Friday, 21 September 2018

Meet the Lawyer - Matthew Brewer



I am a Property Solicitor based in our Marlborough office having joined Awdry Bailey & Douglas in 2014. I am originally from Chippenham but now live in Wanborough with my partner and our dog, Bertie.


I am based in the firm’s Residential Property Department and I have particular experience in complex and high value Residential Property matters. I regularly deal with the purchase of new build properties, retirement developments and I also act for many local investors looking to expand their property portfolios. As well as working locally, I also have a strong following of London based clients. 


After obtaining a Law Degree from Portsmouth University, I initially undertook a work experience placement in the summer of 2014 with ABD in order to obtain hands on experience into the workings of a busy legal practice. I was then offered a role in the firm’s busy Accounts department as well as working with the firm’s Private Client department. Having always been interested in Property and wanting to be a Solicitor, it was not long before I started studying my Legal Practice Course part-time whilst working full-time in the firm’s Devizes Conveyancing Team. I shortly  thereafter relocated to the Marlborough Office and continued my part-time studies at the same time of undertaking a Training Contract to qualify as a Solicitor. In August 2017, I qualified as a Solicitor and I am now looking forward to progressing further with my career.


Diligent, Proactive, Approachable, Positive and Efficient.


Qualifying as a Solicitor has to be the stand out highlight in my career so far. After studying and working hard for over 7 years, the achievement of qualification makes this all worth the effort. I also receive a great deal of satisfaction from seeing individual property transactions complete and being a part of my clients journey, whether this is purchasing their first home or downsizing into retirement accommodation.


Many of my senior colleagues inspire me on a daily basis. Watching and learning from those who have been in my shoes already is a huge benefit and inspires me to be successful.


I am a huge sports fan and a keen follower of Newcastle United, although this can be painful at the best of times!! When possible, I also try to lower my golf handicap to mixed success and I am keen skier. My weekends are usually enjoyed going on long walks with my partner and our dog and I can often be found sampling an alcoholic beverage in a local pub.

Monday, 10 September 2018

Influence And Empower Your Team - SEMINAR

There is a worldwide employee disengagement crisis

A good employee can be your businesses greatest asset, but a poor performing one will cost you time and money. This seemingly silent profit killer is growing amongst disenfranchised employees and it could be happening right under your nose.

Your employees might be showing up for work, but if they are checked-out and unenthusiastic then their loss of passion and commitment is costing you money. They might be putting in time but if they are sleepwalking, their lack of productivity will be undermining the good work that your engaged employees are putting in and lowering morale.

As a business owner we know your time is precious. That’s why the experts have been called in.  Join Awdry Bailey & Douglas’ expert Employment Lawyer Rachel Fereday alongside ActionCOACH Peter Rolliston on Tuesday 25th September from 9.30 - 1.00pm at Guyers House in Corsham where they will take business owners and managers through the right steps to influence and empower their teams to get the most out of them.

Click here to register to join the seminar.

During this insightful event our qualified expert speakers will be covering:

How to protect your business against rising tribunal claims
HR documentation and how often should I be updating it
How to reduce sickness and absence
Top tips for managing disciplinary and grievance situations
Why employee engagement is vital for every successful business
Creating a highly engaged working culture.
Engage your team and grow

Following the event you can enjoy a complimentary lunch with other regional business leaders and our team will be on hand to answer any questions you have.

Find out more about Rachel Fereday and her team at ABD here.

Friday, 7 September 2018

Meet the Lawyer - Tim Hotchkiss



I am an Equity Partner of ABD based at and managing the firm’s Marlborough office.  I live in a village just outside of Marlborough with my wife and our baby son, who at the time of writing is 4 months old. 


I am based in the firm’s Commercial Department and have particular expertise in Development, Commercial Property and Agricultural Property as well as specialising in complex and high value Residential Property matters and Company Law.  I act for a wide range of clients locally and further afield, with a particularly strong portfolio of London property work. 


