Employment Lawyer and HR Executive – Wendy Harris
Born in Manchester, Wendy first decided to become a lawyer in 1996 whilst watching prisoners inside the walls of Dartmoor prison play football. How odd it seemed to her that these men had crossed the line and as a consequence were locked up in prison. That was where it all began.
Wendy began her career in law working as a prison lawyer and attended clients at many prison establishments up and down the country. By 2002 Wendy had qualified as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. From 1996 to date Wendy has been a practicing lawyer at various law firms throughout Devon including Exeter and Plymouth.
During these years, Wendy has practiced in many areas of law including prison and criminal law, clinical negligence, personal injury as well as general civil litigation and of course, employment law.
Wendy was proud to become the first Legal Executive in Devon to be made Partner at local law firm Windeatts where she practiced law for over 9 years. Following that she was with Insight legal a Niche Employment Law Firm in Plymouth which she left to set up her own legal practice: Harris Law Southwest.
Whilst practicing employment law Wendy quickly realised that businesses needed more than an employment lawyer,
“I was constantly dealing with problems when it was all too late and I quickly realised that these businesses needed more than an employment lawyer, they needed someone to get involved in their businesses earlier and prevent the problems occurring in the first place, they needed an employment Lawyer and an HR Manager too”.
Needless to say as a result of this Wendy is now an Associate Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and is a graduate in HR Management.
Wendy reflects on her legal journey:
“I think my journey has helped me to become a different kind of lawyer, I have met people who have committed acts that have changed lives forever, I have acted for clients who have had horrific accidents as well as those who have trusted healthcare professionals and frankly have been let down.
Over the years as a lawyer I have sat face to face with people who are the extremes of our society who have committed unspeakable acts. I have investigated and litigated tragic and distressing events that have ruined people’s lives. I have felt threatened by some clients and I have been lied to by others. I have been overwhelmed by gratitude from those who just wanted a simple apology or to know that those responsible have paid a price and that for them justice has been done.
So what kind of lawyer am I that makes me so different? I think I can honestly use the cringe worthy saying that I am a graduate of the University of Life and not the University of Oxbridge. My spoons are stainless steel and not silver and that is what makes me a different kind of lawyer.”
Wendy provides HR Support to many businesses in and around Totnes and South Hams and helps them deal with the many complex issues that can arise when employing staff.