Thursday 17 November 2016
Four graduates from the University of Northampton have played an instrumental role in the success of a town law firm.
Law graduates Christina Chappell, Annabel Spicer, Joanne Axisa and Samantha Akaki make up almost a fifth of the workforce at SP Law inc. Martin Adams & McColl, which has just been named Small Firm of the Year 2016 by Northamptonshire Law Society.
The quartet’s professionalism, skills and legal know-how have impressed SP Law co-founder, Hassan Shah – who is equally delighted to have been able to employ people who studied in Northampton.
“The firm has very close ties with the University, but we haven’t deliberately gone out to recruit those who studied there, it just so happens that the quality of the applicants from those who studied on the law course has been exceptional,” said Hassan.
Hassan and Sundip Patel founded SP Law in 2005, in rather unglamorous surroundings that are in stark contrast to the grandeur of the current HQ – a refurbished former Conservative Club in Whitworth Road.
“We started out in a basement office with just a photocopier and a telephone, so they were really humble beginnings,” said Hassan.
“The company has grown steadily over those 11 years, during which time we merged with Martin Adams & McColl Solicitors, and now to be recognised by the county Law Society as the best small firm is both humbling and gratifying.”
Christina Chappell, solicitor in civil litigation, graduated from the Law course in 2007, completed a master’s at the University in 2010, and joined SP Law the same year.
She said: “The law course was excellent. It definitely helped to get me where I am today.”
Paralegal in residential conveyancing, Annabel Spicer, joined the firm from legal firm Howes Percival in September.
“I initially enrolled on an accounting and law joint honours course when I joined the University,” said Annabel, who graduated in 2012.
“But I found I really liked the law part of my course, and switched to a straight single honours degree which I absolutely loved.”
Jo Axisa, paralegal in wills, probate and family law, completed a two-year intensive law degree in 2015.
She said: “The grounding I received on the fast-track course was invaluable. The law lecturers were extremely supportive often going beyond what you would expect. Being able to cover various aspects of law on the course very much works in your favour if you join a smaller law firm. You get the opportunity to delve into different areas of law, which really helps you to work out what you want to specialise in.”
Paralegal in civil litigation, Samantha Akaki, who graduated in 2012, said: “Civil litigation is more academic than other areas of law, and I am finding I am applying a lot of the theory I learned on my course to my role here. So my course really is geared up for when we graduate and enter the working world.”