What is your experience of working in debt recovery?
At the age of 16, I left school after completing my GCSE exams and started work the next day with a law firm in Birmingham. Initially, I was employed as an office junior but very quickly progressed to becoming a trainee legal executive, supporting the senior partner with personal injury and debt recovery claims.
Since then, I have worked for a number of leading law firms, as well as the Court Service and as National Head of Service at Europe’s largest civil law enforcement group. I have progressed from handing straightforward debt litigation matters to managing client relationships and developing new business activities, as well as being involved in governance for a number of relevant professional bodies.
I am proud to have been awarded fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Credit Management and the Association of Credit Professionals in recognition of my notable contribution to the credit industry and corporate membership of the Institute of Revenues, Rating & Valuation in recognition of my work in the local authority sector.
What does your current role at DWF entail?
I am one of three directors of the Recoveries team and I am responsible for supporting the Senior Director and the rest of the team with client development, client relationship management, marketing and PR, and any other related activities. As my career now spans over 27 years, I have built up a great network of contacts.
I am also a member of the firm's partner-led Diversity Steering Group and one of a group of partners responsible for focusing on the LGBT strand, which has been a great experience.
What has been the biggest challenge to the debt recovery sector over the last 12 months?
I believe the biggest challenge is that our clients can be prevented from gaining access to justice for a number of reasons. One of the main factors in recent times has been the increase in Court fees, which can affect our client’s ability to pursue outstanding debts due to the risk of throwing good money after bad. Another example is the increase in the threshold for issuing bankruptcy proceedings - this results in our clients, particularly those in the local authority sector, being unable to use this option for debts under £5,000.
Where do you see the sector going?
I think FCA regulation will result in a lot of consolidation of suppliers, meaning there will be fewer suppliers in the marketplace and less choice for clients. I would expect there will be more ABS businesses and more firms offering a broader range of services. I think there will also be an increase in front-end pre-legal collections, as well as an increase in alternative dispute resolution (ADR), arbitration and mediation.
What are your top tips for clients?
We have a great page on the website that contains our top tips for clients. It’s got some really helpful advice to make sure you are best placed to recover monies owed. Read our top tips for debt recovery ›
What do you do outside of the office?
My partner and I have recently adopted a five year old boy, which has certainly been a life-changing experience and takes up a lot of my time. I also play the drums and love playing and listening to music. I love to travel, particularly to New England in the USA, which is my favourite part of the world and I have a lot of family out there too. As I become older, my clubbing days are over and I much prefer spending time at home with my family and friends.
Any interesting facts about yourself?
I have acted for and against rock and pop royalty, representing some of the biggest-selling recording artists in the world as well as their managers and promoters. My clients have included one of the most iconic names in rock who lives locally and is also a Knight of the Realm, as well as one of the world’s most popular reggae bands from my hometown. I have acted against a girl band’s touring company and recovered a significant sum from them. I once popped into a boardroom at a former firm’s offices to make a quick call and a few minutes later the door flew open and in walked Birmingham’s most famous indie band. I could still feel that 'Who are you?' look despite them all wearing sunglasses!
Why would you recommend the DWF Recoveries team?
Prior to joining DWF, I worked in the High Court Enforcement sector as National Head of Client Services, which brought me into contact with numerous legal debt recovery operations. DWF stood out as doing things differently with their tailored approach to meet an individual client’s needs and each sector’s specific requirements. (We are very active in the local authority, water utility and professional services sectors, amongst many others, as well as working with SME and blue chip businesses generally).
I was impressed with their professionalism, the fact that they have never lost a champion challenge and despite being a top 20 law firm, are more cost effective than most. The team also work in close partnership with their clients, which forges a good working relationship and level of understanding.
David Scottow heads up our team. He is quite unique as he has 40 years of experience and has worked in industry, credit management, accountancy and the law, which gives him a broad knowledge and great expertise. He also runs a tight ship, ensures that the teams perform and get results. He is also a Yorkshireman, which I suspect has something to do with it.
The DWF team also have a strategic approach and appreciate that one size does not fit all, particularly when it comes to enforcement and turning a judgment from a piece of paper into cold hard cash!
What would your clients and colleagues say about you?
My clients and contacts say I am someone that you can approach with any kind of problem and I will always know someone who can resolve it for you. They also know that they can rely on me to support them and trouble shoot on their behalf if the need arises.
I would like to think that my colleagues see me as a team player who supports people at every level but has bad taste when it comes to choosing ties!
For more information about our debt recovery work, please see our Debt Recovery services page ›This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.