Ask Frank Smith what his memories are of steering his Cheltenham law firm through the worst of the pandemic and he will be as polite and measured, as he always is – but one word will ring out and that is ‘tough’.
It was, he said, a period in which the team at Frank Smith & Co Solicitors came under the most intense pressure, both personally and professionally, as the impact of the pandemic came to bear on everyone.
When he looks back now at the white heat endured by many in business, he is proud of the way his firm fought to stay true to its values, to support other county firms where it could, to do what it could to help as many as it could and continue to deliver to the highest standards.
‘Difficult does not begin to describe what it was like at times. I think it was like that for many people, but we made a decision to stay focused early on and the firm’s staff were simply incredible,’ said Smith.
It is a statement backed up by the continued growth in business for Frank Smith & Co and in the reputation of the Cheltenham firm he founded in 2016.
The firm opened a new private client department at the height of the pandemic, expanded its commercial property team and overall head count reaching double figures for the first time. All a sign of its growing reputation as a recognised legal expert in property, agriculture, and private client law.
Smith added: ‘The pandemic has been a massive learning curve for me. I had to do quite a lot of soul searching.
‘I think the whole country was under immense pressure during the start of the pandemic, but certainly there was a lot of pressure on businesses.
‘We did not furlough anyone. I was determined not to do that. People first is my motto and my people (colleagues) matter greatly.
‘We tried to do the right thing by everyone and ultimately I think we can hold our heads up high.’
Frank Smith is a nationally recognised legal expert in property matters and is recommended by Chambers UK and Legal 500.
The firm is a supporter of many county and nationwide charities including the Samaritans and the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution’s (R.A.B.I).
By Andrew Merrell