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19 July 2019 | Comment | Article by Bethan Gladwyn

Dealing with bereavement in a professional world

As lawyers, we have the privilege of being involved with some of our clients’ most significant life changes, and where we can, we will make the transition go as smoothly as possible. Given the broad range of departments we have, that process can range from helping an entrepreneur set up a business, assisting someone to buy the home of their dreams or sometimes gaining access to justice for a loved one following a period of difficulty, while they become accustomed to a “new normal”.

Frequently, our solicitors will be speaking with clients who are experiencing agonising grief and we recognise the impact that having the right approach can have when providing professional help and guidance.

We all struggle to know what to say to someone who is bereaved and wonder how best to support them. In a professional context, this can be particularly challenging as there will be certain information you need in order to be able to do your job properly. Having an awareness of what to avoid, the behaviours you may observe when dealing with bereaved customers or clients, and getting the conversation right for them can have a huge impact and ensure they have confidence in your professional service. Cruse Bereavement Care have been providing support in this way for 60 years and specialise in training people who encounter the bereaved in the course of their work. As part of our commitment to third sector organisations, we have worked in partnership with Cruse to develop a half day workshop, ideally suited for those employed by charities, housing associations and other third sector organisations.

Last month, Hugh James was joined by Vassilia Williams from Cruse who facilitated an enlightening session for our charity clients providing some much needed practical guidance around these sensitive encounters. In what turned out to be an emotional session, Vassilia explained how even those who haven’t personal experience of bereavement can access the necessary empathy using their own experiences of loss in a variety of situations. Delegates learned how to get the balance right between listening and being proactive to help guide the situation towards a resolution that is required. Our clients said they left the session with renewed perspective when speaking with someone who is bereaved or suffered loss of any kind in both a personal and professional capacity and enjoyed exploring the variety of reactions their fellow delegates had when speaking from experience of grief.

Author bio

Bethan Gladwyn


Bethan Gladwyn is head of the housing management team as a result of her capability and specialist knowledge in her field of law. A specialist in social housing law and practice, anti-social behaviour and landlord and tenant (residential), Bethan assisted in setting up Wales’s first anti-social behaviour unit at Hugh James.

Disclaimer: The information on the Hugh James website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. If you would like to ensure the commentary reflects current legislation, case law or best practice, please contact the blog author.


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