Meet the Tiger Team
The people who make Tiger tick.
Principal, Tiger Law Ltd
Vanessa Is the driving force – force being the operative word – behind Tiger Law and its sister businesses Tiger HR and Tiger to Go.
A graduate of the University of Reading and the College of Law, Guildford (BA Hons LLDip), Vanessa has an extensive track record as a highly skilled litigator and contracts specialist. As an SME entrepreneur herself, she has a depth of insight into her clients’ business challenges and the potential legal problems they might unwittingly fall victim to in their quest to grow a sustainable and successful business. That’s something not often found in those who have spent a career in the protected shelter of a traditional law firm and never fended for themselves in the real world a small business owner must navigate daily.
Clients frequently mention Vanessa’s willingness to take the time to both listen and to explain matters clearly to them as well as her realistic and budget-conscious approach. In fact, both businesses are designed around her determination to provide a service that ensures business people can pick up the phone and access advice and guidance sooner rather than later.
And that, friends, is the driver behind Tiger Law’s rock solid Fixed Fee policy. Because, at the end of the day, that is how we make sure our clients are not flying solo in hazardous conditions for fear of running up an outrageous bill.
Apart from this, Vanessa is very funny (as in: “humorous”) which helps a lot with running a houseful of kids as well as two businesses. She enjoys travelling, movies, a glass or two of good wine and her husband Alex. She also speaks fluent Greek.
Head of Employment Services
Seb is Tiger’s expert on Employment issues and as such he is a lynch pin of our services to business owners. He decided to specialize in HR, Employment Relations and Employment Law following 11 years at Group IMD, a leading media logistics provider, where he played an extensive role in growing and expanding the business from its domestic service to operate in 100 markets with local offices in 35 countries, as Director of Client Services and Operations.
Being an employer can be quite a minefield of expensive, productivity-sapping obstacles, it can be a very isolating and worrying situation to be in. Our clients appreciate Seb for his expertise and skill as an HR professional but even more so for his supportive approach and got-your-back attitude. Get Seb onside and you will most likely avoid trouble because his keen eye and skill as a communicator will ensure that there is no fertile soil or compliance oversight for problems to arise on his watch.
Seb likes to escape to the countryside or beach with his dogs. He also enjoys mountain biking, politics, spending time with friends and loves to travel. At home, he enjoys relaxing with a good movie with his partner of 5 years.
Richard’s path into the legal profession did not follow a traditional route.
After graduating in Law from the University of Sheffield, as his fellow graduates headed straight off to work in law firms, Richard instead joined the RAF as an intelligence officer, but, realising that he “wasn’t up for spending the rest of his life in a dark bunker” he headed for Paris where he worked as an assistant store manager in a home decoration boutique.
Back in London he gained his LPC and went on to specialise in Employment Law. Two contrasting appointments, one at a City firm where he focused on advising firms on how to prevent disputes from escalating to litigation and then at a leading Kent firm where the emphasis was on litigation and detailed legal advice brought him to the inevitable conclusion that prevention is so much better than cure.
In 2014 he left private practice to focus on training. “I could see how damaging litigation was and realised there was a better way – managers need to learn the skills to reduce risk through their day to day actions and decision making. I have always been very people focused – I love building relationships with clients creating trust and providing creative solutions. I definitely don’t fit the profile of the ‘traditional lawyer’! Yes i’ve got great experience and knowledge of the employment law field but I also have a good understanding of how human beings operate in the workplace that means I don’t just look at the law, but really enjoy exploring the human dynamics, the how and they why problems have arisen in order to reach solutions that don’t just address the immediate concern, but look to create positive culture change within organisations.”
Outside of work Richard is never happier than when in the middle of nowhere on top of a mountain. He heads off to his little cottage in the Lake District with his husband and lovely twin daughters who, he says are developing into “proper little mountain goats!
Leonie originally came to Tiger Law as our paralegal but entered into a Trainee Solicitor contract with us in late 2017. She recently completed 5 years part time study to attain a 2:1 in her LLB with Open University – a course she has combined with raising 2 children.
