Posted: 24.06.21 at 10:09 by Ellyn Wright

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Since February this year, JCP Solicitors has been a proud sponsor of Cowbridge Nub News, sharing monthly columns featuring the latest professional advice with our readers.

JCP Solicitors has been in Cowbridge since the firm merged with Glamorgan Law in 2017, a practice with whom it shared a similar ethos. Glamorgan Law had also previously merged with the Cowbridge office of Gaskell & Walker. The business remains based in the Pavilion on Eastgate.

We spoke with Chris Shaw, one of the Directors and the Head of Lifetime Planning at JCP Solicitors, to learn more about how the business is an integral part of the Cowbridge community and how the team supported their clients through the period of unprecedented changes and challenges posed by the pandemic.

JCP Solicitors is very much a Welsh company, ensuring they have offices throughout the smaller towns and communities to serve local people.

“Our Welsh identity is something we're proud of, and we're happy to liaise with our clients to discuss our services in the medium of Welsh too,” said Chris.

“We very much want to deliver our services on a local level so that clients can access us easily within their communities. But we’re still providing that excellence of service and specialist advice that you would get from a bigger firm.

“We have always offered quality legal advice and support in a friendly, approachable, jargon-free way. JCP Solicitors is a trusted and an established part of the communities it serves. And we enjoy long-standing relationships with our clients. We’re not simply seen as somewhere you go for a one-off case, but as somewhere to come back to time and time again.

“One of our strengths is that we're not general practitioners; the person you see is an expert in the field they practice in. We are all, also, part of a much wider network of legal specialists and experts and we work closely together. So, clients have access to the best advice, locally without having to go to one of the major city hubs if that isn’t convenient.

"If we haven't got the particular legal specialist you need in your local JCP office we will have them within the business and we can bring them to you.” he said.

“We’ve also got staff involved in local sports clubs and other group organisations such as church groups and choirs, which we’re always happy to sponsor and support because that’s important. We want to reinvest into our communities.”

With restrictions easing, JCP Solicitors is welcoming staff back to the Cowbridge office in a limited capacity and has started seeing clients for essential face to face meetings again.

“Wills clients have welcomed this, in particular, along with the safety measures we have in place to help them feel at ease. Many of the team found the first couple of days back together in the office very emotional,” said Chris.

“We've done a very gradual phased return because the last thing we want to do is open an office and then find a couple of weeks later, because circumstances change, we've got to close it again.

"Keeping our staff and clients safe remains a priority. A lot of hard work has gone into setting up processes to ensure we are Covid safe and can maintain social distancing.

"During lockdown, I volunteered to man the office by myself, to keep the service running. The challenge, to begin with, was communication, but we focused upon enhancing communication with clients by giving vital updates, very regular e-shots, newsletters and by sharing video blogs on our social media platforms.

"Covid affected so many of our clients – whether they were employers, landlords, small business owners, or private clients - so it was important to give them clear, considered, up-to-the-minute updates about the situation.

"We also had some robust continuity plans already in place for the business, because a few years ago we went through some disaster planning scenarios, but it wasn't quite a pandemic!

“One of the scenarios that we did plan for was a reduction of our office space, so it allowed us to have a practice run for working from home.” he said.

While working remotely, the workload at JCP Solicitors increased as the practice experienced a surge of cases for Wills initially, followed by family advice and conveyancing a few months later.

“We weren't able to see clients face-to-face but our teams continued to work tirelessly in any way they could, and we soon found new and innovative ways to replace the face-to-face meetings. Our clients’ adapted amazingly,” said Chris.

“We had to work together to overcome obstacles such as how to have signatures witnessed, and deal with time-sensitive documentation.”

With added workload and difficulties, it was important to make sure the team stayed connected during this time.

“We were having weekly updates from our CEO, we now have a #TeamJCP Facebook group, and there were lots of WhatsApp groups being formed. We also had a virtual Christmas party,” said Chris.

“We delivered afternoon tea to everyone at home, with a few little presents and drinks.”

To learn more about the high-quality legal advice offered by JCP Solicitors to businesses and individuals throughout the local community, click here.

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