Teresa Payne: A Journey of Determination and Success in the Legal Industry
Teresa Payne, the Managing Partner of Parfitt Cresswell, has an incredible story of perseverance and success in the legal profession. From humble beginnings and facing numerous challenges, she has built a thriving regional law firm that provides a wide range of legal services to clients across London, Berkshire, Surrey, Sussex, and Kent.
Teresa’s educational background may not be traditional, but her determination and passion for the law have been unwavering. She left school at the age of 16 without any qualifications and started working a Saturday job on a market stall, earning a meager £7 per day. However, she never let her circumstances define her future. In 1995, at the age of 29 and going through a divorce, Teresa took the initiative to manage her own legal process. She began researching the legal field at her local library and discovered an Access to Law course at a nearby college.
Embracing the opportunity, Teresa enrolled in the course in September 1996. Her enthusiasm for studying and the support she received from her tutor motivated her to apply for a university place to pursue a law degree. Despite the challenges posed by her age and being a single mother, Teresa was determined to prove her worth. She knew the competition for training contracts at larger law firms would be tough, but she didn’t let that discourage her.
While studying at Cardiff University, Teresa volunteered at the Citizens Advice Bureau, gaining valuable work experience in the legal field. Her mentor at law school advised against pursuing the Legal Practice Course, citing her slim chances of securing a training contract due to her age and responsibilities as a single mother. Instead, he suggested a career in the hospitality sector, specifically hotel reception.
Teresa, however, chose to follow her own path. She graduated from Cardiff University in July 2000 and started the Legal Practice Course in September of the same year. Her determination paid off when she secured a training contract and qualified as a solicitor in 2004, at the age of 37. She remained with the firm she trained at and quickly rose to the position of Partner in 2006.
Driven by her entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to provide a level of service she had not received during her own divorce, Teresa decided to acquire Parfitt Cresswell in 2007. At the time of acquisition, the firm employed just 8 people in a single office in Fulham Broadway. Since then, Teresa, along with Nigel Harper, has overseen the expansion of Parfitt Cresswell to nine offices, with a team of over 100 professionals.
Parfitt Cresswell is widely recognized for its comprehensive range of legal services. The firm specializes in areas such as family law, residential and commercial property, wills, power of attorney, probate, trusts, dispute resolution, tax planning, and employment. In addition to their legal expertise, Parfitt Cresswell collaborates with independent financial advisors and the later living sector to ensure clients receive holistic advice and support. The firm also assists business owners in organizing their affairs effectively.
What sets Parfitt Cresswell apart from its competitors is its dedication to client care and support beyond immediate legal needs. Recognizing that people often require legal assistance during stressful times, the firm takes great care to ensure clients feel heard, supported, and well-informed throughout the process. From trained professionals answering phone calls with empathy and understanding to assigning each client a named lawyer, Parfitt Cresswell prioritizes personalized service and efficient communication. With a strong local presence and connections combined with the resources of a larger firm, the company offers the best of both worlds to its clients.
However, Teresa understands that exceptional client service begins with employee well-being. She firmly believes that employees who feel supported and valued are better equipped to provide a calm and supportive service to clients. Therefore, well-being is one of her top priorities as a leader. By fostering a caring and supportive work environment, Teresa ensures that her team feels motivated, engaged, and inspired to deliver the highest standard of service.
As a leader, Teresa continues to grow and develop through various means. She believes that development goes beyond formal courses, although they do play a significant role. Having had the support of great mentors throughout her career, Teresa recognizes the importance of seeking guidance and support from those who have valuable experience and insights. She continuously pushes herself beyond her comfort zone, stays updated with industry trends, and remains open to new ideas and perspectives. Taking time to reflect, plan for the future, and express gratitude for her colleagues and clients is also an integral part of her leadership journey.
Teresa’s commitment to personal and professional growth extends beyond her own development. Parfitt Cresswell supports Connections Radio, a station aimed at business, which provides a platform for business leaders to share their experiences and insights. By listening to interviews with other leaders, Teresa finds inspiration and an opportunity to explore new perspectives, ultimately contributing to her own growth as a leader.
When asked about the most important trait in a business leader’s career, Teresa emphasizes the significance of genuinely caring about employees and clients. By fostering an environment of care and compassion, leaders can address many of the challenges that arise within their organizations. Additionally, having a genuine passion for one’s work and the resilience to persevere through tough times are crucial attributes for success.
Looking ahead, Parfitt Cresswell aims to continue growing through internal expansion and strategic acquisitions. By increasing the size of their team, they will be able to assist even more clients, providing them with the exceptional legal advice and support they deserve.
In conclusion, Teresa Payne’s journey from a market stall to becoming the Managing Partner of Parfitt Cresswell is a testament to her determination, resilience, and unwavering belief in herself. Through her own experiences, she recognized the need for a legal firm that prioritizes client care and support. Today, Parfitt Cresswell stands out in the legal industry by providing comprehensive legal services combined with a personal touch. With Teresa’s leadership and the dedication of her team, the firm continues to thrive, helping clients navigate complex legal matters and protecting their interests beyond their immediate needs
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