Wareham might be described as the office from which HK sprang. Harry Kirk the Town Clerk in the 1950’s apparently took over a rather small firm and the modern Humphries Kirk was born.
There is a photograph of the office in the 1930’s when the garden and car park behind Glebe House was a proper garden and tennis court. We seem to have come full circle as the firm seeks to take part in initiatives with Dorset Wildlife Trust to promote the greenery that survives at Glebe House. Clearly with any Solicitor’s business it’s the fee earners and support staff who will ultimately provide the client with the best advice.
Simon Cross moved to Humphries Kirk in 2004 having moved to Dorset 13 years earlier. He is the senior Private Client lawyer within Humphries Kirk and previously ran the Private Client Team before handing that responsibility to Laura Staples some 4 years ago.
As Simon has lived within the community for nearly thirty years he has made contact with various local sports and leisure groups. He is a past president of the Rotary Club of Wareham and a member of Wareham Dining Club. He chairs the Bear Investment Club, served for ten years on the local Parish Council, mostly as Chairman and is a Vice President of the local Swanage and Wareham Rugby Club.
Simon’s professional skills lie in relation to the mitigation of Inheritance Tax and for some years he was a Council Member of the prestigious Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners. One third of his original degree was Accountancy Accredited and this blend of Law and Accountancy has proved invaluable in Tax planning work. Clients are surprised how nimbly the complexities around Inheritance Tax can be straightened out and the liability mitigated. Clients have often commented how clearly the issues are understood and more importantly how well Simon’s solutions are constructed.
In 2007 Simon trained and subsequently qualified as a Notary Public. The role of a Notary is to transact matters with an international flavour. His work in a week might involve a Power of Attorney for a property transaction in Spain, a sale of a property in the United States, an acceptance of an inheritance in Estonia or the validating of compliance documents for France. With less than 750 Notaries in the whole of England and Wales the proximity of a local practitioner in Wareham is a genuine benefit to the local community.
The Wareham team has been bolstered recently by the arrival of Orla Laurenson, who joined the Wareham Private Client to add her skills to the developing Agricultural Private Client Team. Orla is involved in Cranborne Chase Cider Company and therefore has an invaluable first-hand insight into some of the problems that farming families encounter. The issues of succession are very much part of the routine work that the group advise upon. Having the blend of practical experience and technical knowledge is key to delivering the solutions that clients require in today’s diverse legal world.
The Wareham office is also keen to support and be involved with charities. We run a “Wills Clinic” for Age UK every month. Simon and Orla are involved with Purbeck Network providing advice and guidance to all comers on the Isle of Purbeck. We also support residents at Pine Martin Grange in Wareham.
The Land Department has seen an expansion of personnel recently and an up-and-coming star is Michelle Smart. Michelle has blended the career path of qualification with the demands of raising a family and come through with flying colours on both fronts. Michelle is always willing to go that extra mile to get a transaction to completion. She offers clients appointments out of the usual office hours, a common theme for the Wareham Office.
Before Covid the office regularly opened on Saturday mornings to bring to clients the ability and flexibility that few other firms even contemplate.
The plan to restart this service is in hand. Although at the time of writing Omicron is creating a slight block to those plans.
A recent initiative saw the Land and Private Client Teams deliver an educational presentation to local estate agents in order that issues around property transactions/ legal titles and other possible problem areas and the related taxation issues could be explained. In all these activities Humphries Kirk is aiming to simplify and improve the client journey.
Humphries Kirk has a significant Company and Commercial Department, wide ranging expertise in commercial land as well as Family and Litigation Teams. All of these disciplines can be accessed through the Wareham Office.
It’s what makes HK so refreshing; the depth of knowledge and skills all of which are available through the firm’s network of 8 regional offices.