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Dorcas Crawford, Senior Partner

What’s your normal role in Edwards & Co.?
I’m the Senior Partner which means a lot of my time is spent managing the firm, leading the strategic planning and business development, and sometimes unblocking the toilet!
I am also a mediator and run a specialist conflict management service within the firm called The Better Way. I mediate all kinds of disputes and facilitate training in conflict management, specialising in working with senior executive leaders and their teams.

Have you been able to keep working through lockdown?
Absolutely. I’m delighted to say Edwards & Co. is still fully functional in terms of our services and our clients’ needs and that takes a bit of extra managing with the challenges of working remotely.
Thanks to our brilliant team of lawyers and support staff we’ve been able to keep the show on the road and I’m really proud of that.
I couldn’t have survived the management challenges without our practice manager, David, McClurg and Finance manager Sean Kelly, who have worked all hours to manage the financial challenges that lockdown has brought.

How is your work different now?
The management side of things has been challenging – Edwards & Co. is an extremely sociable place where people interact constantly, so I’ve had to find ways of keeping that connection and sustaining our very strong culture which makes the firm tick. We have some of our support staff on furlough, so it’s important for them to keep in touch as well. I send an email to the whole team each morning first thing and we have a regular team meetings by Zoom as well as the whole team Zoom quiz and drinks every Friday, which has become a bit of a highlight of the week!
My conflict management work is continuing online and I’m really enjoying learning new skills, like online mediation. I’m about to launch my first Webinar on ‘Having Difficult Conversations’ – I’ve only ever delivered training in person before so this is a whole new challenge …

What is Edwards & Co. doing (in your area of work) to make sure clients are still looked after?
All our solicitors and some support staff are working full time, remotely, but at the outset we very quickly ensured everyone was equipped to provide the high quality service that our clients are used to. We immediately equipped our receptionist with the technology to work from home so Janine is still answering calls as usual in her, always cheery way, and calls are transferred to solicitors’ mobiles. The team has adapted really well to the changes to make sure our clients are well looked after.

What’s the hardest part about the current restrictions?
Not seeing colleagues and clients face to face. Online meetings and calls have been a real saving grace in terms of keeping business going, but it’s just not the same as sitting in a room with people. A huge part of my mediation and facilitation work is about building rapport and that’s definitely a challenge on a computer screen!

Are there any benefits?
The biggest benefit for me is the extra time I’ve gained from not spending almost an hour each way going to and coming from work. I’ve been working through the list of books that I’ve been meaning to read for about a year in the morning and then having a long walk in the evening – definitely beats sitting in traffic!

What do you miss most?
The craic in Edwards & Co. – if you’re under pressure or need a break, you never have far to go before you’re laughing. And all the lovely neighbours in Hill Street – sometimes it can take 10 or 15 minutes just to get next door to The Dark Horse or down to the end of the street to Est’d because you meet everyone from Willie Jack to Bill Harris, and catch up on all the local gossip. And then there’s Friday lunch in Muddler’s…

What are you looking forward to most when things get back to normal?
Real human contact – not through a computer screen! Seeing my son Callum who’s still in London, hugging my family (especially my elderly parents) and friends – and maybe even my colleagues!

 Contact Dorcas Crawford on: dorcas.crawford@edwardsandcompany.co.uk

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