‘We’re proud to have helped make Sintons the firm it is’
As Sintons celebrates its 125th anniversary, some of its team share their thoughts and experiences of being part of the firm and playing their role in its growth. From those who have been at Sintons for over 30 years to those who have joined more recently, here they discuss what makes the firm stand out in the competitive legal marketplace, while also being a great place to work.
“I have been at Sintons now for nearly 20 years and during that time I have progressed from trainee to partner level and more recently to head of our fast-growing NHS Healthcare team. Many of my clients have been with Sintons for years and grown with me and I think a large part of that is because we have built such strong and trusting relationships with them.
The firm has grown significantly since I first started working here – it has doubled in size. However, the same culture, values and traditions are still imbedded which means whilst the firm changed in size, it still embraces the supportive nurturing culture you only find at Sintons which cascades from the top down.
As I began life as a trainee at Sintons, it’s fantastic to be able to support others in progressing and achieving their goals. We have a strong team and great dynamic and that is evident to our young lawyers who bring with them a refreshing approach to the Sintons culture.”
“Starting my career, it was important to find a firm with local roots and a reputation for providing high quality training. The first-class levels of service Sintons provide is testament to the standard of training they deliver, and there was no question which firm I wanted my career to start in.
Sintons have always focused on ensuring that my development is put first and have laid the foundations for a successful career as a solicitor. Being a full service firm has given me the opportunity to experience all areas of law and has exposed me to a variety of high value and complex work. I look forward to what the future holds for me at Sintons.
Although the marketplace is competitive, Sintons longstanding history and their presence, both locally and nationally, will always place them at the forefront.”
Anne Smith, secretary
“I started at Sintons in 1986 and this year in November will have been here for 35 years.
I still remember my first day like it was yesterday. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and it is still like that today – almost like a second family to me.
“I have mainly worked in private client and worked for lots of fee earners and partners. In 2000 I started working for Steve Freeman who then went on to become a Partner and Head of the Private Client Department. I have now worked for him for 21 years this year and I can honestly say it has been a pleasure and an honour to work for such a lovely man – we have a great working relationship. I also work with the rest of the Family Department and work for such lovely fee earners.
I am also very proud to say that my daughter Emma also works for Sintons in the Conveyancing Department and she also loves her job and the team she works with.
I have seen many changes over the years but one thing remains constant – Sintons is a great place to work. I have made lifelong friends here and they will remain so.”
Emelie Vardon, solicitor
“Sintons’ heritage was very important to me when choosing to join Sintons. I came here as a trainee solicitor in 2017 and making the right choice for my future career was crucial. Knowing Sintons’ reputation and history, I couldn’t have made a better decision.
This is such a great place to work with a warm and welcoming environment. Following the completion of my training contract in 2019, I joined our developing Wills, Trusts and Estate Disputes team. Under Emma Saunders’ excellent leadership and support, my first year as a qualified solicitor has been excellent groundwork for my future career in this specialist area of law.
As a full-service law firm, I consider that Sintons is well-placed in the competitive market.”
“I joined Sintons as a trainee in September 1997. At the time the firm consisted of about 80-90 people. We were operating from an office in Portland Terrace in Jesmond, it was like a rabbit warren for a new starter as it was multiple old terraced houses converted and joined on different floors.
The main changes have been the massive growth in size and expertise, plus multiple office moves until finally landing at the Cube. When I qualified in 1999 myself and the partner at the time (Andrew Walker) were the Sintons commercial property department. Since then we have grown significantly.
Sintons has always been and remains a great place to work, we have an excellent team in Real Estate and will continue to succeed because of the efforts of our staff.”
Pippa Aitken, senior associate
“Sintons was much smaller when I joined in 1998. It was a friendly, family firm renowned for its reputation in private client and personal injury work. There was no dedicated corporate and commercial department.
“I was the only trainee and was sent on all sorts of weird and wonderful jobs – witnessing wills, attending infant settlements and the odd trip to the bank for the accounts department!
Sintons has become a lot more sophisticated in its working procedures and there is a much faster pace of life with emails being the most popular form of communication. I have seen some great lawyers leave and some great lawyers arrive but everyone soon seems to inherit the ‘old’ Sintons sense of fun, respect and teamwork.
Sintons is in a great place going forward. Virtual working has opened up some great opportunities to spread our wings and engage with clients even better than before.”
“The firm has almost doubled in size since I started in 2005. The range of services offered by the firm has expanded quite significantly since then too, making the firm much more attractive to commercial clients.
When I first came to Sintons, I headed up the department with Lucy Winskell (now chair of NELEP and Pro Vice-Chancellor of Northumbria University). Since her departure I have headed it up myself. In spite of that, the department has grown in its client base and the amount of work we deal with on an annual basis.
With the growth in size and services we continue to see, I think Sintons are very well placed in the market to take advantage of opportunities going forward.”
Astrid Stevenson, secretary
“I joined Sintons on 21 October, 1997, and will have been here for 25 years this year.
I think when I started there were only about 80 people working at Sintons. We were based in Portland Terrace then moved to Osborne Terrace. We didn’t have open plan working like we have now, we had little rooms with approximately 3 secretaries in each room. I shared a room with Anne Smith from the first day I arrived and we have been firm friends ever since. Fee earners all had their own office. Basically, it was like a rabbit warren.
The staffing levels were very much smaller then, as I say about 80 staff then and now we have more than double that number. The computer system (Word Perfect 5.1) and equipment were top of the range for the time, and I think that has carried on until this day, our IT department have the latest of everything and are basically top notch.
Since I started 25 years ago, the firm has changed and has always moved forward with the times. When I started there were no female partners. Hilary Parker and Karen Simms became the first, which was a very welcome breakthrough for Sintons.
We were like one big happy family with lots of social events, which thankfully still happen to this day, keeping the ethos of Sintons going.
I think if I didn’t enjoy working here I wouldn’t be celebrating my 25th years this year at Sintons. I’ve worked for the head of dispute resolution Angus Ashman for 24 of those years, and I think we work well together because we work as a team.
This is a very nice place to work, the people are all friendly and If anyone needs help with anything there is always someone there to help. I always think we are only as good as the tools we work with and I must say Sintons do provide all the best equipment and people and it makes the job so much easier if you have things like that in place.”