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60-Seconds With: Rosalind Russell, Associate, WithersDate: 05/01/2022 Type: 60 seconds with Community Magazine Interviews ThoughtLeaders 4 Content Topic: Private Client | Trusts | Wills and Estates | Inheritance | Next Generation Wealth | Investment and HNWI’s | Tax |
Q) What is your key area of practice?
A) I’m an associate in our Trust, Estate and Inheritance Disputes team. We also cover Court of Protection work alongside our non-contentious elder law specialists. I am one year qualified so my practice is still pretty broad – I would say roughly half my clients are charities looking to defend probate or inheritance claims, and the rest are a mix of private individuals and trustees/executors.
Q) What are you most going to focus on in the next 12 months?
A) I qualified during the pandemic and have been working from my kitchen table, so it would have to be getting back in the office and learning from being around my colleagues for the first time. And, covid rules permitting, making up for the lost year and a half by meeting lots of new people!
Q) What do you see as the biggest upcoming challenge you face as a practitioner?
A) I think we have yet to see the full effects of how the pandemic will affect inheritance disputes – will we see lots of homemade wills? I’m also intrigued to see how many people have taken up the opportunity to have their wills witnessed remotely, and whether that will lead to challenges down the line.
Q) Why did you choose to attend TL4 x ConTrA’s Private Client Summer School and what did you achieve from attending?
A) It was the first time I really had a chance to meet many of my peers in person. We’ve had the odd Zoom catch up but it’s not the same!
Q) How did it feel to be back at a physical event?
A) There was a bit of a ‘deep breath moment’ before walking into a room full of people for the first time, but we were all in the same boat (at least until we went punting, when the boats only held six). I think everyone realised how much they’d missed being in that big room all together.
Q) What was your key takeaway from any one of the sessions at Private Client Summer School over the 2 days?
A) Many of my cases centre around mental capacity, so I really enjoyed Lorraine Jeffery and Sophia Roper’s overview and particularly the crucial reminder that capacity is not a straight line – speaking to ‘P’ at 9am and speaking to them at 10am may lead to completely different assessments.
Q) What would you say to people thinking of attending one of our summer schools in the future?
A) Do it!
Q) What does the perfect weekend look like?
A) Unfortunately lockdown has made me coffee-dependant, so it would have to be a flat white and a pastry followed by sitting out in the sun with a murder mystery. I’m currently working through Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie books but Agatha Christie will always be the Queen.
Q) What is the one thing you could not live without?
A) I love cooking, so probably salt.
Q) Who would you most like to invite to a dinner party?
A) Elizabeth I – I did history at university and I’d be so interested to find out what she was actually like. She was famously intelligent, cultured and witty so I’m sure she’d turn out to be a brilliant guest (and also it sounds like she threw a great party herself so hopefully she’d invite me back).