Founding Principles - Devon Life meets James Cross at Kitsons
PUBLISHED: 13:09 05 July 2012 | UPDATED: 21:35 20 February 2013
Kitsons, formerly known as Kitson Hutchings, may have bright new steel and glass offices but ironically, for all the vibrant pink branding, it is the past that is their greatest asset.
Founding Principles - Lawyers with a long history and a bright future
Kitsons, formerly known as Kitson Hutchings, may have bright new steel and glass offices but ironically, for all the vibrant pink branding, it is the past that is their greatest asset. The modern company has merged and evolved from a set of core values inspired by its founder, William Kitson, 175 years ago. He was a Torquay solicitor, banker and philanthropist, and is widely credited as the founder of Torbay. It is these values that chime with Managing Partner James Cross:"William Kitsons greatest legacy was his name and the goodwill that goes with it. He had a vision for prosperity and believed that wealth should be for the wider good of the community. Much of his money went to build the great Victorian institutions that Torbay still enjoys. His mantra was to provide an incomparable service at an honest price. That is certainly something that we share with him.
James has a strong affinity with Devon, where his grandparents lived, and returned here 25 years ago from South Wales where he was born and brought up. He is a specialist in commercial litigation, particularly with regard to property, and is a member of the Property Litigation Association. The Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession credits him as an astute tactical thinker and calm under fire.
As the Senior Partner of a long-established firm, James is aware that the law is changing and adapting to a world that is very different to that of Kitsons day. I asked him about some of the challenges the profession faces.
Lawyers no longer have a monopoly, they have to try harder. The old sense of entitlement has gone, and you have no right to clients by simply putting up a sign. We work hard to make sure our clients and employees are happy.
Technology has brought a huge sea change to the legal profession. We deal with courts now via telephone conferences and it wont be long before were using Skype, which is great. Information technology is key, it has come on in leaps and bounds. Its been a great help but brings with it a mass of information which needs to be controlled.
Employment law has grown into a big area for us. Europe now has a significant effect with new legislation coming out twice a year, and social change has brought about new family and business structures.
A keen squash player, walker and father of three, Jamess cheery but businesslike manner is refreshing and his approach straightforward. I asked him for one piece of legal advice he thinks everyone should have.
Always go armed!"Know your rights and your position before you go anywhere. Get advice when you start, not when you are distressed.
Although Kitsons has expanded to include offices in Exeter, Newton Abbot and Plymouth, they have not forgotten the blue plaque on Torquays Harbourside honouring their founder.
We are true to our roots and still give our time and energy to a range of interests in Torbay, among them the Torbay Development Company, South Devon College and Rowcroft Hospice.