Previous Events

Women in Wills Regional Lunch - Liverpool

Women in Wills met for the last time in 2023 at the remarkable Municipal Hotel in Liverpool for an afternoon of networking and development with industry peers.

The group started the lunch by looking back on the year and recognising the success of the group. In 2023, the group has increased by over 150 members to be a whopping 1,450 member group. We have had over 100 attendees at our regional lunches across the country in London, Birmingham, Bristol and Liverpool. 2023 also saw the launch of The Interview Series hosted by Arken.legal – a conversation with industry experts to inspire the future generation of lawyers.

After a fantastic three course lunch, the group heard from Associate Solicitor Danielle Blaylock from Jackson Lees. Danielle spoke with the group about the various types of probate claims, types of common disputes including capacity, undue influence, want of knowledge, fraudulent calumny and forgery. Danielle finished the presentation by providing commentary on recent cases including Winter v Winter 2023 dispute over mirror/mutual wills. The presentation sparked an interesting discussion in the room. See more from Danielle Blaylock via her LinkedIn.

The Women in Wills event came to a close after hearing from sponsor’s Estatesearch and Arken.legal – thank you to both for your support throughout 2023 both online and at our in-person events.

We are excited to see what 2024 brings for Women in Wills, to stay up to date on the next events and the plans for the new year join our LinkedIn group or see our website: https://womeninwills.co.uk/

Women in Wills Virtual Webinar - Risk and Due Diligence

Hosted by Emma Baddaley, with guest speaker Sarah Keegan

Thank you to Sarah Keegan for joining us on this occasion.

On Thursday 26th October the Women in Wills Virtual Webinar took place, discussing all things risk and due diligence. Always an important topic but potentially even more so given the recent SRA updates on risk and compliance, and anti-money laundering.

Given the difference in regulation across the sector from solicitors and will writers a lot of the conversation stemmed around best practice. What to do to make sure you are protecting yourself from fraud, anti-money laundering, by running insolvency checks, checking and verifying ID, taking suitable notes on advice given etc.

One specific example that arose, was the one where due to lack of regulations and requirements, a person may write a will for someone (with no ID checks etc.), they then bring in family or friends for wills also.  In doing so, they are creating law firm or will writer trust, so that when you pass them over for a property purchase to the conveyancing team, those checks may not happen, (when they should) and subsequently fraud can occur.

Emma Baddaley also highlighted the importance of ensuring thorough insolvency checks are undertaken, and the importance of both. EstateSearch recommend the following:

  • Insolvency search including registered Bankruptcy Orders, Independent Voluntary Arrangements and County Court Judgements.
  • A HM Land Registry K16 Official Bankruptcy Search of Land Charges Registers against the named person including registered Bankruptcy Orders and Petitions for Bankruptcy.

A special thanks to Emma Baddaley for hosting the event, and our speaker Sarah Keegan from the CS Partnership.

Thank you also to our sponsors Estatesearch and Arken.legal for supporting Women in Wills.

Summer Special - Female Financial Management with Chloe Dunk

Thank you to Chloe Dunk for joining us on this occasion.

Thank you also to our sponsors Estatesearch and Arken.legal for supporting Women in Wills.

Virtual Meet Up - 29th June

On Thursday 29th June Women in Wills hosted a virtual meet up with guest speaker Susan Wyatt, Independent Mental Capacity Assessor.

Women in Wills welcomed a new group of individuals to attend our virtual event, we began the event by discussing what WIW is, what we aim to achieve and the vast array of events that we have lined up. For more information on the Women in Wills group please see our website and subscribe to our newsletter.

After a brief update from Women in Wills sponsors, Estatesearch and Arken.legal we introduced our guest speaker for the afternoon, Susan Wyatt.

Susan began by discussing her career journey, starting off as a chocolate decorator then becoming a nurse for the NHS, later working as a medical sales rep. She decided to go to University later in her career and, due to her vast experience, started at Masters level and studied for three years whilst working. From here she became an advanced nurse practitioner and later an independent mental capacity assessor. A wealth of experience which has enabled her to become so successful within her field.

Susan later discussed what mental capacity is, how decision making is an integral part of people’s lives and the limitation that having impaired capacity has on the ability to give consent.

Importantly, lacking capacity varies between individuals, capacity may fluctuate, be either permanent or temporary and be decision specific. This highlighted the importance of assessing capacity accurately and identifying any cognitive impairment that may have occurred by injuries, illnesses or learning disabilities.

Susan discussed how there is much more to a mental capacity assessment than examining impairment, it is important to have a free flowing conversation at the right time for the client in order to reduce anxiety to obtain a true picture of their medical history and beliefs before asking the ‘right question’. Susan expertise meant that one client “didn’t realise the assessment had started”.

Touching on the Mental Capacity Act, the group discussed the importance of having this law in place. It provides practitioners with protection for themselves and their clients and safeguards them against any future challenges.

The session was extremely valuable for all that attended and the feedback and questions raised demonstrated the importance of this area for many practitioners within the Wills and Probate sector.

Thank you to Susan Wyatt for joining us on this occasion. Thank you also to our sponsors Estatesearch and Arken.legal for supporting Women in Wills.

The Interview Series - Episode 2 7th June

Women in Wills hosted the second episode of the Interview Series on Wednesday the 7th of June, sponsored by Arken.legal.

Pippa Shepard, head of Customer Engagement at Arken.legal, interviewed Eleanor Evans from Hugh James and Michelle Baden-Daintree from Simpson Solicitors during a discussion about their experience in the legal sector whilst offering invaluable advice to the next generation of solicitors.

The discussion was focused on the topic of “resilience” and magnified the idea that the profession is all about helping people. Both Eleanor and Michelle agreed that you should consistently “stay true to yourself” and “you can never try and be something you’re not”.

