Who is Colette Kerr?
I invited Colette Kerr for an interview on my blog as I was impressed by her professionalism solving complex issues for her clients and the amount of care she puts in helping them as their solicitor in Scotland.
Colette was born and raised in the South side of Glasgow and has lived there all her life with the exception of 1 year spent in the wonderful city of Paris teaching English. She has been working since the age of 14 years as she realised the importance of being financially independent. That work ethic has driven her throughout her career.
A solicitor in private practice for 30 years, the latter 12 years she has devoted almost exclusively to family law. She particularly enjoys helping clients to find a way out of a difficult relationship or resolve issues surrounding the care of their children. She listens, supports and advises them to find the best possible solution for their needs.
She loves music and languages. When she eventually reduces her hours at work, she would like to learn another language and resume playing the piano which sadly she gave up many years ago.
What services do you offer, to whom and in which geographical area?
At Oracle law, we offer a range of services including family law, domestic and commercial conveyancing as well as wills and powers of attorney. I primarily deal with family law advice, I assist couples (including same sex couples) who are separating or divorcing, or have disputes with regards to children. Oracle Law also provides general business services or small business support, such as reviewing terms of business or assisting with contractual issues. We have an office in Clarkston, which services the local community in the Southside of Glasgow. We opened up a second office in Bishopbriggs earlier this year, which assists clients in the north side of the city. Geography of clients is however not a bar to instructing us as we have clients from all over Scotland including Shetland.
What was the inspiration behind your company?
My husband, John, established the company in 2007. I joined him in 2010 after having been made redundant from my previous firm. We’re different from other solicitor practices insofar as, although we’re a small business, we have a lot of in-house expertise. We’ve been solicitors for over 30 years and offer the same range of services as a larger practice.
We are also part of the community and are approachable: people sometimes pop into the office for general advice. You then find that they recommend our services to their contacts, friends and family. We are quite a community minded firm as well as being a commercially minded firm. I think people’s traditional concept of a solicitor’s firm can be a negative one. They don’t feel comfortable instructing a solicitor, they don’t feel solicitors are approachable. However, many of our clients tell us that they feel so much better after having consulted us. This is the best feedback you can receive from clients. We pride ourselves on being straightforward and clear as well as being friendly and down to earth.
Buying or selling a property, especially in the current market, can be a stressful process especially when there are not so many properties on the market. And so, when a property goes on the market, there are maybe over 10 offers to purchase that property. Clients require to be mindful of the level of interest, but with an eye to their budget, and securing a mortgage. It’s especially challenging with the current cost of living crisis and the increase in interest rates. It’s a tough time for families or for anyone seeking to purchase a property especially for first time buyers or young couples wanting to get on the property ladder. It’s not easy at all for them, that’s why it’s important to instruct an experienced solicitor who can guide them through the process.
If you had to name the values which guide you as a person, which would they be?
Honesty, integrity and respect.
What did you learn from living in Paris for a year?
I would have to say independence. I moved to France when I was 22, not so young. But I had never lived anywhere else. I still lived at home in Glasgow with my parents and studied at Strathclyde University. I’d studied law for four years, with French and Spanish, and I enjoyed it. I became quite burned out however as all I had ever done was study, study, study and take exam after exam. I needed a break. That’s why I went to France. I applied to be an English language assistant and secured a post in a large secondary school in Paris. Arriving in Paris as a 22-year old who had never left Glasgow was daunting. My job didn’t start for 6 weeks after my arrival. I was renting a room in a flat. I didn’t know anyone so I would wander about Paris or take the bus from one side of the city to the other. I was very homesick. I used to phone home on a Sunday from the phone box at the end of the road (no mobile phones then!) and cry. But then once I started my job, I started to meet people and then never looked back. I managed to rent a flat. I grew up, became more independent, more resilient. It definitely helped as preparation for the next step in my career as a solicitor
Have you done any volunteer work? How did this experience prepare you for/complement your current job?
We provide non remunerative advice to clients who contact us for general advice or who call into the office for advice.
When was the last time that you were touched by a client’s reaction?
One case that is very memorable was a step parent adoption. I prepared the case and submitted the papers to court. A hearing in court took place when the judge granted the adoption order. The children were in court as well as the natural mother and her husband, who wasn’t the father of these children, but who treated them as his own. The adoption process, legalised or legitimised formally his role as their father. It was lovely because it was a very emotional hearing. It was very rewarding to be entrusted to facilitate that adoption process and help make a difference to their lives.
Who would you like to connect with to grow your business?
I would like to connect with other solicitors, estate agents, housebuilders and property developers.
If you enjoyed Colette Kerr‘s interview, you will probably like Dave Rindl‘s as well!
This interview was conducted by Lucie Cunningham from Tell Them Well Communications in January 2023. Lucie is a freelance Lucie is a freelance CV writer and web copywriter in Glasgow with over 10 years of community project management. She created and maintains a list of UK charities that serve women and or girls. She has lived in France, England, The USA, the Netherlands and is currently based in Scotland.