How adapting to legislation brought family solicitors to Tunbridge Wells

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Managing Partner Neil Thomas

A LAW firm specialising in employment tribunals that faced a 90 per cent cut in clients due to government legislation decided to diversify and become a family solicitors in Tunbridge Wells.

Neill Thomas, managing partner of Thomas Mansfield, based on Mount Pleasant, says the firm started out based in London, providing legal advice for employers and employees.

“Everything was going well until 2014,” recalled Mr Thomas. “Then the government introduced a fee for employment tribunals of £1,250.”

While the legislation was later overturned by the Supreme Court in 2017, at the time, it had an immediate effect on Thomas Mansfield’s business.

“The introduction of it had more than the desired effect for the government in that in reduced the number of employment tribunals by 90 per cent so it had a major impact on us as a business,” said Mr Thomas.

The employment lawyer, who is originally from North Wales, says he got the idea to branch out into another law specialism because of living in Tunbridge Wells.

“I’ve always lived locally near to Tunbridge Wells and I always thought a family lawyers in the town would do very well,” he said.

He continued: “While there are some big law firms here, they seem to be everything to everybody and there wasn’t really a personal family law practice.

“So I decided to branch out into family law.”

He says he hired Kent family law specialist Susi Gillespie to head up the department in Tunbridge Wells and then they went about creating a website.

“I was advised to just add a family law page on to the firm’s existing website but that was advice I happily ignored and decided to create an entirely new website, and it has proved the right decision because we quickly became very busy in family law.”

The practice now has seven family lawyers, and Mr Thomas believes the success is down to their personable approach.

“Nobody wants to see a lawyer,” he admitted. “It is normally when you are going through a difficult time. They are stressed people. You have to empathise with clients, and I think we have become well known for this.”

The company has earned a five star rating on website, Trust Pilot with more than 170 reviews from satisfied clients.

And he says he also owes much of the success of the practice to its current location.

He said: “Being in the centre of Tunbridge Wells really helps. As does having a specific family law website. And it also helps having a really good local newspaper in the town like the Times.”

The solicitors now offers a complete family, employment and private client service to the people of Tunbridge Wells, helping local people deal with issues ranging from separation and divorce to unfair dismissal, wills and probate.


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