I started my career at ABD in September 2004 having deferred my place at the University of Nottingham where I was intending to study English.  Having always been interested in the legal profession, I felt that one year of work experience in a law firm would give me a solid foundation for potentially entering into a career in the legal profession once I had completed my academic studies.  

It was not long before I started researching other routes to qualification as a lawyer and I took the decision to enrol with the ILEX Tutorial College with a view to becoming a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives (FILEX).  After completing academic studies stretching over a 5 year period, I qualified as one of the youngest legal executives in the country during my mid-20s.  I was particularly proud of this achievement having undertaken a programme of part-time studies whilst running a full caseload in ABD’s Litigation Department.

I quickly decided to investigate the route to progressing to qualify as a solicitor.  I was advised that I had to undertake the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) in order to sit the Legal Practice Course (LPC).  I enrolled on the part-time GDL at the Leicester Institute of Legal Practice and completed the course with a Distinction. This enabled me to then enrol on the two year part-time LPC, again at the Leicester Institute of Legal Practice.  Having undertaken academic studies in law over a period of approximately 8 years, I was relieved to conclude the LPC and was delighted to be awarded a Distinction.  I qualified as a solicitor shortly after completion of the LPC. 

I became a Salaried Partner of ABD in 2016 and an Equity Partner in 2017.  


Logical – I am a firm believer in seeking to keep issues as simple as possible and always strive to provide clear advice to clients combined with sound reasoning. 

Efficient – I pride myself on providing an efficient service to all of my clients and have a strong team around me to ensure that such standards of service are always maintained. 

Diligent – ABD always seeks to recruit lawyers that are attentive, offer an excellent client service and have a constant drive to achieve our clients’ aims.  I am no different and firmly believe in this objective. 

Professional – There is no doubt that the law has changed over the years and that many of my clients prefer a more relaxed approach from their solicitor than perhaps once was the case.  That said, one must never forget the overriding duty of professionalism which is displayed by me and every other lawyer at ABD.

Tenacious – The transactions that I work on are often complex and there is always a danger of negotiations becoming protracted.  There is a certain tenacity in my approach to such transactions that clients would recognise, and which I believe is an important asset in getting a deal done. 


As my colleagues will testify, I love my job and have had many career highlights to date.  Attending the Court of Appeal with Counsel on a case concerning the fiduciary duty of directors to avoid conflicts of interest is certainly up there in terms of my early experience. In recent times, I have derived particular satisfaction in dealing with a significant number of multi-million pound acquisitions of properties and development sites for well known developers and property investors both locally and further afield.  I am also particularly proud of the strong connection that I have forged with a number of property finance brokers based in and around London giving me access to a wide range of clients and contacts nationwide. 


I thoroughly enjoy being involved in deal-making and achieving the best possible result from my clients.  It is particularly satisfying to be involved in complex transactions from their infancy and seeing them through to a successful conclusion.  This is certainly where I derive my inspiration from. 


I am a keen golfer and am always striving to lower my handicap (often unsuccessfully).  I also enjoy walking, particularly along some of the glorious South West Coast Path routes, cycling, and travelling to far flung destinations, although such adventures may have to be curtailed for the time being with a baby son now on board.  I enjoy watching most sports and am an avid Liverpool Football Club fan as well as a follower of Bath Rugby. 

Friday, 31 August 2018

Meet the Lawyer - Frances Nash

Tell us a bit about yourself?

I am an Associate Lawyer, employed by ABD for 11 ½ years.  I live locally with my husband and two teenage daughters.

What area of law do you work in?

Family Law.

Tell us about your journey to the law?

Studying 'A' Level law sparked my interest in the subject and I started my career studying to become a Legal Executive with Bevan Ashford Solicitors in Bristol for a few years, before returning to full time study and gaining a Law degree from the University of Leicester.  I then worked for Shoosmiths and Tollers Solicitors, both in the East Midlands and then returned to live in Wiltshire and commenced employment with ABD, when my children were young.  I initially practiced Civil Litigation, transferring to Family Law six years ago.  

