Expansion continues with appointment of new partner

26th February 2024

THE North-East’s oldest law firm has appointed a new partner as part of an ambitious expansion programme.

Akkelin Harris has become the 12th partner at BHP Law, leading an eight-strong team of experts in the Wills, Trusts and Probate department.

Akkelin, who was born into a farming family in The Netherlands, joined BHP Law as a Senior Associate in 2022, having been attracted by the company’s commitment to investing in talent and expanding its range of services.

“There’s a real focus on succession planning at BHP Law and I love growing talent and mentoring, so that was a big draw for me,” said the mother-of-three.

Akkelin is fully qualified under the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), so brings in-depth knowledge of a specialist part of the law.

She moved to the UK as a four-year-old when her family bought a farm in West Sussex and was inspired to go into the law by watching the Perry Mason TV series about an American defence lawyer.

“It appealed as an exciting and rewarding way to make a living, being able to help people to get to the bottom of things, solve puzzles, and achieve justice,” she says.

Akkelin graduated in law from King’s College, in London, in 1994, and trained to be a solicitor at the College of Law before landing a training contract with a law firm in the capital.

After that, she spent four years working in international law for a firm in Istanbul before returning to London to have a career break while raising her children.

The family moved to Durham in 2017 because of her husband’s work, and Akkelin started on the STEP programme whilst also working in the North-East before joining BHP Law, which has roots dating back to the early 1800s.

She succeeded Helen Biglin in heading up the Wills, Trusts and Probate team in May last year and has now become a partner as part of BHP Law’s five-year growth plan.

“I love working in Wills, Trusts and Probate because there’s a lot of client contact, and it’s so rewarding to help clients through a vulnerable time of their lives,” says Akkelin, who is based at BHP Law’s Durham office on Mandale Business Park.

“We have a lot of expertise in the team and, having STEP qualified solicitors in the department, means we can give clients in-depth guidance. It doesn’t matter how big or small an estate may be, it’s the same level of service.”

BHP Law supports a number of charities with free wills, including St Cuthbert’s Hospice, in Durham; Cancer Research UK, Marie Curie, and the Alzheimer’s Society.

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