The idea of the interview series is to create a safe space where women working in wills and probate can express themselves and speak freely about matters involving mental health and many more.

Both women said that is can be difficult working with grieving families through probate or pre-death. Eleanor said:

“We do have to be resilient – sometimes we deal with awful circumstances and people may take it out on us. It’s really hard not to take that personally and sometimes we can take things home and get upset about it. This is OK, we are human beings at the end of the day.”

Michelle expanded on this and said that “we don’t have to be made of stone all the time, if we were then we shouldn’t be in this area – the reason we do so well is because we are just human.”

Much of the discussion was also centred around advice for the next generation of solicitors entering the profession. Eleanor said that, although it is vital to have knowledge in the area, it is more important to be organised and good with people.

The concluding message that seemed to be apparent amongst all three women was that resilience is not something you are born with, it is something that you learn whilst you grow.

WIW In-person event - 25th of May

WIW In Person Event – 25th May

Women in Wills hosted their second in person event of the year in Birmingham at Hotel Du Vin. With guest speakers Helen Forster – HTF Legal Limited and Sarah Walker – Weightmans.

Members made their way to Birmingham to enjoy a fantastic lunch, network with other women working within the Wills and Probate sector.

Alongside our fantastic guest speakers we had a brilliant group discussion on mental health. Reflecting on Mental Health Awareness Week that took place the week before we discussed what ‘poor mental health’ can look like and ways in which we can combat destructive thinking and behaviours.  We heard from some brave members of our group who shared their experience with mental health. The response and atmosphere demonstrated how supportive Women in Wills networking group is, with many members offering to be part of a SOS service to be called upon in times of need.

The afternoon finished with a charity raffle for MIND – a mental health awareness charity, the group raised over £200 in support.

WIW Virtual Event - 27th of April

Virtual Meet Up with Yasmin Hoque : Islamic Wills and Faith based Estate Planning

Women in Wills hosted a virtual meet up last Thursday with guest speaker Yasmin Hoque. Yasmin is the founding partner of AL-HQ Law & More, a faith-inspired legal practice, specialising in Islamic Wills. Yasmin qualified as a solicitor in 2010 having trained as a defendant litigator working on multimillion pound catastrophic injury, medical negligence, and commercial litigation cases with law firms such as Clyde & Co and Ashurst.

Yasmin’s presentation touched on her development away from commercial litigation towards something closer to heart. She discussed the unexpected nature of life and consequently the importance of estate planning and having difficult conversations with family members.

Yasmin shared her general tips and advice on faith-based estate planning. The group acknowledged the importance of this topic due to the growing Muslim population (revealed in the recent census, 2021).

Much of the discussion was centred around the importance of discussing elements such as marriage in faith-based estates. For example, Nikkah – the Islamic marriage contract – is not recognised as binding in English law. Yasmin discussed how wills and inheritance will be impacted based on whether the client is a spouse of a cohabiting couple.

Yasmin discussed practical considerations such as Sharia-compliant Wills, which aim to adhere to the black letter of the scripture which designates specific shares to specific inheritors. She suggested that if practitioners are writing a Sharia-compliant will the best practice is to obtain a declaration of agreement from beneficiaries.

The discussion was invaluable to our members and provided many with confidence to discuss the topic with their clients and provide greater advice.

The Interview Series - Episode 1 30th March

The Interview Series – Hosted by Arken.legal

Wow, what an amazing start to our new Interview Series, our thanks to Jade Gani for taking part. We’d recommend you have a listen and forward this on to your colleagues (especially junior colleagues) as there’s some great advice in there! Especially the part about negotiating a pay increase.

For those of you who don’t know her, Jade is the Director and Co-Founder of the Wishing Will Foundation, she’s a Director for Solicitors for the Elderly and has recently launched her own practice, Circe Law Ltd.

We talk about her journey to setting up her own business and the challenges she’s faced along the way. As well as how she navigates work whilst having invisible disabilities. We cover anxiety, imposter syndrome and burnout and we share tips on how the next generation of lawyers can navigate through too.

Please note that this episode does include some sensitive content.

Visit our page on TWP to listen to the recording: https://todayswillsandprobate.co.uk/the-interview-series-episode-1-overcoming-adversity-with-jade-gani/

WIW In-Person Event - 8th March 2023

Our first in-person event of the year, took place on International Women’s Day.

A fantastic opportunity to share experiences and hear from our incredible guest speaker Constance McDonnell.

Constance’s presentation focused on judge-led alternative dispute resolution ((A)DR) as part of the process of administering justice. The King’s Counsel discussed how the phrase “alternative” dispute resolution is outdated as this is the future of dispute resolution and its involvement should be encouraged. Sir Geoffrey Vos, Master of the Rolls since 2021, previously noted:

“Dispute resolution should be an integrated whole […] There is nothing alternative about either mediation, early neutral evaluation, or judge-led resolution.”

The importance of (A)DR is heightened amidst continued pressure and backlogs in the courts. In 2019, for example, there were two million claims issued, 300,000 were defended claims, and 65,000 ended up on trial. In a survey conducted on the remaining settled and withdrawn cases, most people said that they would prefer to not get involved in litigation. This supports the repeated claims of the Ministry of Justice that more needs to be done to encourage people to take up less adversarial options.

Attendees of the IWD event in London

Much of the discussion around the implementation of (A)DR focused on future practice involving technology, whether this be online dispute resolution or other innovative tools. Whilst the future of technology in legal disputes remains to be cemented – especially in the wills and probate sector – there was a concurrence in the room that what can be implemented in the meantime is more compulsory (A)DR, a push on mediation before individuals attend court, and further training and education for professionals and future lawyers.

