In the 2nd of our series of Q&A’s, we caught up with Simon Bean, Partner and Head of Department for Dispute Resolution at Wollens. Simon is based at our office in Torquay.
Simon qualified in 2003 and joined Wollens in 2018, Simon provides advice to business clients from all sectors from manufacturing to farming and from owner-managed businesses to multi-national businesses, on the full spectrum of commercial disputes
Business Development Manager Jim Parker catches up with Simon to find out more.
Family background and you?
I am originally from the Brecon Beacons in Wales where my dad practised as a chartered accountant and my mum worked as a secretary for the local council. I came down to Devon in 2001 to do my training contract and qualify and have lived here ever since. My wife, Suzie, is an English teacher at a school in Exeter, and we have two little girls aged 11 and nine.
We live in Honiton.
What are your hobbies?
As a family we enjoy the outdoors life, with lots of walking and camping across Devon and Cornwall mostly. I am also a keen cyclist which helps me navigate middle age.
Your dream holiday?
Something wild and adventurous in a far-flung part of the world – perhaps a walking and boating safari in Botswana or Namibia, for example (so long as the food is good at the end of the day).
Where were you educated and what was your previous career history?
I went to primary school in mid-Wales, and then to Downside School in Somerset from 10. I initially studied History of Art at the Leicester University and the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, and then did my legal studies and Legal Practice Course at the College of Law in Chester.
After coming to Devon in 2001 I did my training contract with a large regional practice, and then, from qualification, focussed on litigation and specifically business litigation. From 2011 I started practising employment law alongside the litigation and dispute resolution services I provide.
How long have you been a solicitor?
and how long at Wollens?
Just under two years
I was drawn to the firm by its great people and its constant desire to improve the range and quality of services it offers to the local businesses and community as well as its reputation. Wollens is very well sized – large enough to offer the full range of services, but not so large that the personal touch is lost.
In which areas do you specialise?
All forms of business dispute, including:
- Contractual disputes
- Partnership and shareholder disputes
- Intellectual property disputes
- Professional negligence
- Construction and building disputes
A broad range of employment advice including:
- Settlement agreements
- Unfair dismissal
- Discrimination claims
- Grievance and disciplinary procedures
- Employment contract and policy drafting
What are your ambitions?
As a Wollens partner, my ambition is to play a full role in further broadening the range of specialist dispute resolution and employment services that we provide to clients across the region. Our team is currently strong, but I would like us to be the firm of choice for businesses and individuals in the region who are unfortunate enough to find themselves in dispute.
What do you love most about your job?
The variety of disputes and situations in which we can help. I have come across factually similar disputes, but the personalities and objectives of those involved means that every dispute is different and requires a slightly different approach to resolve.
What do you dislike most about your job?
It comes with the territory to a degree, but for clients disputes are inevitably stressful. As we care, we shoulder that burden to a degree and at times it’s difficult to ‘switch off’.
What would be your message to anybody coming into the legal profession?
Think carefully about the type of firm in which you wish to forge your career and the life that you want to lead, so that you are happy at work and in life!
What would be your Top Tip to anybody coming into the legal profession?
Be flexible and open about your future practice – very many lawyers end up specialising very happily in areas they hadn’t considered at the outset of their careers.
Why life in South Devon/Devon?
It’s a fantastic place for families to live and work, combining a vibrant and growing business community with all the delights of Devon, from sailing to surfing, to walking and camping and everything in between.
Contact Simon Bean