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Essex law firm staff celebrate 20 years' service
This year not only marks Birkett Long’s 200 years anniversary but also 20 years’ service at the firm for a number of their staff.
The first to celebrate is Gillian Dulieu, a Financial Services Executive in Birkett Long’s team of Independent Financial Advisers. Gillian has worked in the financial services industry since 1987 and her current responsibilities are producing investment summaries and pension reports for clients. A significant number of staff who were in the financial services team when Gillian joined are still with the firm today. Gillian remembers how emails were still relatively new when she started and there were no links between the back-office system and providers. Cut to today and Gillian is currently working on a project to develop a back office system to suit the team’s current and future requirements.
A keen conductor, she is the musical director of Clacton Choral Society and the organist at Christ Church United Reform Church. The guests at the Birkett Long IFA 30-year anniversary celebration had the pleasure of listening to Gillian play the piano whilst they enjoyed an afternoon tea.
Gillian said: “In some ways I can’t believe I’ve been working for 20 years at Birkett Long but in other ways it feels as if I’ve always been here. I like the fact that Birkett Long is keen to help the community and has raised lots of money for various charities over the years.”
Next is Martin Hopkins, Managing Partner, also celebrating 20 years with the firm this year. Martin was Head of BLHR and Employment for over 6 years. He has specialised in employment for over 20 years and has been a Partner at the firm for 16 of those. Martin took over the role of Managing Partner in June 2019. He began his career at Birkett Long on April Fool’s Day, when he joined the Colchester Employment team as a solicitor with 2 years’ post qualification experience. Within 12 months he moved with a small group to Chelmsford to establish a new office there. His next few years were a split of building the employment law offering in Chelmsford and building the profile of the new office. Martin was made Partner in 2004 and in 2011 took on the new challenge of establishing the firm’s Basildon office, acquiring two local firms in the first two years of opening. He helped integrate their practices and raise the firm’s profile in an area where the business wasn’t well known. Martin returned to the Colchester office in 2018 to prepare for his Managing Partner role.
Reflecting on how the firm has changed over the last 20 years he notes that very much and very little has changed. Martin said: “We have embraced changes in the way legal services are provided and in the way that the outside world has changed. What has remained constant is our commitment to our people, to our clients, and to our communities. Birkett Long has retained its friendly feel while achieving growth that allows us to offer excellent service to our clients and excellent opportunities to our people.”
Although he has many, Martin’s favourite memory of his time at Birkett Long was his first LiveStream presentation to all of the firm’s staff shortly after the first lockdown was implemented and the support and empathy shown by so many colleagues in response. It was a tiring, stressful and emotional time for Martin but he felt that he was part of a team throughout who were there to help each other respond to that difficult situation and allowed the business to thrive and improve during the pandemic.
Martin said: “I am very proud to have had the opportunity to work for Birkett Long for the last 20 years and I am committed to retaining so much of what has made it a great place to work, that has provided me with many different opportunities and has given me the chance to wake up every day and be pleased to be going to work!”
Also celebrating this year is Heidi Rampton. Heidi has had a varied career at Birkett Long, starting in the Float team providing administrative support. Over her career she has worked in commercial litigation, personal injury claims, dispute resolution and, finally, commercial real estate, where she is now a team assistant.
Heidi said: “20 years have flown by! Birkett Long is not just a law firm, it is a family. It is a caring firm who look after their employees, the community and the environment. The work that I carry out is always acknowledged and appreciated and although the last year has been particularly difficult for everyone, the appreciation that the Partners here at Birkett Long have shown their staff has exceeded my expectations.”
Heidi’s most memorable experience at Birkett Long was when the firm hosted a medieval event at Cressing Temple Barns where everyone was dressed up in medieval dress and there was fun and games for everyone.
In addition to Gillian, Martin and Heidi, the firm look forward to celebrating the 20 year anniversaries of another six of their staff in the coming year.