The remaining discussion over the afternoon centred around these ideas and the role of women in dispute resolution. Constance informed the group that 90% of people are choosing male barristers and solicitors to conduct private financial dispute resolution (FDR), which naturally ignited a very interesting conversation amongst those in the room.

The fantastic afternoon spent celebrating International Women’s Day was capped off by the raising of £170 for Catalyst – International Women’s Day Charity of Choice since 2017.

WIW In-Person Event - 17th November 2022

We concluded our 2022 regional tour with a trip to Manchester.

Connections were made and friendships strengthened alongside excellent presentations from Amanda Harris, Author and Will Writer, alh Legal,  and Heidi Jenkins, Senior Account Manager, Estatesearch.

Attendees raised a fantastic £210 for the Nystagmus Network.

WIW Virtual Event - 27th October 2022

At the October virtual meetup we heard from Fiona Hathorn and Kelly Reid on the suitability and opportunities for private client professionals to become Non Executive Directors.

WIW Virtual Event - 29th September 2022

At the September virtual meetup we heard from Leah Steele, Burnout and Resilience Trainer, Searching for Serenity.

Leah delivered a fascinating session focused on career sustainability – how to make your career more rewarding, less stressful and something we can manage for the long term.

You can read the full write up from the September meetup here.

WIW Summer Social - 3rd August 2022

We hosted our first summer social in tropical Birmingham and celebrated women’s sport at the Commonwealth Games followed by afternoon tea. An informal event bringing together 20 women from across the industry, sharing knowledge and strengthening relationships.

WIW Virtual Event- 21st July 2022

At the July virtual meetup we hosted a legaltech panel discussion with Rob Hosier,  inCase, Sarah Keegan, The CS Partnership, Emma Baddaley, Estatesearch and Pippa Shepherd, arken.legal.

Technology has the power to infuriate as much as it has the power to transform. The discussion focused on three key areas, technology and process, culture and communication.

You can read the write up from the July meet up here.

WIW Virtual Event- 30th June 2022

At the June virtual meetup we were joined by  Samantha Kimber, Probate Researcher and Genealogist, Pro-Gen Research and Michael Edwards, Group Business Director, Property Solutions Group who delivered fantastic presentations and provided insights in to genealogy and the current property market.

You can read the write up from the June meet up here.

WIW In-Person Event- 26th May 2022

Our regional tour continued with a trip to the South West.

Connections were made and friendships strengthened alongside excellent presentations from Lucy Gill, Partner at Foot Anstey and Nicola Clarke, CEO, Balloons Charity.

Lucy explained legacy management and legacy income, as well as the role of a Legacy Management Officer. This involved a detailed appraisal of what they do and the part they play in estimating legacy income.

Issues surrounding contentious matters were also explored, with Lucy running through the key considerations for executors and trustees. She went on to explain property sales and charities, including the role of the Charities Act and Section 119 reports. She concluded the session with a Q&A with attendees.

The charity supported at this event was Balloons, for whom £150 was raised. Balloons works with pre-bereaved and post-bereaved children, young people and their families in Exeter, Mid and East Devon.

WIW In-Person Event- 24th March 2022

Our 2022 regional tour began in London with 20 wonderful women joining us for an afternoon of networking, and fantastic presentations.

First up, Constance McDonnell QC, Barrister at Serle Court.

Constance shared her experiences as a barrister, and provided an insight in to predatory marriage and the proposed reforms to s.18 of the Wills Act.

We then heard from Emily Chalke, Co Founder at Ella’s Charity, who we raised money for through a charity raffle.

WIW Virtual Event- 24th February 2022

At the February meetup we welcomed two excellent guest speakers to discuss two very important and poignant topics surfacing in the industry recently.

First up was Rebekah Marangon, a lecturer in law at the University of Derby, who discussed the journey of qualifying as a solicitor through SQE. Under the new SQE route to qualifying Rebekah highlighted the differences between SQE and the traditional LPC, and also discussed the marked diversity gaps that latest SQE results have revealed, which have also been the subject of recent widespread media discussion.

Our second speaker was Grace Gwynne, Barrister at No5 Chambers in Birmingham, who gave an inspirational first-hand account of the difficulties that she overcame to achieve her pupillage. Grace also told of the barriers and sexism within the industry that, as a young female barrister, she still shockingly encounters today. Despite these encounters, Grace’s talk focussed on all of the positive actions that she took and still takes to this day to level the playing field and call out unacceptable behaviours.

The group was full of praise and support for both speakers, thanking them for their informative and insightful presentations.

WIW Virtual Event- 13th January 2022

We kick started our 2022 virtual meetup with a jam packed session from Lysette Offley, Memory and Mindset Coach, Genius Material.

The presentations were pre-recorded and are available to watch back here.

WIW Virtual Event- 9th December 2021

Our final virtual session of the year saw us don some Christmas sparkle and reflect on the past year, sharing success stories and highlights both professionally and on a personal level.

A highlight for many of the group was the Women in Wills in-person networking event in September and The British Wills and Probate Awards 2021.

WIW Virtual Event- 18th November 2021

At the November Women in Wills virtual meeting we were joined by Tim Farmer, Clinical Director and Co-Founder, Comentis & Jacqueline Emmerson, Solicitor and Managing Director, Emmersons Solicitors who gave insightful presentations on Mental Capacity Assessments and vulnerable clients.

WIW Virtual Event- 28th October 2021

At the October Women in Wills virtual meeting we spoke to Jayne Shawcross, Marketing Director, CLS Property Insight.

Jayne covered some of the main areas for marketing a Law Firm that specialises in Wills and Probate, with tips to understand how all the moving parts fit together. You can view Jayne’s presentation here.

We also talked to some of our British Wills and Probate Awards winners, sponsors and one of this years judges who shared experiences and tips for next year.

