Family law shouldn’t be a problem for Teesside’s newest legal practice – the three McGees are brothers and sister.
With their best mate, Matthew Agar, solicitors Paul and Andy McGee have set up shop as McGee McGee Agar at the Forbes Building on Linthorpe Road, Middlesbrough and have brought in little sister Terri to run the office side of the operation.
“It’s been a good move to work together,” said Paul.
“Truth is we always got on well when we were kids and mum and dad are so proud of what we’ve done. There will be times when we will clash, but being brothers, it’s forgotten about in five minutes and we can always bounce ideas off each other.”
“Matt, Paul and I all went to Nunthorpe School, with Matthew and I in the same year and doing law from the outset, but Paul had a bit of a different route,” said Andy, who is 31.
That route involved Paul playing for Middlesbrough as a youth schoolboy before being released at 16 and spending time playing for Leyton Orient.
“I did a lot of nutrition as part of my football career, so I then studied science and got a degree in food nutrition,” said Paul, 33.
“I switched to law, which was quite a jump, because trying to get a job in the food sector up here was really difficult and I wanted to be with my fiance, so I looked at Andrew’s career path, which had more options and I saw him doing well.”
Matt, now 32, had been the first to get a job in law on Teesside, followed by Andy getting work experience at Teesside Law before the time felt right to set up on their own.
“I think the clients were relating to us more because we were younger and perhaps more motivated,” explained Andy.
The fact that the team, which handles criminal and family law – had worked for so long in the area and knew their clients well was a spur to bid for one of the regional law contracts which had come up for renewal.
“So far it has been a lot better than we might have thought,” said Andy.
“I think a lot of firms out there neglect certain aspects such as websites and social media, which we do a lot of, and we are also on the duty solicitors scheme – which can be a bit hit and miss – and then there is all the private work we attract.”
“One of the things that also sets us apart,” added Paul, “is that we know it is difficult in Middlesbrough to afford some legal fees, so we will tell people up front how much it will cost and we will never vary that.
“It’s a bit of a gamble, but at the end of the day we live in Middlesbrough and know that it can be difficult for people – with some being quoted £8,000 for a divorce – so we were determined to keep it affordable.”
Plans for the future include another office and taking on a trainee, but the focus for them will always be Teesside.