Chafes Solicitors

Chafes Solicitors

Located on Union Road, the New Mills office of Chafes Solicitors is right at the heart of New Mills. Chafes pride themselves on their areas of specialism, their approachability and accessibility to the people in the town of New Mills. We paid them a visit to find out more about their business.

Julia Hibbert, the Marketing Manager, was joined by Michelle Simpson, a family solicitor at Chafes, and we launched right into asking them what attracted them to Chafes in the first place. They responded by giving us two very different answers. Julia explained that although she studied marketing for her degree the law had always appealed to her, and she loved the wide number of departments at Chafes all requiring their own marketing message with an overall cohering group message. Michelle told us that she wanted to work in a smaller, more personal solictors firm and Chafes had been personally recommended to her.

Chafes state on their website that they are ‘progressive lawyers with traditional values’, so we asked Julia and Michelle about this. They explained quite convincingly that unlike big city law firms, they provide a personal service whereby all clients get the option to meet the person who is working on their case. The ‘progressive’ element of their service is their frequent use of modern applications such as their website, and e-mails between lawyer and client.

On Chafes promise of ‘high quality advice every time’ they said they achieve this through Continuous Professional Development training each year in order to continue learning new techniques and ideas. Michelle also explained that in the past 20 years most solicitors practices have become specialized in a certain area of law. This makes them more knowledgeable in their particular area, and therefore more able to meet client’s needs. We are also told that the staff are constantly sharing their knowledge and what they’ve learnt from past cases, meaning there’s a constant “flow of knowledge”.

Chafes believe that another essential in their business is a good relationship between co-workers, as their job is even more than a 9 to 5 one. A ‘giggle and a chat’ now and then creates a better atmosphere in the office. They try and improve staff relationships by hosting many events across the year to draw the staff together - such as their upcoming staff fun day.

Because Chafes are so involved in the local community, they are able to use these events to raise money for small charities. Julia tells us that by helping smaller charities they “know it makes a difference”. The main charity this year is the Alderley Edge based ‘Time Out Group’ Time Out Group, who primarily deal with giving carers respite time. For example, the charity recently organized a trip to John Lewis for adults with learning difficulties, during which time they brought presents for their carers. Other charities that Chafes have got involved with over the past year are the East Cheshire Hospice, Francis House and the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

As well as supporting local charities, Chafes help local businesses and organizations. Their work includes: Sponsoring the 17th Tee at New Mills Golf Club, paying for sport equipment at Alderly Edge Primary School, sponsoring the Wilmslow Scarecrow Festival, donating money to New Mills Festival and sponsoring a law student at Wilmslow High School. It’s clear that Chafes aren’t afraid to get involved with the local community, and contribute time to helping small, local schools and businesses.

For our final question, we asked Chafes what makes them so different from all of the other law firms out there. They responded by telling us that it’s their balance between specialism, approachability and accessibility that makes them special. Chafes is part of the New Mills community, and is unlike inner city law firms because they work on a personal level, and give the client direct access to their solicitor. Their door is always open for anyone who seeks legal advice, and – unsurprisingly – many people take up this offer, even for just a cup of tea and a quick chat.

Despite their current popularity among the people of New Mills, Chafes will soon be facing new competition in the form of companies such as the Co-op, AA and Tesco. From October, supermarkets will be allowed to provide legal advice and solicitor services. These companies’ services will be cheaper than that of Chafes, so it’s a concern that small legal advice services will lose out to these major companies. However, their service will be much less personal. It’s likely that if you want to call up to discuss a legal problem, you will be put through to a call centre worker; you’ll then be put on hold as they call the manager, where as Julia insists that these companies “can never provide the element” of a personal service, where clients can “pop in” any time they like. Chafes hope that their clients will not be tempted to sacrifice the friendly, personal service they provide for an impersonal, slightly cheaper option.

Through our visit, we’ve seen how Chafes combines forward-thinking with traditional values. Their friendly, personal approach to legal advice is perfect for New Mills, where people want feel comfortable enough to visit anytime.

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