Solicitor Of The Month

Issue 101

Anna Stephenson - Partner and Head of the Private Client team at Swinburne Maddison LLP.

What were your career ambitions growing up?

Throughout my childhood, I always enjoyed learning. I had been interested in becoming a lawyer as I wanted a career which would challenge me and would ultimately be very rewarding.

My parents were incredibly supportive, and they worked hard to make sure I had a good education.

I have always strived to feel technically good at what I do and develop my professional knowledge, once I qualified I undertook further studies with the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, which is specific to Private Client law.

Tell us about your current role and what do you most enjoy?

I am a Partner and Head of the Private Client team at Swinburne Maddison, which involves many tasks. As well as overseeing my department, I run a very busy and varied caseload of Private Client matters which tend to be multi-layered, including advising on estate planning matters comprising business interests, farming assets and sometimes foreign property.

I have taken on several professional Deputy appointments and act as an attorney for some clients. I work with a great team, and it’s an exciting time for us in terms of the work we are doing and the growth we are experiencing.

What is your proudest business achievement?

Most recently I feel an enormous sense of pride when working with members of the team who are progressing with their careers. We have had several trainees in our department over recent years and every one of them has been a pleasure to work with. It is brilliant to see them develop into confident lawyers.

How has your industry evolved in the last decade and what changes do you see in the next decade?

Technology has had a huge impact on our industry over the last decade. This has resulted in greater efficiencies, and particularly in our area of work, the ability to reach clients far and wide.

AI will most certainly be used more frequently. The role of the “lawyer” may start to look different but in private client law, we must be ready to serve the evolving needs of the client, keeping up to date with changes in legislation and tax laws.

What are you currently working on?

I feel like I have something of everything on my desk at the moment. I am currently working with accountants on a highvalue trust matter. I relish the opportunity to work with tax advisors as it is always a great learning experience.

Tell us about the team you work with.

They are brilliant! What is great about Swinburne Maddison is that we have employees who have been with us for over 50 years, they have played key roles in the training and development of our new team members who have joined us in recent years. The firm has been through a period of growth and our new recruits have hit the ground running and are incredibly bright.

What advice would you give to your 18-year-old self?

I would suggest seeing a bit more of the world and taking time to travel.

Straight after school, I dived straight into my ambitions of becoming a lawyer on the standard career path; graduating from university, to immediately embarking on my LPC and straight into my training contract. I qualified just after turning 24!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?

Quite possibly, not far away from where I am now!

Who would be your four ideal dinner guests, alive or dead?

I would have to pick Vernon Kay because I think he’s funny and of course Jamie Oliver to make us a lovely dinner.

Jasmin Paris, the first woman to successfully complete the Barkley Marathons. I enjoy running when I can and I’m in awe of her sheer grit and determination, both physically and mentally.

My final guest would be Michelle Obama because I think she is very inspirational. If you haven’t read her autobiography, it’s a great read!

How do you unwind outside of work?

With difficulty… my favourite thing is to drag my children on mountain walks. The teen years are upon us so it requires a bit more persuasion (and way more snacks) but it is always worth it.

Favourite book and box set?

I loved the Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns. I’m not sure I have ever made it through a whole box set. I enjoyed Peaky Blinders, but I was too scared to watch the final episode. The Durrells is probably more up my street!

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