WIW Virtual Event- 30th September 2021

At the September Women in Wills virtual meeting we spoke to Elizabeth Rimmer, LawCare and Paige Gouldthorpe, Fosters Solicitors about burnout and anxiety.

Elizabeth shared findings from their recent Life in the Law research study. There was a focus on how although the data was depressing,  there was a real emphasis on doing something about it which sparked the positive discussion and sharing of tips in a group discussion.

WIW In-Person Event- 16th September 2021

20 wonderful women joined us in sunny Birmingham for an afternoon of networking and plenty of laughs.

We had incredible presentations from Ben Wagenaar, Head of Innovation and Technology at the SRA and Jade Gani, Head of Wills and Probate, Aston Bond.

It was so lovely to be out of the office and see how your friendships have flourished over the last 18-months and your genuine desire to support and learn from each other.

We also raised £305 for our chosen charity Ella’s via a raffle.

WIW Virtual Event- 26th August 2021

At the August Women in Wills virtual meeting we discussed a delicate subject that is close to so many hearts, dementia.

Ann-Marie Shine-Newton from Stanford Legal, gave us an incredibly thought provoking talk around the topic. Delving in to how the disease is caused, symptoms and what it can mean for people.  Promoting how Dementia Action Alliance can help those affected with their virtual sessions and community help, she also focused on other groups such as Dementia Friendly and how it can help support businesses and organisations and help them to navigate this illness.

Amanda Coates, qualified freelance solicitor, and STEP Associate gave a particularly engaging account of the ‘bookshelf analogy’. She told the group how the bookshelf is a symbolic representation of a person’s mind, the books on the bottom of the shelf representing a persons childhood and the books at the top representing the here and now. If the case were to be shook, the books from the top would fall first, symbolising short term memory loss.

You can read the full write up from the August meet up here.

WIW Virtual Event- 29th July 2021

At the July Women in Wills virtual meeting we heard from two inspirational speakers.

Gill Steel, renowned legal trainer, discussed the impact of social isolation on our brains, a well timed discussion following the challenges we have all faced over the past two years in a global pandemic, in which most of us have been confined to our own space and adapting to working from home.  

Insightful as ever, Gill invited lots of group discussion and engagement, asking questions about online learning when working from home, as well as how sleep and distraction affect our learning.  

Gill was followed by June Potts, Business Consultant from Menopause 360, who  gave a passionate account of how menopause can have a negative effect on women during their working life. She discussed the effect menopause can have on a woman’s mental and physical self and the work she is doing to raise awareness within organisations. With an ever-ageing workforce Menopause 360 help organisations to embrace menopause awareness and educate them in such matters.  

You can read the full write up from the July meet up here.

The presentations from the session can be downloaded here.

WIW Virtual Event- 24th June 2021

At the June Women in Wills virtual meeting we heard from Claire Cox, Solicitor at Hedges Law who provided a very interesting account of a case she has recently dealt with around ‘the rule against double portions’. Claire invited group participation as to whether others have come across it and how we can help client’s avoid disputes such as this in future. 

Louise Sackey, Contentious Probate Solicitor at IDR Law then led a discussion around flexibility in the workplace, and this went on to reveal a plethora of professional and personal feelings around this topic.  A topic that is hugely prevalent now, as things return to the ‘new normal’ more of us are faced with the dilemma of returning to the office following a year of working from home.

You can read the full write up from the June meet up here.

WIW Virtual Event- 20th May 2021

The latest Women in Wills virtual meeting brought home the reality of cyber security, with one delegate revealing that she had almost fallen foul of a sophisticated cyber attack.

We had updates from Stephen Burgess, Family/Probate Jurisdictional and Operational Support Manager for HM Courts and Tribunals and Bryan O’Sullivan Cyber Security Analyst at the Practical Vision Network.

WIW Virtual Event- 22nd April 2021

At the fourth Women in Wills event of 2021 professionals joined for a welcome distraction by sharing updates and experiences and enjoyed insightful contentious probate presentations.

You can read the full write up from the April meet up here.

WIW Virtual Event- 25th March 2021

We were delighted to be joined by Simona Hamblet who is a Leadership Coach for Solicitors. Helping lawyers create profitable firms, personal success, & happier lives.

Simona spoke to us about psychology and mindset, which can interfere with applying for roles. Including imposter phenomenon, guilt (especially working parents), feeling good enough, applying for roles without having all the ‘skills’ and being comfortable with money. She will be focusing on how, with these new insights, and a few tips, we can approach recruitment with greater confidence.

We were also joined by Kelly Reid at Realm Recruit who since early 2018 has worked exclusively within the private client market and was our guest appearance sponsor for todays women in wills meeting. Kelly provided an insight on how she can help to develop careers and sustainably grow law firms.

The meeting was held by Heidi Jenkins from Lawyer Checker and if you would like more information please do click here. 

WIW Virtual Event- 25th February 2021

We were pleased to welcome Shidul Hoque from the Office of the Public Guardian along with his colleague Aman Gill who discussed the current challenges and expectations, how lawyers can communicate and what systems they have in place along with what they have coming up for 2021

WIW Virtual Event- 28th January 2021

We welcomed a wonderful group of panel speakers; Pippa Shepherd from Arken.legal, Kylie Simmonds-Cox from Sterling Trust Law, Sarah Walker from Weightmans and Eleanor Evans from Hugh James who provided their insights on the levels of enquiries for will writing services in early 2021.

WIW Virtual Event- 10th December 2020

At our Christmas meet up we got together to have a few glasses of fizz to celebrate 2020.

As we were still unable to meet face to face, we had a few drinks virtually and as this was our last meeting of the year, we all dressed up and got in the festive spirit!

WIW Virtual Event- 19th November 2020

We welcomed Emma Baddaley from Inheritance Data, Janina Porter from Pinel Advocates, Doug Roberts from Exizent and Julie Wilson from Settld who provided us with an industry insight.

