Why one woman walked away from her job

Battling against laws on FGM, supressing abusive relationships, conquering mortgage disputes, and slaying the idea of the traditional law practice, we caught up with this popular Leicester solicitor as she approaches her 10th year in business

 

Taking voluntary redundancy in the middle of a recession at eight months pregnant doesn’t sound ideal. Her friends and family told her she was mad but that didn’t stop Bhumika Parmar (41) quitting her job in 2008 to follow her dream – to revolutionise legal practices.

Applying to the SRA (Solicitors Regulation Authority) to open a practice of her own, the regulatory body conducted an in depth assessment into Bhumika vetting her work ethic, experience,
reputation, business plan and five year forecast. She was given the get-go and opened an office with just one computer and one employee.

“I wanted a modern approach so no 9-5 hours, because 9 times out of 10 clients will be calling on their lunch break. We do home visits and have a 24/7 phone line. Clients have a dedicated case
worker but we all use an app to access files so that all of us can pick up any case.”

Within a year they moved to bigger premises in Belgrave Gate during Bhumika’s second pregnancy. Just two days after giving birth she went back to work taking her new born with her.

“I had clients that needed taking care of. It was a lot trying to juggle but I wasn’t going to have flexibility at other practices. I didn’t want to miss all the milestones in my kids’ lives, and I offer the
same thing to my staff.”

BP Legal now has a team of five comprising of solicitors and trainees, has made headlines, and positively impacted the law raising awareness of important issues. Following that dream nearly 10
years ago resulted in a mammoth contribution to the community internationally.

In 2014 the then 38-year-old dealt with a giant media case that enticed BBC and ITV news reporters to her offices. She represented Afusat Saliu who was at risk of being deported to Nigeria after outstaying her UK visa because she feared her children would be at great risk of female genital mutilation (FGM). Despite losing the devastating case, she says the harsh reality of FGM was brought to the UK that year and demanded a call to action. The case gained an international audience but BP Legal’s work began at home.

She told us: “An Asian lady asked for help, she was abused by her husband and in-laws had no national insurance number, no phone, no money, nothing. She didn’t have the money and I could
have easily turned her away but I said ‘you can’t let it go on’.” Bhumika settled her divorce and immigration status. “But I told her ‘when you start working, come back and settle my fees’. And she
worked and paid me back. Because of that I had a lot of women coming to me. It was a risk to carry out work for clients without payment, but I had faith in them. Not one person hasn’t paid me back. You could call it a charity but it’s not because what I’m giving them is an incentive to work and earn it. I don’t want them on benefits I want them to go out and make something of themselves.”

Bhumika’s work has also impacted the education sector having won a declaration of trust case in the High Court. The case has now become a leading example taught to university and college
students. “I actually went on a conveyancing update lecture and they were citing the case in that,” she laughed. All this media coverage and more even led to an amusing stint on Channel 5’s Love Rats Exposed.

What more could Bhumika dream up for the next 10 years?

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