What are 5 words a client would use to describe you?

Approachable, understanding, knowledgeable, helpful & pragmatic.

What would you say has been your career highlight to date?

I don't have an individual highlight, but always get a buzz when a family matter resolves.  

What / who inspires you?

My colleagues in the Family Law team, my husband and my children.

What do you enjoy to do outside of work?

I have always enjoyed music and learnt to play the piano when I was younger.  I regularly go to music concerts, gigs and festivals.  I'm also a keen sports fan and follow cricket and football in particular, (although supporting Swindon Town FC can be challenging)!  I started yoga this year, which I really enjoy and find that it helps both body & mind.

Tuesday, 28 August 2018

It's nearly time... The Wolf Run 2018

It's nearly time...

After months of hard work and training, the 1st September is getting ever closer and the Awdry Bailey & Douglas team are ready for the challenge. The hardcore 10K Wolf Run is taking place in ancient woodland trails and deep water crossings in the Midlands. There will be high climbing nets, log walls and the famously fast landslide! Made up of both man-made and natural obstacles, the ABD team will have to run, climb, jump, wade, crawl and swim through the course which is designed to challenge mental and physical strength and skill.

We are delighted to be raising funds for the fantastic Starlight Children's Foundation who support seriously and terminally ill children all over the country during their time in hospital and hospices. We have reached an impressive £615.00 so far, but would love to raise more. Please head to our JUST GIVING page and give what you can to hep this incredibly worthy cause. 

For some further details about the Starlight charity please read on:

Starlight aim to distract children from the pain, fear and isolation they may feel during their time in hospitals and hospices through support, boost boxes full of toys and games to distract them, and organised hospital pantomimes and plays. 

Starlight say that a little fun and distraction can go a long way and help brighten even the darkest days, and one of our members of staff Madison found this completely true when her daughter was supported through her illnesses:

"Starlight were absolutely incredible when my daughter was seriously ill in hospital and for all her out patient visits. I honestly don't think she would have come out of it as well as she has had it not been for Starlight. They got her through every procedure that she was awake for and provided her with such amazing play therapy in between. They're amazing!" 

We want to fundraise for Starlight so that they can keep providing this invaluable helping hand to ill children to make sure that childhood continues inside the hospital and children aren't left feeling anxious and alone at these difficult times. Please do visit our JUST GIVING page and donate anything you can. We are truly grateful.

Friday, 24 August 2018

A Quick Guide to Prenups

What is a prenup?
A prenup is a document which a couple sign, before they get married, to set out what the financial settlement would look like if they got divorced and to "ring-fence" any assets that one or both of them is bringing to the marriage, or that they may inherit during the marriage.
Ideally it is quite a flexible document; a prenup may deal with what would be the impact on the financial settlement of children being born to the couple and one of them giving up work, of one of them falling ill and not being able to work, or of a short, medium or long marriage. 
Even if you don't have a huge amount of money, should you still get one?
The benefit of having a prenup is that it gives certainty and minimises the risk of an expensive fight if Divorce happens. Couples have autonomy to decide how they wish to split their assets, rather than leaving everything to chance. 
For instance, a rental property may be owned by one person, often looked upon as their “pension” for later life. There may be limited equity in that property, but it provides a good source of income. If Divorce occurs, that property may well be sold and any equity split equally. What then for retirement? Savings and other investments received perhaps through an inheritance, may end up having a similar fate.     
What should you do if your partner asks you to sign one?
Talk through the reasons why your partner feels it is appropriate.  Take proper advice from a specialist family lawyer so that your “head rules your heart” and you know your rights. Don't be afraid to ask for a fair deal, taking into account your needs both now and in the future. Understandably this can seem like a daunting task - most people are busy putting the finishing touches to their special day and don't want to be spending time discussing a prenup!
Very often, marriages that don’t stand the test of time, involve an element of financial mistrust and disagreement. A lack of financial transparency between a couple, or misconceptions over how assets might be treated can lead to resentment and unhappiness. Talking through financial aspects before you tie the knot, is a good opportunity to go into your marriage with open eyes about what the financial picture is and what it would look like in the event you might get divorced. If your partner is driving the request for a prenup, then your lawyer will be there to advise and protect you.

