It’s good to talk – says solicitor and mediator Samantha Lowe
SOLICITOR and mediator Samantha Lowe has launched an innovative legal service in one of Middlesbrough’s most historic buildings but is taking a modern approach to offering her expertise in the North-East and nationally.
She graduated from University of Northumbria at Newcastle with First Class Honours in LLB Law with French Law before joining top 100 law firm Ward Hadaway where she worked for nine years.
Forget the fuddy duddy image of a lawyer in a grey suit spouting legalese with one eye on the clock – Samantha epitomises a new breed who want to be in charge of their own future and be able to provide a better, more personal service for their clients.
As well as continuing to practice as a litigator she is now using her skills to focus on mediation and conflict resolution – crucial services that she believes are not widely offered in the region.
She has started own business based at Acklam Hall in Middlesbrough, the town’s only Grade I Listed building which re-opened last year after a painstaking £4 million restoration.
“Specialist commercial mediators in the region are lacking – specialist, dynamic, female, commercial mediators even more so,” she said.
“This is not a retirement plan for me, it is how I see my career developing. As a lawyer I’ve represented clients in many mediations and often thought what would I do if I was mediating this case, how could I do things differently?”
After achieving CEDR (Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution) accreditation to become a qualified mediator, she is launching her mediation business Concentus specifically focusing on offering mediation services for commercial litigation, contested probate, trusts and estates.
“As a litigator I have a steely edge but as a person I have a great ability to empathise and listen, I’m patient and I know when it’s right to push on for an outcome and when it’s best to give both parties time to get a breath of fresh air and clear their heads. Something that is necessary in disputes, especially those involving inheritance and high-flying emotions.
“I want to focus on something not readily available in the region. I am keen to emphasise that people don’t have to instruct mediators from London or Leeds for this expert service, the talent is here in the region. I want to provide an affordable specialist service and develop ways of mediating using technology,” explained Samantha, 33, who lives with her husband and daughter in Yarm.
“Acklam Hall offers something different to your typical mediation venue, which is comfort and the ability to take time to reflect. I can also host seminars here promoting mediation as an alternative form of dispute resolution.”
“I want to put the North-East on the map for commercial mediation services, I want to become a hub for clients from Newcastle to Leeds – Acklam Hall has great transport links and neutral territory but it’s also sophisticated and very welcoming without being at all intimidating – something other venues just aren’t, corporate venues can scare lay clients which sometimes doesn’t get a mediation off to a good start.”
“Mediation isn’t just about money, it is about relationships – some people are willing to shake hands at the end of a successful session while for others there’s a lot of hurt and upset.
“Mediation is a massive cost saving exercise both financially and emotionally,” Samantha added. “It allows closure much earlier on in proceedings, it can avoid court hearings and prevents clients from having to get bogged down in too much detail and costs.
“It allows them to take control of the outcome and try to mould a solution themselves, to try to find a resolution that satisfies both parties, something that allows them to move on.”
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