By Adele Bebbington-Plant, Director and Head of Wills, Trusts & Estates
In this my second post I would like to take the opportunity to introduce our fabulous Wills, Trusts & Estates team, a team I am proud to have been a part of for over 14 years.
I will talk you through how we are structured, the skills and experience we have within the department and share some insights into how we work so well together.
As the Head of Department, I am one of four solicitors within the team, all either STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) qualified, or working towards full STEP membership.
STEP is a global professional association for practitioners who specialise in family inheritance and succession planning. Full STEP members, known as TEPs, are internationally recognised as experts in their field, with proven qualifications and experience.
STEP provides me with the ideal opportunity to introduce Associate Solicitor, Phil Appleby. Phil is a fantastic and diligent lawyer who during his STEP training was named “Outstanding Student of the Year” twice and subsequently achieved STEP excellence awards achieving the highest score nationally in his Accounts, Trusts and Tax STEP examinations. Phil specialises in trusts and tax issues and works alongside our litigation team on contentionus probate matters.
Anna Unett is the most experienced member of our team, qualifying in 1996 and becoming a full member of STEP in 2004. Anna holds a first-class Law Degree from the University of Cambridge and has a long career in Law having trained and worked in London prior to returning to Cheshire, joining our team in 2013. Anna supports a number of farming families who have been clients of ours for generations.
Becky Sowray joined our team just prior to lockdown after having a break from her legal career which began in 1996. Having spent a number of years working in the technology and marketing sectors we were able to support Becky as she re-joined the Solicitors Role enabling her to practise once more. Becky is a keen musician and a member of the R.E.M. tribute band Stipe and has played on the same stages as Paul McCartney, The Who and Oasis (though not at the same time – what a gig that would have been!).
In addition to our fab four solicitors, we are supported by Sarah and Sarah, our two amazing paralegals. Sarah Gill and Sarah Cheers have worked together for many years not just at Cullimore Dutton, they also both hold the Paralegal Practice Qualification in Wills, Probate and Administration – a specialist qualification which they studied for and gained together from the University of Strathclyde in 2015.
Sarah Gill is our firms master baker, and lockdown has deprived us all of the fabulous cakes she often bakes. Sarah Cheers is the most recent addition to our team having joined us at the start of lockdown and was the first member of our team to receive her induction entirely remotely.
Both Sarahs are vastly experienced and are able to undertake many aspects of our work, supported and supervised by the senior members of the team.
As a business we are also keen to recruit and support those starting out in their career. Legal Assistant Alys Haf, who joined us in 2019, is currently working towards her LPC qualification alongside a Masters in Law at the College of Law in Chester, both of which she is due to complete next summer. Welsh speaking Alys is Wales born and bred and received a first in her law degree from Bangor University in 2019.
Our team are wonderfully supported by two vastly experience legal secretaries in Val Davies and Hayley Moss. These ladies are the bedrock of the team and help us stay on top of the paperwork and assist with communicating with our clients on a day-to-day basis.
We are a great team, but we are not just colleagues – we are also friends. Over recent months we have made real efforts to retain our social bonds in spite of the restrictions the pandemic placed upon us. We have regular Zoom socials and managed to attend a (socially distanced) gig together prior to lockdown II where we were able to see Becky’s band perform.
I am so proud to lead this team! We are a skilled and technically accomplished group of lawyers with a multitude of outstanding academic achievements and over 70 years-experience of helping, supporting and advising our clients.
I believe that what sets us apart is that we work so well collectively and collaboratively, often coming together to pool our expertise and experience to provide technical and practical solutions for our clients. We genuinely care about our clients and the service we provide to them!
Until next time.
Get in touch with Cullimore Dutton Solicitors on 01244 356 789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org