Clients of a Sheffield-based wills advisor have had help adapting to appointments by video call from an unlikely source – a sausage dog named Billybob!

Katie Birch, who works for Graysons Solicitors, says her loveable pooch – which religiously sits by her side for all appointments from her home office – has become “the ultimate ice-breaker” for people not familiar with video calls.

She said: “I found the Coronavirus-forced shift to home-working quite a challenge as I’m a real ‘people person’ but Billybob has absolutely loved it! He gets to be pampered all day and gets to meet all my clients which he really loves.

“I have many elderly clients that have never used a video call service. They are quite nervous until they see Billybob’s wagging tail and excited face – then they’re quite at ease!”

Graysons Solicitors has experienced a big increase in demand for wills following the Coronavirus outbreak and the firm has had to adapt to a completely new way of working to ensure they can still deliver the service.

Katie Birch said: “The will still needs to be signed by the client in front of witnesses – and we need to adhere to strict social distancing measures through out. So I normally complete the service by driving out to the client, knocking on the door and leaving the will on the doorstep for them to sign. I normally take an additional member of the team with me to be a witness. It is working very well.”

Few people know the need to stay safe and adhere to current lockdown rules as much as Katie Birch – both her parents work for the NHS. Her mother’s a sister on an intensive care ward.

Katie Birch – who is part of the Wills, Estates, Trusts and Elderly Client Services team at Graysons – is no stranger to going above and beyond the call of duty at the firm.

She also helps spearhead much of the firm’s fund raising activity and works closely with the likes of Bluebell Wood, Sparkle, St Luke’s Hospice and other charities. She has provided free wills advice services as well as additional support with powers of attorney and trust arrangements.