It’s a case of here come the girls at one of Wales’s oldest law firms where four young women have just taken the first steps on a career in the legal profession.
Swayne Johnson, which has a base in Denbigh and offices across North Wales and into Cheshire, can trace its origins back to the beginning of the 19th century but is now one of the fastest growing firms of solicitors in the region.
It is also notable for the number of women it employs among a staff of over 50 from Head of Practice Sarah Noton down and for the breadth of its legal expertise which include two of only three Court of Protection Deputies in Wales.
Their newest recruits are Bethan Hughes, from Carmel, and Alex Nash, from Greenfield, in the Denbigh office, Naomi Turner, from Betws yn Rhos, at St Asaph, and Yasmin Bilsland, from Huntington, Chester, at Tattenhall.
Bethan, 22, who went to St Richard Gwyn School, in Flint, did her law degree at Liverpool John Moores University, before gaining her LPC and a combined Master’s degree at Chester University.
She is also a talented footballer, playing on the left wing or in midfield with Northop Hall Ladies in the North Wales Women’s Premier League.
Her final year at Liverpool coincided with the pandemic so she returned home and applied successfully to Swayne Johnson: “I knew of them by reputation and I had enjoyed the Private Client work at university so I was pleased to join them as part of that team.
“The work is really varied and interesting because a lot of law courses are very focused on one area but in Private Client you are helping people at a whole range of ages and from different walks of life.
“Swayne Johnson also have such a range of experience within the different offices and there is so much collaboration that you get the benefit of working with so many people with so much expertise.”
Alex Nash, 25, from Greenfield, a former pupil at Mold Alun School, went to University College London and graduated with a degree in archaeology after spending field trips in Greece and Uganda but decided law was more up her street.
She said: “I realised that pretty early on but it was good experience and the skills you need for history and science are really useful for me now.
“I worked as a lifeguard in Mold leisure centre and then did a Masters in Law at Chester, spending time with another law firm but I didn’t want to end up in a litigation department and saw there was an opportunity as a legal assistant at Swayne Johnson and it has worked out well.
“It’s a steep learning curve and it’s busy which I enjoy and I’m lucky to be with a colleague who has been really helpful and I am starting a training contract in September.”
Naomi Turner, 26, from Betws yn Rhos, went to Ysgol Y Creuddyn and Ysgol Bryn Eilian, in Old Colwyn, graduated with a degree in Law and Criminology from Bangor University and joined as a legal assistant, beginning her training contract at the same time as Alex.
She has a background in volunteering with vulnerable people and said: “I’ve always had a passion for helping people and have worked from a young age in caring roles.
“As a student I was a carer in the community, working with elderly people and their families and was also supporting fellow students from all walks of life.
“At Swayne Johnson I’ve started to work with the Court of Protection team who help people who struggle to make decisions about their lives and that is something that really strikes a chord with me.”
Yasmin Bilsland, 25, from Huntington, in Chester, is on the team at Swayne Johnson’s office at Tattenhall, near Chester, where she is a trainee solicitor after starting as a legal secretary but she has other unusual accomplishments.
She learned to box at a club in Chester where her dad was the coach and can speak and write Arabic after taking an evening course at Chester University where she took her Graduate Diploma in Law at Chester after gaining a BA in Criminology from Yale University in Wrexham.
She said: “I knew someone at Swayne Johnson and she suggested I apply because it was really good and thankfully they offered me a position.
“It’s gone really well. It was a bit of shock to the system at first because I had never been in a law firm before but I’ve really enjoyed it.
“I am helping with private client work and I really enjoy that because I’ve always enjoyed working with people and helping them and at Swayne Johnson everyone has been very helpful.”
Her unusual accomplishments were inspired by her first name and by her dad’s position as head coach at Heavy Hitters boxing club in Chester and she said: “I think my mum hoped I’d do ballet but I was a daddy’s girl and went to the boxing with him.
“I had a few bouts and did pretty well but I haven’t boxed for a while so I won’t be turning up for work with a black eye.
“The Arabic was because of my first name which has an Arabic origin and there were evening classes at the university so I gave it a go and I can hold a conversation in it.
“You never know, it could come in handy sometime.”
Swayne Johnson Managing Director Sarah Noton said: “We’re delighted to make four more high calibre appointments as we continue an expansion which has seen us grow from two offices to five in the last ten years.
“We know that within Swayne Johnson we have lawyers with a wealth of experience in all aspects of legal work and that makes this a very good environment for those who join us as trainees.
“We offer a comprehensive range of services across a wide area of law and we have the kind of high-quality expertise that means clients don’t need to look to firms from outside the area for the legal skills they need.
“At Swayne Johnson we believe in building relationships with our clients and providing them with the reassurance that they’re dealing with people who know and understand them.”
For more on Swayne Johnson go to http://www.swaynejohnson.com/