Horwich Farrelly at 50: Claire Fox shares her #HFhighlight
This week, in the latest of our series celebrating the achievements of our people in our golden jubilee year, Motor & Casualty Partner, Claire Fox, looks back on her 22 years with the firm for her #HFhighlight.
Motor & Casualty Partner, Claire Fox
When did you start working at Horwich Farrelly?
Before joining the firm what was your most unusual job?
Not an unusual job but in the days before pound stores became fashionable there was a local chain where I grew up called Pinch A Pound. I worked in the store in Mitcham in south west London as a sales assistant when I was 14.
What does a typical day look like for you at Horwich Farrelly?
There are lots of aspects to my role. One day I could be dealing with file management and supervision, another I might be meeting clients, looking at contracts and operations, delivering training, meeting with our trainees or reviewing and implanting new processes in conjunction with other departments such as HR. As you can see there really is no typical day – it’s a varied role which keeps me busy.
This year I became chair of the firm’s Charity Committee where we’re looking to raise £15,000 for The Christie so I could also be looking at our fundraising plans. This weekend I’m taking part in a race with my colleague, Sarah, to the top of Manchester’s Beetham Tower for the charity. We’ve already raised more than £400 which is a great start for The Christie!
How has your career progressed since joining the firm?
I started in 1997 as a litigation executive, I was studying the law via the then ILEx (Institute of Legal Executives) route, qualified as a FiLex (Fellow of the institute) but then continued my studies to qualify as a solicitor.
It took me nine years of part-time study before I qualified. I then progressed to a Team Leader position, then Associate and now Partner. My roles have changed throughout my time here from fee earning to a purely operational role to then a hybrid one so there have been lots of changes in that time with lots of opportunity to learn and progress.
What has been the biggest highlight of your time at Horwich Farrelly?
In 1999 the firm celebrated its 30th anniversary so for a bit of fun a few of us decided to form a band, with me as a backing singer. We performed in front of a number of clients at the Victoria and Albert Hotel in Manchester; we had a Commitments-vibe to our repertoire and, I think, it went down very well. It was a nerve-wracking but enjoyable experience. Of course, the challenge is out there for this to be replicated in our golden jubilee year although I will happily be supporting from the sidelines.
Professionally qualifying as a solicitor and later becoming a Partner at Horwich Farrelly meant a lot to me. I didn’t go to university and if you had told me after I finished my A Levels that I would achieve this in the future I would never have believed it. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do at that stage of my life.
There is always a lot of pressure on kids to know what they want to do at quite a young age. If I’m honest I probably fell into this profession and it wasn’t until I did that I decided to do everything possible to progress, which included the decision to study further. It proves that whilst there is no rush, with hard work, determination, a positive attitude and a willingness to get involved in things that it is possible to achieve your goals. You do have to push yourself though; nothing is given to you without you working hard.
Claire is an actor having appeared in Hollyoaks (left) and Coronation Street (centre), and is also an avid Chelsea FC fan
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and outside interests?
I was born in Westminster and christened at the amazing Westminster Cathedral. I was raised south of the river in London, becoming an adopted northerner in my early 20s. I spent 15 years in Liverpool before moving to Manchester.
Whilst I love living in the north I do not forget my roots and am proud to call myself a Londoner. There will be lots of boos from those in my office but Chelsea FC is my club and being at the Champions League Final in 2012 in Munich was incredible and something I will never forget.
Outside of work I am an actor. It’s great to do a day or two filming either at the weekends or on my days off as it is so different from my everyday job. My weekly acting classes are amazing and it means I meet lots of different creative people.
Recently I had the absolute privilege to work on the institution that is Coronation Street. I will nervously be anticipating my scenes being aired on 4 March. I am also due to be in a production called The Barking Murders with Sheridan Smith and Stephen Merchant. I will be going to the read through soon where I will meet the cast so I am beyond excited for the experience.
My three kids are my proudest achievement of all, watching them develop is incredible. We are starting to have some conversations with the twins and just about understanding what they are saying, our youngest is not far off walking. The last two and a half years has been a whirlwind of change; in truth it is hard work juggling everything but the rewards are amazing. I feel lucky and extremely grateful to have them every day.
What makes working at Horwich Farrelly different from other firms?
There is a relaxed atmosphere whilst at the same time people do work incredibly hard. It is the people that make it for me – having been here for nearly 22 years I have seen a lot of people coming and going. Whilst the firm has inevitably had to change as we’ve grown bigger, the core ethos has remained the same. There is a real family feel throughout the firm and people really do have strong bonds with each other which is fantastic after all these years.
What advice would you give to others starting out in their career with the firm?
Understand what you want out of your working career and what you can bring to the table. Don’t expect things to come to you if you are not prepared to go out and work hard for it. Remember to build solid relationships across the business and, whether you are an equity partner or work in the post room, treat everyone with respect.
To see #HFhighlights from other Horwich Farrelly colleagues please click here.