WIW Virtual Event- 29th October 2020

We welcomed Rita Leat from the Institute of Paralegals to provide an update along with Kelly Forrester a resilience and growth leader who spoke to the ladies about her personal story, and strength.

WIW Virtual Event- 1st October 2020

We welcomed Simon McCrum author of the new book, The Perfect Legal Business who provided an update. Along with Vicky Wilson from Settld, Emma Baddaley from Inheritance Data and Janina Porter from Advocate Pinels.

We also posed the questions around should employers give bereavement leave and how could leave be decided?

WIW Virtual Event- 10th September 2020

We welcomed Juliet Brook from the Wills & Equity Committee at the Law Society, Paige Gouldthorpe from Cozen-Hardy and Claire Miller from Langton Genealogy to provide industry insights.

Our discussion topic was on if we have experienced any issues with banks releasing estate funds when they haven’t had authority to?

WIW Virtual Event- 20th August 2020

We welcomed Stephanie Kerr from Brabners along with Rosie Todd from Stevens & Bolton to provide industry insights.

Our discussion topic was on whether as a company or individually our members felt they had hit the reset button?

WIW Virtual Event- 18th June 2020

We welcomed Lucy Denton and Afshaan Hena from the Office of Public Guardian to update the group on the challenges and innovations they have experienced over the last 3 months and to answer members questions.

WIW Exeter - 6th February 2020

WIW London - 4th December 2019

WIW Birmingham - 2nd October 2019

Virtual Meet Up with Yasmin Hoque

Virtual Meet Up with Yasmin Hoque : Islamic Wills and Faith based Estate Planning

Women in Wills hosted a virtual meet up last Thursday with guest speaker Yasmin Hoque. Yasmin is the founding partner of AL-HQ Law & More, a faith-inspired legal practice, specialising in Islamic Wills. Yasmin qualified as a solicitor in 2010 having trained as a defendant litigator working on multimillion pound catastrophic injury, medical negligence, and commercial litigation cases with law firms such as Clyde & Co and Ashurst.

Yasmin’s presentation touched on her development away from commercial litigation towards something closer to heart. She discussed the unexpected nature of life and consequently the importance of estate planning and having difficult conversations with family members.

Yasmin shared her general tips and advice on faith-based estate planning. The group acknowledged the importance of this topic due to the growing Muslim population (revealed in the recent census, 2021).

Much of the discussion was centred around the importance of discussing elements such as marriage in faith-based estates. For example, Nikkah – the Islamic marriage contract – is not recognised as binding in English law. Yasmin discussed how wills and inheritance will be impacted based on whether the client is a spouse of a cohabiting couple.

Yasmin discussed practical considerations such as Sharia-compliant Wills, which aim to adhere to the black letter of the scripture which designates specific shares to specific inheritors. She suggested that if practitioners are writing a Sharia-compliant will the best practice is to obtain a declaration of agreement from beneficiaries.

The discussion was invaluable to our members and provided many with confidence to discuss the topic with their clients and provide greater advice.

The Interview Series - Episode 1

The Interview Series – Hosted by Arken.legal

Wow, what an amazing start to our new Interview Series, our thanks to Jade Gani for taking part. We’d recommend you have a listen and forward this on to your colleagues (especially junior colleagues) as there’s some great advice in there! Especially the part about negotiating a pay increase.

For those of you who don’t know her, Jade is the Director and Co-Founder of the Wishing Will Foundation, she’s a Director for Solicitors for the Elderly and has recently launched her own practice, Circe Law Ltd.

We talk about her journey to setting up her own business and the challenges she’s faced along the way. As well as how she navigates work whilst having invisible disabilities. We cover anxiety, imposter syndrome and burnout and we share tips on how the next generation of lawyers can navigate through too.

Please note that this episode does include some sensitive content.

Visit our page on TWP to listen to the recording: https://todayswillsandprobate.co.uk/the-interview-series-episode-1-overcoming-adversity-with-jade-gani/

WIW In-Person Event - 8th March 2023

Our first in-person event of the year, took place on International Women’s Day.

A fantastic opportunity to share experiences and hear from our incredible guest speaker Constance McDonnell.

Constance’s presentation focused on judge-led alternative dispute resolution ((A)DR) as part of the process of administering justice. The King’s Counsel discussed how the phrase “alternative” dispute resolution is outdated as this is the future of dispute resolution and its involvement should be encouraged. Sir Geoffrey Vos, Master of the Rolls since 2021, previously noted:

“Dispute resolution should be an integrated whole […] There is nothing alternative about either mediation, early neutral evaluation, or judge-led resolution.”

The importance of (A)DR is heightened amidst continued pressure and backlogs in the courts. In 2019, for example, there were two million claims issued, 300,000 were defended claims, and 65,000 ended up on trial. In a survey conducted on the remaining settled and withdrawn cases, most people said that they would prefer to not get involved in litigation. This supports the repeated claims of the Ministry of Justice that more needs to be done to encourage people to take up less adversarial options.

Attendees of the IWD event in London

Much of the discussion around the implementation of (A)DR focused on future practice involving technology, whether this be online dispute resolution or other innovative tools. Whilst the future of technology in legal disputes remains to be cemented – especially in the wills and probate sector – there was a concurrence in the room that what can be implemented in the meantime is more compulsory (A)DR, a push on mediation before individuals attend court, and further training and education for professionals and future lawyers.

The remaining discussion over the afternoon centred around these ideas and the role of women in dispute resolution. Constance informed the group that 90% of people are choosing male barristers and solicitors to conduct private financial dispute resolution (FDR), which naturally ignited a very interesting conversation amongst those in the room.

The fantastic afternoon spent celebrating International Women’s Day was capped off by the raising of £170 for Catalyst – International Women’s Day Charity of Choice since 2017.

