One of Wales’ leading law firms has made two key appointments to its senior team and has plans to welcome more staff in the autumn.
During lockdown, Harding Evans, a full service law firm which has offices in Cardiff and Newport, has recruited a new head of HR and facilities and an associate solicitor to help drive growth in its commercial property team, and has offered further positions to new staff members who will be joining the firm in September.
Milena Roberts, 38, has joined the firm to oversee its HR function and manage the operation and maintenance of its buildings. Milena graduated with a degree in Human Resources Management eight years ago while working full-time in the HR team for international recruitment company, Smart Solutions Recruitment Ltd, where she worked for 10 years.
Since starting her new role, Milena has had to help the firm navigate its way through all the complications of lockdown, including having to furlough staff in certain departments, ensure safe working practices for those essential workers who continued to come into the office each day, and implement new policies to support all those employees working from home.
As Milena explains, she had to hit the ground running when she joined the company.
“It’s certainly been an interesting start to a new job! Every day during lockdown has presented a new set of challenges but the team has been incredibly supportive and I’ve been really proud of the progress we’ve been able to make in implementing new policies and launching new staff initiatives, in spite of the difficult circumstances.
“Now that we are starting to see some sort of normality returning to the workplace, I am really looking forward to getting started on some of the strategic aspects of the role that I was originally brought in to do. We will clearly still have a lot of work to do to ensure staff feel comfortable as they return to work but we also have exciting plans to build on the fantastic culture that we have here at Harding Evans. Our plans for the rest of 2020 are to focus on employee wellbeing, talent management and staff engagement and I have lots of ideas that I am keen to implement as soon as possible.”
James Young, 41, who lives in Penarth, has joined Harding Evans as associate commercial property solicitor. Born in Cowbridge, James went on to study Law and French in Aberystwyth University before completing a Masters in International Business Law and IT Law. James has worked in the Cardiff legal sector for the last twelve years, specialising in commercial property. He has advised clients in a wide range of industries from telecommunications and housing associations to development finance and the licensed pub trade.
In his new role, James will work closely with the head of department, Mike Jenkins, supporting him with existing client work, while also focusing on attracting new commercial property clients to the firm.
James said he was looking forward to helping to grow the team.
“I was keen to join a recognised and respected law firm here in Wales but one where I would also have the freedom to carve out a role for myself and get involved in shaping the future of the team. I’ve been really impressed with what I’ve seen so far and can already tell there is great scope to build on the department’s success to date.
“I have to say that although I’ve started this new job in the middle of lockdown, it’s been very much business as usual. We’ve had a flurry of new commercial property instructions in the last week alone so that has kept me busy and I’m excited about getting to grips with my wider remit as more people start to return to the office in the coming months.”
Joy Phillips, chief executive at Harding Evans, said the recruitment of these two key staff members had come at an important time for the business.
“Lockdown has clearly presented all businesses with a variety of challenges and we are very grateful that Milena joined the team at such a crucial time, bringing with her a wealth of HR experience and expertise which has been invaluable to us.
“Despite all the uncertainty of recent months, our teams have worked incredibly hard throughout lockdown and the business remains in very healthy shape. Being able to progress with James’ appointment to develop the commercial property team shows the confidence that we as a senior management team have in our staff’s ability to emerge strongly from this crisis and continue to grow key areas of the business. We welcome both Milena and James to the team and are confident that they will both play an important role in Harding Evans’ future success.
“I am pleased that we have been able to continue with our recruitment plans during lockdown and look forward to welcoming more new employees in September to those teams where we are confident of future growth.”