How do you get a prenup?
A prenup in England & Wales (note there are different requirements in Scotland) is a sophisticated document and specialist advice is needed to make sure it is tailored to your family requirements. 
It is very important that:
- it is signed at least 28 days (and usually no more than 12 months) before the wedding;
- there is full and frank disclosure on both sides of the finances;
- you both have independent legal advice;
- its terms are fair; hence time must be taken to think about what would be the impact of future life events and the length of the marriage. 
They can take a few weeks to negotiate, depending on complexity and the negotiating positions taken, so if you are the one pressing for a prenup you are sensible to start the process at least 4-5 months before your wedding date. 
How much do they cost?
Costs will vary significantly, though a properly drawn up prenup is likely to cost from about a thousand pounds. A more complex prenup, involving substantial assets, perhaps trust funds & settlements, tax issues and foreign properties may cost more.  
This may sound like a lot of money, indeed it is.  However, how does the cost compare to the amount being spent on your wedding? Also, how does this compare to the cost of working out a divorce financial settlement if it all goes wrong? The price of protection is often only a fraction of these costs. If a couple end up divorcing without a prenup and needed to go to Court to sort out their financial settlement, then the costs of doing so may be tens of thousands of pounds. A prenup is an insurance policy against that sort of eventuality, because you are very significantly narrowing the scope for future claims. 
Can you sign a prenup after you are married?
Yes; this is called a "postnup". Sometimes couples have a postnup because they start prenup negotiations too late and miss the boat; sometimes it is because one of them is unexpectedly coming into money, perhaps an inheritance or a lifetime gift from a relative. Either way, postnups have the same legal standing if they are properly entered into. However, there is nothing that quite focuses the mind like a wedding date on the horizon! In my experience, it’s far better to get the issue resolved before you tie the knot!

At Awdry Bailey & Douglas we can help you prepare a prenuptial agreement that can stand the test of time. 

Contact Peter Berry on  01672 518620, or via email on where he will be happy to offer a free until consultation or or visit our dedicated Family Law pages on our website.

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Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Join us...

Are you are a positive and determined person with a genuine interest in providing great client service? If you are, then you would fit in well at Awdry Bailey & Douglas.

Attitude and character are the most important things.  At ABD we value knowledge and experience and of course they play a central role in providing great client service and in your career development, but your overall approach to life, work and the ability to build strong business relationships with clients, contacts and colleagues will really determine how successful you are.  

We currently have a number of legal, secretarial and support staff positions available:

Conveyancing Fee Earners

We are looking for friendly, proactive fee earners and paralegals who have an interest in providing excellent client service to join our Award Winning Residential Conveyancing Department. The position is open in our offices throughout Wiltshire, in Devizes, Chippenham, Royal Wootton Bassett and Marlborough.

To find out more click here.

Legal Secretarial Positions 

Our Award Winning Residential Conveyancing Department is seeking full time or part time Legal Secretaries who are friendly, enthusiastic and proactive to assist in the continued development of the department. The position is open throughout our office in Devizes, Royal Wootton Bassett,  Marlborough and Chippenham.

To find out more click here.

Apprentice Receptionist / Administrator

We are seeking an enthusiastic individual to start a Legal Receptionist / Administrator apprentice programme based at our offices in Devizes. The successful candidate will be self-motivated and relish the opportunity to learn and develop receptionist/administrator skills working closely with the Practice Manager.

To find out more click here

We are a modern and progressive law firm and we are committed to making ABD a great place to work. Our aim is to ensure that this is a positive, supportive and forward looking environment.

If you are interested in any of these positions then please forward your CV and covering letter to David Turley at or call 01380 722311.