WIW In-Person Event - 17th November 2022

We concluded our 2022 regional tour with a trip to Manchester.

Connections were made and friendships strengthened alongside excellent presentations from Amanda Harris, Author and Will Writer, alh Legal,  and Heidi Jenkins, Senior Account Manager, Estatesearch.

Attendees raised a fantastic £210 for the Nystagmus Network.

WIW Virtual Event - 27th October 2022

At the October virtual meetup we heard from Fiona Hathorn and Kelly Reid on the suitability and opportunities for private client professionals to become Non Executive Directors.

WIW Virtual Event - 29th September 2022

At the September virtual meetup we heard from Leah Steele, Burnout and Resilience Trainer, Searching for Serenity.

Leah delivered a fascinating session focused on career sustainability – how to make your career more rewarding, less stressful and something we can manage for the long term.

You can read the full write up from the September meetup here.

WIW Summer Social - 3rd August 2022

We hosted our first summer social in tropical Birmingham and celebrated women’s sport at the Commonwealth Games followed by afternoon tea. An informal event bringing together 20 women from across the industry, sharing knowledge and strengthening relationships.

WIW Virtual Event- 21st July 2022

At the July virtual meetup we hosted a legaltech panel discussion with Rob Hosier,  inCase, Sarah Keegan, The CS Partnership, Emma Baddaley, Estatesearch and Pippa Shepherd, arken.legal.

Technology has the power to infuriate as much as it has the power to transform. The discussion focused on three key areas, technology and process, culture and communication.

You can read the write up from the July meet up here.

WIW Virtual Event- 30th June 2022

At the June virtual meetup we were joined by  Samantha Kimber, Probate Researcher and Genealogist, Pro-Gen Research and Michael Edwards, Group Business Director, Property Solutions Group who delivered fantastic presentations and provided insights in to genealogy and the current property market.

You can read the write up from the June meet up here.

WIW In-Person Event- 26th May 2022

Our regional tour continued with a trip to the South West.

Connections were made and friendships strengthened alongside excellent presentations from Lucy Gill, Partner at Foot Anstey and Nicola Clarke, CEO, Balloons Charity.

Lucy explained legacy management and legacy income, as well as the role of a Legacy Management Officer. This involved a detailed appraisal of what they do and the part they play in estimating legacy income.

Issues surrounding contentious matters were also explored, with Lucy running through the key considerations for executors and trustees. She went on to explain property sales and charities, including the role of the Charities Act and Section 119 reports. She concluded the session with a Q&A with attendees.

The charity supported at this event was Balloons, for whom £150 was raised. Balloons works with pre-bereaved and post-bereaved children, young people and their families in Exeter, Mid and East Devon.

WIW In-Person Event- 24th March 2022

Our 2022 regional tour began in London with 20 wonderful women joining us for an afternoon of networking, and fantastic presentations.

First up, Constance McDonnell QC, Barrister at Serle Court.

Constance shared her experiences as a barrister, and provided an insight in to predatory marriage and the proposed reforms to s.18 of the Wills Act.

We then heard from Emily Chalke, Co Founder at Ella’s Charity, who we raised money for through a charity raffle.

WIW Virtual Event- 24th February 2022

At the February meetup we welcomed two excellent guest speakers to discuss two very important and poignant topics surfacing in the industry recently.

First up was Rebekah Marangon, a lecturer in law at the University of Derby, who discussed the journey of qualifying as a solicitor through SQE. Under the new SQE route to qualifying Rebekah highlighted the differences between SQE and the traditional LPC, and also discussed the marked diversity gaps that latest SQE results have revealed, which have also been the subject of recent widespread media discussion.

Our second speaker was Grace Gwynne, Barrister at No5 Chambers in Birmingham, who gave an inspirational first-hand account of the difficulties that she overcame to achieve her pupillage. Grace also told of the barriers and sexism within the industry that, as a young female barrister, she still shockingly encounters today. Despite these encounters, Grace’s talk focussed on all of the positive actions that she took and still takes to this day to level the playing field and call out unacceptable behaviours.

The group was full of praise and support for both speakers, thanking them for their informative and insightful presentations.

WIW Virtual Event- 13th January 2022

We kick started our 2022 virtual meetup with a jam packed session from Lysette Offley, Memory and Mindset Coach, Genius Material.

The presentations were pre-recorded and are available to watch back here.

WIW Virtual Event- 9th December 2021

Our final virtual session of the year saw us don some Christmas sparkle and reflect on the past year, sharing success stories and highlights both professionally and on a personal level.

A highlight for many of the group was the Women in Wills in-person networking event in September and The British Wills and Probate Awards 2021.

WIW Virtual Event- 18th November 2021

At the November Women in Wills virtual meeting we were joined by Tim Farmer, Clinical Director and Co-Founder, Comentis & Jacqueline Emmerson, Solicitor and Managing Director, Emmersons Solicitors who gave insightful presentations on Mental Capacity Assessments and vulnerable clients.

WIW Virtual Event- 28th October 2021

At the October Women in Wills virtual meeting we spoke to Jayne Shawcross, Marketing Director, CLS Property Insight.

Jayne covered some of the main areas for marketing a Law Firm that specialises in Wills and Probate, with tips to understand how all the moving parts fit together. You can view Jayne’s presentation here.

We also talked to some of our British Wills and Probate Awards winners, sponsors and one of this years judges who shared experiences and tips for next year.

WIW Virtual Event- 30th September 2021

At the September Women in Wills virtual meeting we spoke to Elizabeth Rimmer, LawCare and Paige Gouldthorpe, Fosters Solicitors about burnout and anxiety.

Elizabeth shared findings from their recent Life in the Law research study. There was a focus on how although the data was depressing,  there was a real emphasis on doing something about it which sparked the positive discussion and sharing of tips in a group discussion.

