Under most construction contracts, the contractor takes on the ground conditions risk. However, a recent case has demonstrated that the risk can fall on the employer.
What is your role within your firm?
I lead the court of protection team, which specialises in property and finance, and health and welfare court of protection work, as well as mental health. Our clients are privately and publicly funded.
How did it feel to win a STEP Private Client Award?
It was the first time our team had entered the Private Client Award (PCA). We were thrilled to be shortlisted, and then given the extraordinary strength of the competition, we were bowled over to be announced as the winner.
I would stress that this is a team award. Four of us are STEP members and registered trust and estate practitioners. Sir Alex Elphinston TEP is a former chair of the STEP (England & Wales) committee and sits on the Mental Capacity SIG Group. I am chair of the Law Society Mental Health and Disability Committee.
Why is winning a STEP PCA important to your firm?
STEP has a reputation internationally for setting the gold standard when it comes to professionalism and integrity. This award is for excellence. It is hard to imagine a higher accolade. It is brilliant to be acknowledged for our contribution to this area of expertise.
What are the main challenges facing your organisation at the moment?
There appears to be a national shortage of professionals with the relevant skills, experience and passion for our type of work, which makes recruitment into our team and expansion challenging. This is really surprising to me, given that our work routinely incorporates the intellectual equivalent of unravelling the Gordian knot!
How will you deal with these challenges?
It is imperative that we raise the profile of this type of work, and winning this STEP award is a significant milestone towards achieving this. Clients who are vulnerable, and facing extremely challenging circumstances, deserve legal advice and support from principled and determined lawyers with the best minds. Training is key and STEP leads the way in this.
Last October, Anthony Collins Solicitors hosted a STEP Mental Capacity Special Interest Group and Solicitors for the Elderly seminar, bringing together leading experts to inform and update professionals who are committed to this type of work.
What do you like best about your job?
The amazing and talented team of people I work with at Anthony Collins Solicitors. Without exception, each person is committed to delivering the best possible service for the clients, whilst supporting one another with great grace and humour.
...and what do you feel is most worthwhile?
Working alongside clients who conduct themselves with great dignity and determination, whilst facing enormous difficulty. This is humbling and very rewarding.
What would you say to a young person thinking of a career in this industry?
Explore and examine the full range of quality and demanding work that is now available to a private client practitioner. You will be surprised at what you find. If you enjoy working with, and for, the individual, and experiencing all the highs and lows life has to offer, this could be for you.
Where do you see future growth, both in terms of sectors and jurisdictions?
With the ageing demographic, there will be no shortage of clients, going forward. The work will be there, so the profession needs to continue to build in response, promoting excellence in practice.
Which social media channels do you use?
Anthony Collins Solicitors is on both LinkedIn and Twitter (@ACSLLP).
For more information
This interview was originally featured on STEP's website. You can find it here.
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