improving IT and general tech support, meaning I can work as (or even more) efficiently at home as I could in the office.

What do you enjoy most about working at Clarke Willmott?

The best part of my job is unquestionably the team that I am in. We are a tight-knit group and it makes coming to work everyday something that I look forward to.

As I have gained more experience, I have been given increasing levels of responsibility which has been great for my development. I also have an extremely varied work-load – from simple breach of contract to complex intellectual property claims, I have been given the opportunity to develop a wide-ranging practice which I might not otherwise have had at another firm.

Outside of work, CW has a real family feel to it. Everyone is approachable, from partners to support staff, and we do a good job of putting on regular social events to bring everyone together.

Fiona Rendell

Fiona is a partner in our Birmingham Commercial Property team.

I joined Clarke Willmott as a paralegal in the insolvency team at the very end of 2006, while studying for my LPC part time. I began my training contract in September 2008 and did seats in Corporate/Tax, Private Client and Commercial Property. In March 2010, I qualified into a position in the Commercial Property team. I’ve always been ambitious and I’ve worked hard since I joined. It’s paid off and my career has progressed steadily. I was promoted to associate in July 2012 and when I was on maternity leave in the summer of 2015, I was promoted to senior associate. I took a second maternity leave in 2016/17 and I was promoted to partner as an ordinary member in May 2018.

How do you work with other teams across the firm?

I do a lot of work with our corporate teams, both in Birmingham and in other offices. Also with my colleagues specialising in planning, construction and property litigation. This started long before the pandemic and we were therefore very familiar with working remotely from each other, liaising over the telephone and emails, with face to face meetings where possible. In the last year and a bit this has changed to add video calls and if anything I now ‘see’ them more, with many of them ‘dropping in’ to our morning team meeting to catch up with non-transaction related news and chat.

What do you enjoy about working in the CW commercial property team in Birmingham?

It’s a very stable team. Two partners have been there since I was a trainee with them in 2009 and the senior associate in our team started as a trainee at the same time as me! They’re all very supportive and we get along well.

What advice would you give to somebody looking to build a career at Clarke Willmott?

Find a work niche you enjoy and then let people know about it – you will find that people are keen to support you and you will build expertise and experience and increase your practice area as you build relationships internally and externally.

What keeps you at Clarke Willmott?

I work with a really nice bunch of people and a great range of clients and do a huge variety of work. I’ve been supported through two maternity leaves and returns to work and find the flexibility in my working patterns means I can have a great life balance – I don’t have to give up being a mum in order to progress my career and enjoy my work. As a team we value getting the work done, wherever and whenever that may be. There are also great freedoms to explore different ways of winning work and enthusiasm for even pretty unusual business development activities is welcomed

Rob Ridd

Rob is a partner in our Bristol Corporate & Commercial team.

I joined Clarke Willmott’s Corporate team late-2010, having qualified at Reed Smith in London and worked at a couple of smaller firms. I was looking for a balance of exciting and complex work and being able to live my life, and that’s exactly what I found. A decade on I’m a partner at the firm, and looking at the next 10 years with excitement and optimism.

What type of clients do you work with?

A real mix, which is one of the attractions for me. I can be found working for a national restaurant chain, an international media agency and an international construction company, while at the same time working for social housing providers, family companies, individuals and sole traders. We have a sector approach and you are encouraged to get involved with that, but (at least in my case) you don’t tend to get pigeon-holed.

How has Clarke Willmott supported your career development?

I joined as a solicitor and was promoted to associate in 18 months later, senior associate in 2014 and then to partner in 2017. I have always been clear about the fact that I want to progress, and what my ambitions are, and at each point I was encouraged to apply and given the support I needed to put together a persuasive business case. The criteria are open to all on the firm intranet, and clear and transparent in my view

What is your experience of being a working parent at Clarke Willmott?

My wife and I had our first child in 2011 and then another in 2015, and throughout I’ve had the support and flexibility from the firm to take an active role in family life while throwing myself into work at the same time. My wife works in a demanding job too, and so it’s a difficult juggling act. Without the CW approach, I think we’d have had to compromise a lot more.

It was keenly felt during the home-schooling phases of the pandemic lockdowns, when the firm was great in supporting a much more flexible working day.

What keeps you at Clarke Willmott?

Interesting, complex work. The chance to work with a great mix of local, national and international clients on a wide variety of transactions, while at the same time getting the work-life balance we all crave. Most of all though, it’s the friendly, collegiate atmosphere of the firm. From my first day here, I felt at home amongst the people, and while colleagues come and go just as they do at every firm, that feeling has only increased over the past decade.

Looking for legal advice?