Question 1: Where did you study law and why did you want to become a lawyer?
I studied at Northumbria University, at the time this university stood out from all others being only one of two in the country that offered a Pro-Bono legal service to the public. The Legal Practice Course was amalgamated into the degree itself and also experience in the Student Law Office. It was a win-win situation!
I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do until I started university, but the Student Law Office gave me a taste of the job satisfaction in being able to apply the law to help people – up until then my studies had been hypothetical. It also gave a very real idea of how to organise, conduct and manage a legal case, something that was completely alien to me at the time, but is absolutely key to be efficient in practice.
Question 2: Why did you want to specialise in Private Client?
Following my qualification and prior to starting work at Swinburne Maddison LLP, I worked for the housing charity, Shelter. Subconsciously, I think that this helped clarify for me that working directly with private individuals was right for me. During my Training Contract at Swinburne Maddison LLP, I was lucky to be able to get great exposure in the Private Client department, and to learn a huge amount from my colleagues.
Following qualification into the Private Client Department, I booked onto as many CPD courses as my working life would permit, and it was at one of them that a speaker suggested that I go for the ‘STEP’ qualification (Society for Trust and Estate Practitioners). I will never forget that speaker, or him saying to me “get the qualification under your belt before the entry requirements become a lot tougher”.
I naively went into my additional STEP studies thinking that I could undertake the four exams in one sitting!! Two years later, I qualified, passing each exam at the first attempt, but it demanded a lot of hard work and my free time. This qualification has been invaluable for me – I hadn’t appreciated how much deeper my knowledge could and needed to be to be able to practice confidently at the level that our team now does.
Question 3: What has been your greatest achievement at Swinburne Maddison?
My instinct reaction would be to say passing my STEP qualification, this was no mean feat, but it is definitely pipped by the recognition that our Department received last January when we won ‘Private Client Team of the Year’ at the Northern Law Awards.
I am extremely proud of the team that Swinburne Maddison’s Private Client department boasts. Not just the high level of experience and expertise throughout, but the whole team, including all of our support staff. We could not be where we are without all of the hard work that each one of us puts in.