Two sisters thrust into management of their mother’s law firm have toasted five years of successfully running the business.
Liverpool firm Maria Fogg Family Law was founded from scratch in 2012 with the aim of providing legal advice for those who had suffered domestic abuse or needed contact with their child.
The firm’s founder died suddenly in November 2018 at the age of 55 but her daughters Andrea and Charlotte (pictured above) immediately became directors and have overseen an expansion of the business, established its financial security and recently won a host of industry awards.
‘Closing the firm never crossed our minds,’ said Charlotte. ‘Our mum had built this fantastic reputation and we knew clients needed us. It was a traditional sole practitioner firm so we had so many technicalities to go through such as becoming an ABS.
‘We were grieving and had families of our own but we wanted the firm to continue above anything else. It was tough as we had to rebuild so suddenly – there was no contingency plan for this.’
The workings of the business were not completely new: Andrea had studied biochemistry and worked in the civil service but had helped her mother with the firm’s accounts.
Charlotte joined her mother when the firm was founded without taking a wage and worked in a bar until 2am in a effort to get the business up and running.
‘We had one laptop on day one and just me and her in one room,’ she said. ’We started putting out leaflets and built the business up from nothing. Now it has been transformed.’
The journey to its current form has not been without its challenges: tendering for legal aid contracts, recruiting staff who fit into the family ethos of the business and moving offices during the Covid lockdown.
But with a staff of 19 and having developed a speciality in working with domestic abuse charities, the firm has been recognised with a number of awards in recent months, including winning the law firm of the year (1-99 employees) at the recent Liverpool Law Awards.
Andrea reflected: ‘I did the eulogy at my mother’s funeral and said the business was like another child to her. She would be absolutely thrilled at the way we have nurtured it and expanded. It is built around the client base and the reputation she created. Now we get out to refuges and give back to the community. She instilled in us that no matter what size you are everyone has a duty to support the most vulnerable.’
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