A one-person law firm celebrates 20 years of activity

A FAMILY law firm in Henley is celebrating its 20th anniversary.

Blores in Hart Street is run by Siân Blore, who decided to branch out so she could spend more time with her family instead of commuting to work.

She started the business in a bedroom in her Friday Street home where she lives with her husband Paul Stott, who is also a lawyer.

The couple moved to Henley after falling in love with the town after attending the Royal Regatta more than 35 years ago.

Mr Stott had been offered a job with Mercers Solicitors while Ms Blore was a partner at Farrer & Co in London.

After Ms Blore had their first two children, Freddie, now 28, and Harry, 26, she moved to Blandy & Blandy in Reading to be closer to home.

After having two more children, Charlie, 22, and Lily, 17, she decided to go it alone.

Ms Blore said: ‘When I was a partner at Farrer & Co it was really difficult with two children.

“I commuted to London every day and didn’t get home until 8pm. There was very little part-time work I could do, so I decided to move and take a job in Reading. It wasn’t until I had my third child that I decided it would be much better for me to be closer to home.

“At this point, I already had 15 years of experience and had built up my contact base, so I decided it was time to start my own independent family law firm.”

Ms Blore said she could take her clients with her while her former employers would recommend her to new clients if they were based in south Oxfordshire.

She said: “I left my room before going to the office. The fax machine kept humming and the phone kept ringing, so I ended up setting up an office in my backyard. With the coronavirus pandemic, I feel like I’m ahead of the curve because I was basically working from home for over 20 years.

“When the lockdowns arrived, I didn’t have to make any major changes because it was just me and my assistant Vicky Woolfrey, who has worked with me for over 14 years.

“At first I was worried about how the pandemic would affect everyone, but over time it became more manageable.”

She said her work has remained constant throughout the pandemic, but the closures have had an effect on people’s relationships. “There’s no way to hide certain behaviors when you’re together at home all the time,” Ms Blore said. “Some families have gone through really difficult situations.

“I’ve heard of married couples who find out their significant other is having an affair.

“In other cases, people discovered that their partner had another family that they had hidden. They felt like their better half was going on a work trip when they were really visiting their secret family elsewhere.

Ms Blore believes being a mother of four has given her insight into family life and how to deal with divorces and believes her hands-on approach benefits clients.

She said: “It’s always good to offer mediation when the parents just can’t agree on arrangements for the children and financial agreements.

“Arrangements for children used to be known as ‘custody’, but it is no longer called that.

“The laws surrounding the grounds for divorce are changing. In April, the need to apportion blame will no longer be necessary.

“It’s a great relief for the lawyers. This means that divorces will be resolved faster and should be done in a more amicable way.

“Now that my children are grown, I will take more time to focus on my business and my customers and to grow my business over the next few years before I consider retirement.”