WIW In-Person Event- 16th September 2021

20 wonderful women joined us in sunny Birmingham for an afternoon of networking and plenty of laughs.

We had incredible presentations from Ben Wagenaar, Head of Innovation and Technology at the SRA and Jade Gani, Head of Wills and Probate, Aston Bond.

It was so lovely to be out of the office and see how your friendships have flourished over the last 18-months and your genuine desire to support and learn from each other.

We also raised £305 for our chosen charity Ella’s via a raffle.

WIW Virtual Event- 26th August 2021

At the August Women in Wills virtual meeting we discussed a delicate subject that is close to so many hearts, dementia.

Ann-Marie Shine-Newton from Stanford Legal, gave us an incredibly thought provoking talk around the topic. Delving in to how the disease is caused, symptoms and what it can mean for people.  Promoting how Dementia Action Alliance can help those affected with their virtual sessions and community help, she also focused on other groups such as Dementia Friendly and how it can help support businesses and organisations and help them to navigate this illness.

Amanda Coates, qualified freelance solicitor, and STEP Associate gave a particularly engaging account of the ‘bookshelf analogy’. She told the group how the bookshelf is a symbolic representation of a person’s mind, the books on the bottom of the shelf representing a persons childhood and the books at the top representing the here and now. If the case were to be shook, the books from the top would fall first, symbolising short term memory loss.

You can read the full write up from the August meet up here.

WIW Virtual Event- 29th July 2021

At the July Women in Wills virtual meeting we heard from two inspirational speakers.

Gill Steel, renowned legal trainer, discussed the impact of social isolation on our brains, a well timed discussion following the challenges we have all faced over the past two years in a global pandemic, in which most of us have been confined to our own space and adapting to working from home.  

Insightful as ever, Gill invited lots of group discussion and engagement, asking questions about online learning when working from home, as well as how sleep and distraction affect our learning.  

Gill was followed by June Potts, Business Consultant from Menopause 360, who  gave a passionate account of how menopause can have a negative effect on women during their working life. She discussed the effect menopause can have on a woman’s mental and physical self and the work she is doing to raise awareness within organisations. With an ever-ageing workforce Menopause 360 help organisations to embrace menopause awareness and educate them in such matters.  

You can read the full write up from the July meet up here.

The presentations from the session can be downloaded here.

WIW Virtual Event- 24th June 2021

At the June Women in Wills virtual meeting we heard from Claire Cox, Solicitor at Hedges Law who provided a very interesting account of a case she has recently dealt with around ‘the rule against double portions’. Claire invited group participation as to whether others have come across it and how we can help client’s avoid disputes such as this in future. 

Louise Sackey, Contentious Probate Solicitor at IDR Law then led a discussion around flexibility in the workplace, and this went on to reveal a plethora of professional and personal feelings around this topic.  A topic that is hugely prevalent now, as things return to the ‘new normal’ more of us are faced with the dilemma of returning to the office following a year of working from home.

You can read the full write up from the June meet up here.

WIW Virtual Event- 20th May 2021

The latest Women in Wills virtual meeting brought home the reality of cyber security, with one delegate revealing that she had almost fallen foul of a sophisticated cyber attack.

We had updates from Stephen Burgess, Family/Probate Jurisdictional and Operational Support Manager for HM Courts and Tribunals and Bryan O’Sullivan Cyber Security Analyst at the Practical Vision Network.

WIW Virtual Event- 22nd April 2021

At the fourth Women in Wills event of 2021 professionals joined for a welcome distraction by sharing updates and experiences and enjoyed insightful contentious probate presentations.

You can read the full write up from the April meet up here.

WIW Virtual Event- 25th March 2021

We were delighted to be joined by Simona Hamblet who is a Leadership Coach for Solicitors. Helping lawyers create profitable firms, personal success, & happier lives.

Simona spoke to us about psychology and mindset, which can interfere with applying for roles. Including imposter phenomenon, guilt (especially working parents), feeling good enough, applying for roles without having all the ‘skills’ and being comfortable with money. She will be focusing on how, with these new insights, and a few tips, we can approach recruitment with greater confidence.

We were also joined by Kelly Reid at Realm Recruit who since early 2018 has worked exclusively within the private client market and was our guest appearance sponsor for todays women in wills meeting. Kelly provided an insight on how she can help to develop careers and sustainably grow law firms.

The meeting was held by Heidi Jenkins from Lawyer Checker and if you would like more information please do click here. 

WIW Virtual Event- 25th February 2021

We were pleased to welcome Shidul Hoque from the Office of the Public Guardian along with his colleague Aman Gill who discussed the current challenges and expectations, how lawyers can communicate and what systems they have in place along with what they have coming up for 2021

WIW Virtual Event- 28th January 2021

We welcomed a wonderful group of panel speakers; Pippa Shepherd from Arken.legal, Kylie Simmonds-Cox from Sterling Trust Law, Sarah Walker from Weightmans and Eleanor Evans from Hugh James who provided their insights on the levels of enquiries for will writing services in early 2021.

WIW Virtual Event- 10th December 2020

At our Christmas meet up we got together to have a few glasses of fizz to celebrate 2020.

As we were still unable to meet face to face, we had a few drinks virtually and as this was our last meeting of the year, we all dressed up and got in the festive spirit!

WIW Virtual Event- 19th November 2020

We welcomed Emma Baddaley from Inheritance Data, Janina Porter from Pinel Advocates, Doug Roberts from Exizent and Julie Wilson from Settld who provided us with an industry insight.

WIW Virtual Event- 29th October 2020

We welcomed Rita Leat from the Institute of Paralegals to provide an update along with Kelly Forrester a resilience and growth leader who spoke to the ladies about her personal story, and strength.

