Some solicitors thrive on the cut and thrust of advocacy, many like the human side of legal services, while others – such as our latest new recruit Chris Cook – enjoy immersing themselves in the painstaking detail that’s essential to do an outstanding job for clients who are relying on us to buy and sell their homes in a professional and efficient manner.
Chris said: “I honestly really like paperwork! I know some solicitors prefer roles involving public speaking or working with clients on complex, emotional cases, but conveyancing just suits my personality and skillset.
“You have to be very methodical and pay close attention to detail. I get a lot of satisfaction from seeing someone get the keys to their first home or move into what’s going to be their ‘forever’ home.”
Chris grew up in Cottingham, where he still lives, and went to school at what was Hull Grammar before studying law at the city’s university. He said: “I enjoyed history at school and considered studying it at university, but then thought what would I do with a history degree as I knew I didn’t want to progress on to teaching after university.
“I wanted to go into a profession, and have family members who work in the medical section but I knew this wasn’t something I wanted to follow in and I knew law suited both my skillset and mind set.
“I did some work experience placements at law firms, which I enjoyed and this affirmed my wish to pursue this as my career choice.”
A move to Nottingham gave Chris a good grounding for his training period, and he eventually returned to East Yorkshire where he honed his skills at a number of local law firms. With four years of experience as a conveyancer now under his belt, the time was right for a move to the area’s most forward-thinking supplier of legal services.
Here at James Legal, positive personal traits and a great attitude are just as important as qualifications, and Chris had developed an impressive reputation in the patch for his knowledge, pragmatism, and cool head. “Cheryl Leaning (director and head of residential property) contacted me for a chat about an opening at the firm for a conveyancer,” said Chris. “Joining the company was a pretty easy decision for me to make, although I haven’t been here long my gut tells me it was definitely the right thing to do. This place is like a breath of fresh air – it feels so calm. Everyone is busy, but not fraught, and it isn’t at all stuffy or old-fashioned.
“Everyone is very friendly and helpful, and the open-plan office layout means if anyone needs a second opinion on anything someone is always more than happy to help. There’s a strong sense that we’re all working towards the same goals.”
And Chris is also pleased with the company’s focus on staff mental health and wellbeing. “People often bring their dogs to work, which is nice. I have a cat, so maybe I could bring him in one day although I don’t think he would be quite as relaxed!”
Outside work, Chris makes sure he hits the gym at 6am every day, and unwinds with a weekly kickabout on the football pitch with a group of mates on a Friday evening. He’s also a bit of a dab hand in the kitchen and loves to rattle the pots and pans and serve up delectable meals for his friends.
He added: “I’ve been interested in cooking and baking for a while, I find it’s a good way to unwind and, when we’re not in lockdown, I do a ‘dinner club’ with my friends where we take it in turns to host each other.”
And naturally, now that this fascinating fact is out of the bag, the rest of the James Legal team are forming an orderly queue in the hope that Chris will arrive at work bearing a few baked goods for them to sample…