Peter Lynn & Partners
The legal profession is regularly cited as one that appreciates experience and many specialise or even qualify later in life - Blur drummer-turned-solicitor David Rowntree being a high-profile example.
“Lawyers have a long shelf-life and it’s one of those professions where age is a bonus,” says Peter Lynn, founding partner at the Swansea firm. “I know some lawyers who are still working into their 80s and 90s.”
Peter Lynn and Partners, employs an all-age workforce, with the youngest member of staff aged 16 and the oldest 68. Peter says the growth of the company, which launched in 1999 with two partners and now boasts 40+ legal professionals across six offices, has been possible thanks to the commitment of its most experienced members of the team.
The firm, whose client base ranges from individuals, families and start-up businesses to multi-national property developers, premiership football clubs and local authorities, are also one of the biggest family law providers in Wales, and Peter says clients going through challenging life circumstances often find comfort in being advised by someone their own age.
“We’ve grown by recruiting people over 50,” said Peter, 51. “If you’re going through a divorce, for example, you need an experienced and compassionate solicitor and these are qualities that often come with age.”
Mayda Thomas joined the business four years ago, to head up a department of conveyancing solicitors, many of whom had been made redundant during the recession.
Peter said: “We were lucky enough to be able to actually expand during the recession.
“As that department grew, we needed a safe pair of hands and someone who’d managed at a high level. Mayda has been hugely significant in helping the company to grow and she came with a guaranteed professionalism.”
Mayda, 58, from Gowerton, who also lectures and trains in law, says she thrives on mentoring younger members of staff finding their way in the demanding profession.
“I have 30 years’ experience so I can help them when they’re worried about making a mistake. I’ve been there, I’ve been through it and I’ve made those mistakes. In turn, I love the energy of our younger team members, their confidence to try, and I learn something new from one of them every day.”
Since having her two children, Mayda has worked part-time and she thinks offering flexible working is key to companies holding onto older workers. Staff can work from home when needed, flexible hours are offered, with the option of working on a bonus system so solicitors can choose when they earn. To ensure skills are shared, senior solicitors are ‘buddied’ with paralegals.
Peter said: “Younger team members can share everything from IT updates to a new perspective on communicating with their age-group, while older workers give us that kudos and earned respect that only comes with experience. An all-age workforce keeps businesses learning and ideas fresh.”