New venture for Club Director, Charlotte LeyshonDate Posted: 29 January 2018
The start of the new year is often a time when many of us resolve to make a change, whether in our careers or personal lives. For one Club director, her resolution was to launch her own Legal practice.
Former Head of the Family Department at Hugh James Solicitors, Charlotte Leyshon has set up her own boutique Law firm, Lux Family Law. Here she shares her story of her decision to go it alone, the variations in the legal landscape in Wales compared to London where she spent most of her early career and her hopes for the Club over the coming years.
Making the right connections
Charlotte’s career to date has seen her work on several high-profile family law cases both in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court. She started working in Family Law as a trainee in 2002 and one of her earlier cases was that of Oasis star Noel Gallagher’s divorce from Meg Mathews.
“How law is practised here in Wales is very different to the likes of London. Returning to Cardiff in 2013 has been something of a learning curve, in terms of understanding how the local market works, how work is generated and how practitioners practice here too.”
Since returning to Wales, Charlotte has had to work hard to forge a new network of contacts within the Cardiff and wider south Wales legal and business communities. She said: “I have seen at first hand the benefit of attending key networking events such as those run by Cardiff Business Club. This is where Cardiff outperforms London.
“Because of its size, being seen at the right events in Cardiff is an incredibly effective way to raise your personal profile and ultimately generate new business,” she added.
Charlotte first attended Cardiff Business Club at the end of the 2014/15 season, when the US Ambassador Matthew Barzun was the guest speaker – an event she describes as having made an immediate impact on her.
She said: “I could see the benefit of the Club straight away. I met and connected with various people who I have since established some very good relationships with.
“But the key to making the Club ‘work’ for you is that you do need to be proactive. If you just attend to listen to the speakers, enjoy the dinner and then go home that is absolutely fine.
“However, if your aim is to make it work for you in terms of making potential business connections and expanding your personal network, it can and will help you to do just that.
Over the last couple of years, Charlotte says there has been a noticeable and positive shift in the demographic make-up of the Club.
“When I first attended Club events it did seem to be male-dominated and populated by those at the senior stage of their career. That has certainly become less so and there have been a greater number of younger people and women attending over the last couple of years.” It is this latter point that Charlotte is keen to see grow.
On her new venture
“I practiced in a boutique family law firm for many years in London and have always felt that family law is a service that is best offered in a niche firm geared around the specific needs of family law clients.
“Often in a big firm, the family law offering can be viewed as an add on service or the poor relation of the firm to the corporate or property type work.
“I wanted to create a truly niche and bespoke family law offering and for me to be able to have the autonomy to create my vision I had to do that on my own. So, I guess it was a decision driven by necessity for me to be able to produce the offering I wanted.
Taking advantage of the contacts she had made from her time with the Club she decided now was the time to start her own firm and provide her services to a niche market that had not been properly represented, she said:
“I have felt for a long time that there is a gap in the market for a truly high net worth private client type family law offering in Cardiff.
“I felt that the time was right in that I was able to generate my own case load and had built up enough of a referral network to be able to go it alone. Or at least I hoped I had! Thankfully I was right and since the launch of Lux I have been very busy indeed!”
After the launch of Lux on ‘Divorce Day’, January 8th 2018, business has gone very well for Charlotte, which she puts down to her friends, the planning and work she put in before officially opening Lux’s door.
“I took six months to carefully plan and prepare my business, the offering and the launch itself. I wasn’t in a rush to launch it the Monday after I had finished at Hugh James. I wanted everything to look and feel just right. I also knew that there was a good “angle” for launching the firm on ‘Divorce Day’.
“I have been very fortunate and had some amazing support and help from several people who advised and helped me from the planning stage right through to the launch.
“One of my favourite things about business in Wales (and what separates it from London) is that there is a huge desire to help and support people trying something brave or going on their own. I feel very lucky indeed.”
“We’re now looking to have more of our people from across the business, at all levels, to come along and make connections of their own; such is the value that we as a business see in our association with the Club
“The Club has shown me that there is so much great business here in Cardiff.”