Getting to know charities and education partner Samantha Pritchard
What were your career ambitions growing up?
As a child, I wanted to be the world's first female pilot until someone pointed out I was decades too late.
Growing up, I never considered being a lawyer. I thought it involved knowing Latin and arguing in a wig in court. But in my early twenties, I was living in rural Japan, and a friend said she thought law might suit me. When I looked into it, I realised she might be right. When I later learned about charity law, something just clicked, and I knew this was where I wanted to specialise.
Tell us about your current role and what do you most enjoy?
I am a partner in the charities team at Muckle LLP and responsible for leading the firm's offering to the charity sector. I also work across our education and community sports practices.
I most enjoy feeling I’m contributing to our clients' impact on the lives of the people they support. I love getting to know what clients are doing and how I can support the breadth of their legal needs in a way that helps them achieve their mission.
What is your proudest business achievement?
I was very proud to work with a great team on the transfer of Newcastle's parks and allotments from the Council to a new charity. I got a lot of satisfaction from being able to contribute my expertise to a project that preserved open spaces for local people for decades to come. It also resulted in a nomination for a Financial Times European Innovative Lawyers Award, competing against billion-dollar cross-jurisdictional finance deals, which was pretty mind-blowing.
How has your industry evolved in the last decade, and what changes do you see in the next decade?
At its heart, law is a people profession. We've seen concerted efforts over the last decade to attract talented people from a broader range of backgrounds into the profession. We still have a considerable way to go to make the sector more inclusive and break down barriers that many face in thinking the law isn’t for them. At Muckle, we’ve been offering solicitor apprenticeships since 2016 and other routes to qualification, but there’s always more that we can and should be doing.
In the next decade, I believe law firms will focus not just on what they do but how they do it, and I think the next generation will expect this from us. Whether that's through environmentally sustainable business practices, driving value for money through technology and innovation, or taking socially responsible decisions which reflect a firm’s values rather than focussing on “bigger is better”. I truly feel that at Muckle, we're a step ahead of the curve on this, making it a refreshing place to work.
What are you currently working on?
I’m working on some key projects at the minute that will deliver fantastic outcomes for clients. One will deliver an increased income stream for our clients to spend on their charitable purpose. One will allow our clients to take on a new business area to support their beneficiaries better. The other involves our client working collaboratively with a trusted partner to design and deliver a project that will bring new skills to the region.
Tell us about the team you work with?
I work with a wonderful team of people who are passionate about the charity and not-for-profit sector. They range from fellow partners and a senior associate to trainees, a paralegal and a solicitor apprentice. The breadth of the team allows us to deliver the cost-effective service our charity clients expect without compromising on the quality of advice. We’ve exciting plans for the future, and I look forward to working with the team to deliver them!
What is the best piece of business advice you have been given?
Never be complacent.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
The work is never done! So I’d hope to continue growing and developing Muckle’s offering to charities and not-for-profits to provide the legal support they want and need across this region and beyond.
Who would be your 4 ideal dinner guests, alive or dead?
My husband and our three closest friends. Having time with friends and family is hugely important to me.
How do you unwind outside of work?
Ambling along the Northeast’s amazing coastline, camping with the family, good food with friends and dog walks.
Favourite book and boxset?
My favourite boxset is Schitt’s Creek. It is even better the second time around.
My favourite book is difficult to pin down, but the Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver left a lasting impression on me.
For legal advice around charities and education law, you can contact Samantha Pritchard at 0191 211 7905 or [email protected]