Meet the Team – Lisa Brown
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Meet the Team - Lisa Brown
This is the fifth in a series of posts designed to provide you with some information about the team at Old Bailey Solicitors, what they do and why they do it!
Today its the turn of our controller in chief, Practice Manager, Lisa Brown
What is your job title?
How long have you been with Old Bailey Solicitors?
Almost 17 years’.
What did you do before joining Old Bailey Solicitors?
What made you decide to work for a firm of criminal defence specialists?
I had always been interested in the law. I used to love watching L.A. Law and my favourite character was Michael Kuzak. A friend of mine was working for a Barristers’ Chambers and she introduced me to a local firm of solicitors as a potential admin. assistant / costs clerk. I was offered the job and never looked back.
Describe your typical day at work
I oversee the administration of the practice. This involves making sure that the office diary runs smoothly, that fee earners are using our case management system properly and liaising with courts, barrister’s chambers and clients to ensure that our team are where they are supposed to be from one moment to the next.
I also work closely with our Accounts department and assist with the billing of files.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I particularly enjoy helping clients out with practical issues. I don’t give legal advice but I am often the person in the office making arrangements, behind the scenes, so that their cases run smoothly. If a client calls in and tells us they need a solicitor in court that morning, I’m the one calling around, trying to find out who might be available and how soon they can attend. Sometimes this can involve juggling a number of fee earners and changing plans throughout the day. Its satisfying when everything slots into place and the clients are left happy (which is more often than not).
What do you find most challenging?
Having to make a host of last minute arrangements at 8.30 on a Monday morning.
If you could implement one single change to the criminal justice system, what would it be?
Having worked as a Costs Clerk and Practice Manager for 17 years, I have seen at first hand how the fees earned on files have decreased over time. It is right that legal aid firms, using public money, should have to work efficiently and that savings should be made where possible, but I have witnessed the extent of the changes over that period. There is now a pressure placed on legal aid firms to cut corners. We are honest with our clients and we tell them that we will do as much as we can for them on legal aid but, in order to ensure the best representation, they may have to pay privately. I think that makes the system unfair to those who can’t afford it.
Also, I think this tune should be playing in all court waiting areas.