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Jackie Gillespie: First Lady of QS Howlett Clarke

Jackie Gillespie’s journey to equity partner, head of the litigation department and now also managing partner of Howlett Clarke began when she spent a week, in 1998, undergoing work experience. She absorbed a wealth of experience and knowledge from everyone around her, and quickly progressed from legal secretary and, continuing to break traditions, she was the first person to secure a place on the firm’s training programme, before qualifying as a solicitor in 2002.

Now Jackie has accepted the position of managing partner and been in the role for about a month now, we thought it would be a good idea to catch up with Jackie and talk about her personal success as well as business development as a whole.

What has been your career highlight/s over the past 18 years at Howlett Clarke?

Securing a training contract with Howlett Clarke was the beginning of many highlights within the firm.  There is always such fierce competition for training contracts, as much now as then. 

I enjoyed doing my very best for clients and achieving good results sometimes against all odds.

I was honoured to be offered Head of the litigation and Personal injury department and then partnership.

Achieving the LEXCEL accreditation alongside our Investor in People award was a highlight of many years effort.

What would you say has been key to your success at the firm?

Hard work and dedication to the job, as well as the ability and willingness to do whatever is required to ensure the best outcome for the client.

What advice would you give to someone in a similar position to yourself, when you first became equity partner?

Be ready to adapt to the change from employee to owner of the business. The commercial reality of running the business is quite different to the day job of fee earning work but both are equally rewarding.

With more and more firms turning to fixed fee legal services how do you see this impacting the legal market?

It provides an opportunity for more people to have the benefit of legal advice and access to the help they need at a price they can afford.  This is essentially why Howlett Clarke offers the Ask the Legal Expert Service and Business Advice Service at low cost.

Law firms are evolving as they need to in order to meet the demands of their clients and potential clients and therefore fixed fees should be welcomed and as a win win for both law firms and clients. Howlett Clarke has been at the forefront of this, we already provide fixed fees in three main areas of law.

Finally, where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

The firm is steeped in history and tradition with a modern forward looking outlook and I see myself as a custodian of that legacy.  I would hope to still be Managing Partner at Howlett Clarke and to ensure its growth and continued success.


For more information about Jackie and for her contact details, please click here.

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