She has now completed her legal training and was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors on 15 August 2019.
Since joining Tiger she completed her LLM and LPC with Commendation at the University of Law in Bloomsbury. Her 5 year stint as an adviser at Citizens Advice Bureau means Leonie has exactly the sort of real world experience that makes her ideal for Tiger Law’s down-to-earth philosophy.
Leonie spent a lot of her training focused on private client work and helping business clients arrange their personal planning to work hand in hand with their business succession planning, however has moved into the area of commercial litigation, assisting clients with disputes, both on a commercial and personal level.
During her time assisting with commercial litigation, Leonie has successfully resolved many debt disputes, both for claimant and defendant clients, has followed disputes through to winding up of companies, and has also has success in injunction applications.
With school age children and her increasingly busy role with both the Tiger companies, we were sensitive when asking leonie if she had any other interests! she relaxes by reading and watching movies with friends and family and a glass of wine.
Leandra van Wijk
Head of Immigration
Leandra has qualified as an attorney, conveyancer and notary in South Africa and went on to establish and run her own successful law firm in Pretoria for five years before immigrating to England in 2008. She aimed to gain some commercial experience, and she started out in the corporate banking industry before taking over the legal and finance functions in a fast growing family construction business. One exam away from becoming a dual-qualified lawyer, she is particularly adept at Immigration Law and is currently studying further to gain a specialist certificate in this subject area.
Leandra’s personal experience of moving to the UK with her family, including two toddlers, gives her a unique understanding of the challenges that migration involves, legally, but also personally. She aims to help navigate the over-complicated immigration system and take that worry away so newcomers can focus on making friends and becoming involved in their communities.
In her free time, Leandra tries to keep fit and does Tae Kwondo and Krav Maga self-defence classes with her family. She likes reading a good book and taking the family dog for long country walks. She loves to visit her family in South Africa and speaks fluent Afrikaans.
PA to Vanessa Challess
Rebekah has been working with Vanessa since the first of the Tiger businesses (then InHouse Legals, now Tiger to Go) first started. She is pretty much the glue that sticks everything together here and manages our operations with supreme efficiency on a day-to-day basis. Vanessa has been known to refer to her as her “office wife”.
Often the first port of call for clients with a problem, it’s Bex, as she is generally known, who is reliably and persistently in perennial pursuit of authorities like the Courts and Land Registry – a particularly thankless task given recent budget cuts. She keeps Vanessa and the team’s workload and billing on track and manages the various systems and case management tools that we rely on to run the business.
Bex started her working life as a hairdresser but soon moved into banking and later the pensions sector before joining Vanessa as the business took shape.
Bex loves music, especially the live and loud variety, reading and movies. She has a small and adorable daughter and she and her husband are always cooking up a new plan for another USA road trip.
Rose is the newest member of the Tiger Team and has come from a very different background in terms of employment. Rose has always had a keen love for animals, obtaining a degree in Animal Science and volunteering at many animal rescues during her time as a student. She’s spent the last 10 years working for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home caring for the unwanted waifs and strays and is now ready for a new challenge albeit a very different one!
Rose has always enjoyed admin based work and with previous work being so physically demanding and having unsocial hours she thought a change in job would better fit her lifestyle. And going from one animal charity to a law firm that supports TOFTtigers makes the transition even better. Rose’s role at Tiger is to deal with any admin based work coming into the office so she’ll generally be your first port of call at Tiger Law.
Rose loves to read anything romantic but does have a secret love for comic books and has an extensive DC library at home (sorry Marvel fans)!! Rose has a busy household including a husband, 2 children a dog and a cat that she loves to spend her time with.
Talk to Tiger
Don’t wait till you have a legal or employment problem to talk to us at Tiger Law. Planning, Protection and Prevention are key to what we do for our clients. But if there is something going awry, or causing you worry then don’t put off dealing with it.