Janis Bracey celebrates 40 years at LawDeb
Today we mark the 40 year anniversary of Janis Bracey’s career at LawDeb. A member of the Corporate Trust team, Janis joined in 1984 when the business numbered fewer than 30 employees.
We asked Janis to share some of her favourite memories from that time, and she didn’t disappoint.
Suited and booted the LawDeb staff was always smartly turned out. Managing Director Mr Osborne led the charge with a three piece suit and bowler hat. Despite the formal attire, when venturing to the second floor one might come across Nancy from the typing pool, a gymnast, practicing her backflips down the corridor.
Whilst we rarely see a backflip in the office these days we have great take up of LawDeb's Running Club and footballing opportunities.
Janis fondly recalls a number of other characters. Sarge for example. A member of the Corps of Commissionaires, designed to provide meaningful employment for former military, Sarge wore a military outfit complete with hat. Tasked with distributing mail, running letters to law firms and banks, and guardianship of new pens and pencils, Sarge ran a tight ship.
Technology has changed a lot during Janis’s tenure. Telex was the go to in 1984. In order to send her first fax Janis had to head to a branch of a Spanish bank and ask to use their machine. When LawDeb did get a computer it was a large machine on a trolley that could be moved around for use by whoever needed it.
Our Tech has come a long way. In December 2023 LawDeb rolled out new technology hardware across the business to facilitate dynamic working.
Today we are familiar with all singing and dancing CRM and record keeping systems. In those days records were kept using individual cards, each added to a rolodex and paper diaries and stored documents away in a room full of filing cabinets.
The Gresham Street office lift was always breaking down and Janis recalls helping directors up and down the 7 flights of stairs on many occasions. Indeed it was a much less sedentary time with lots of trips between floors on foot throughout the working day.
When we moved to a new office directly opposite it was done in stages with the IT cables strung between buildings, hanging over the road. For a time the vault remained in the old office meaning Janis and the team would cross the road to get out the documents then venture back to the new office to conduct the work.
These days our offices are suitable for hosting the high quality events for which we are known such as the LawDeb Lens and recent Gender Balance focused panel event alongside the FTSE Women Leader's Review and INSEAD Alumni Balance in Business.
Janis recalls that LawDeb was a male heavy office but already there were glimpses of the positive working culture we celebrate today. Jean, a former barrister was a Manager in the business and Anne Hills, who has risen the ranks to Head of Service of Process joined the business in 1985 in the typing pool.
Some of the less fond memories include the smoking in offices with each room being filled with smoke as people went about their work. Thankfully this is a long gone practice.
Janis remains so positive about the business and has enjoyed seeing our business grow from 30 to 300 people and move to offices with reliable lifts!
LawDeb has changed in so many ways, but in many ways remains the same. A ‘quirky’ place to work, a place of real opportunity and we are so pleased we have been able to keep Janis here for 40 years.