WIW Virtual Event- 1st October 2020

We welcomed Simon McCrum author of the new book, The Perfect Legal Business who provided an update. Along with Vicky Wilson from Settld, Emma Baddaley from Inheritance Data and Janina Porter from Advocate Pinels.

We also posed the questions around should employers give bereavement leave and how could leave be decided?

WIW Virtual Event- 10th September 2020

We welcomed Juliet Brook from the Wills & Equity Committee at the Law Society, Paige Gouldthorpe from Cozen-Hardy and Claire Miller from Langton Genealogy to provide industry insights.

Our discussion topic was on if we have experienced any issues with banks releasing estate funds when they haven’t had authority to?

WIW Virtual Event- 20th August 2020

We welcomed Stephanie Kerr from Brabners along with Rosie Todd from Stevens & Bolton to provide industry insights.

Our discussion topic was on whether as a company or individually our members felt they had hit the reset button?

WIW Virtual Event- 18th June 2020

We welcomed Lucy Denton and Afshaan Hena from the Office of Public Guardian to update the group on the challenges and innovations they have experienced over the last 3 months and to answer members questions.

WIW Exeter - 6th February 2020

WIW London - 4th December 2019

WIW Birmingham - 2nd October 2019

Virtual Meet Up with Yasmin Hoque

Virtual Meet Up with Yasmin Hoque : Islamic Wills and Faith based Estate Planning

Women in Wills hosted a virtual meet up last Thursday with guest speaker Yasmin Hoque. Yasmin is the founding partner of AL-HQ Law & More, a faith-inspired legal practice, specialising in Islamic Wills. Yasmin qualified as a solicitor in 2010 having trained as a defendant litigator working on multimillion pound catastrophic injury, medical negligence, and commercial litigation cases with law firms such as Clyde & Co and Ashurst.

Yasmin’s presentation touched on her development away from commercial litigation towards something closer to heart. She discussed the unexpected nature of life and consequently the importance of estate planning and having difficult conversations with family members.

Yasmin shared her general tips and advice on faith-based estate planning. The group acknowledged the importance of this topic due to the growing Muslim population (revealed in the recent census, 2021).

Much of the discussion was centred around the importance of discussing elements such as marriage in faith-based estates. For example, Nikkah – the Islamic marriage contract – is not recognised as binding in English law. Yasmin discussed how wills and inheritance will be impacted based on whether the client is a spouse of a cohabiting couple.

Yasmin discussed practical considerations such as Sharia-compliant Wills, which aim to adhere to the black letter of the scripture which designates specific shares to specific inheritors. She suggested that if practitioners are writing a Sharia-compliant will the best practice is to obtain a declaration of agreement from beneficiaries.

The discussion was invaluable to our members and provided many with confidence to discuss the topic with their clients and provide greater advice.

The Interview Series - Episode 1

The Interview Series – Hosted by Arken.legal

Wow, what an amazing start to our new Interview Series, our thanks to Jade Gani for taking part. We’d recommend you have a listen and forward this on to your colleagues (especially junior colleagues) as there’s some great advice in there! Especially the part about negotiating a pay increase.

For those of you who don’t know her, Jade is the Director and Co-Founder of the Wishing Will Foundation, she’s a Director for Solicitors for the Elderly and has recently launched her own practice, Circe Law Ltd.

We talk about her journey to setting up her own business and the challenges she’s faced along the way. As well as how she navigates work whilst having invisible disabilities. We cover anxiety, imposter syndrome and burnout and we share tips on how the next generation of lawyers can navigate through too.

Please note that this episode does include some sensitive content.

Visit our page on TWP to listen to the recording: https://todayswillsandprobate.co.uk/the-interview-series-episode-1-overcoming-adversity-with-jade-gani/

WIW In-Person Event - 8th March 2023

Our first in-person event of the year, took place on International Women’s Day.

A fantastic opportunity to share experiences and hear from our incredible guest speaker Constance McDonnell.

Constance’s presentation focused on judge-led alternative dispute resolution ((A)DR) as part of the process of administering justice. The King’s Counsel discussed how the phrase “alternative” dispute resolution is outdated as this is the future of dispute resolution and its involvement should be encouraged. Sir Geoffrey Vos, Master of the Rolls since 2021, previously noted:

“Dispute resolution should be an integrated whole […] There is nothing alternative about either mediation, early neutral evaluation, or judge-led resolution.”

The importance of (A)DR is heightened amidst continued pressure and backlogs in the courts. In 2019, for example, there were two million claims issued, 300,000 were defended claims, and 65,000 ended up on trial. In a survey conducted on the remaining settled and withdrawn cases, most people said that they would prefer to not get involved in litigation. This supports the repeated claims of the Ministry of Justice that more needs to be done to encourage people to take up less adversarial options.

Attendees of the IWD event in London

Much of the discussion around the implementation of (A)DR focused on future practice involving technology, whether this be online dispute resolution or other innovative tools. Whilst the future of technology in legal disputes remains to be cemented – especially in the wills and probate sector – there was a concurrence in the room that what can be implemented in the meantime is more compulsory (A)DR, a push on mediation before individuals attend court, and further training and education for professionals and future lawyers.

The remaining discussion over the afternoon centred around these ideas and the role of women in dispute resolution. Constance informed the group that 90% of people are choosing male barristers and solicitors to conduct private financial dispute resolution (FDR), which naturally ignited a very interesting conversation amongst those in the room.

The fantastic afternoon spent celebrating International Women’s Day was capped off by the raising of £170 for Catalyst – International Women’s Day Charity of Choice since 2017.

WIW In-Person Event - 17th November 2022

We concluded our 2022 regional tour with a trip to Manchester.

Connections were made and friendships strengthened alongside excellent presentations from Amanda Harris, Author and Will Writer, alh Legal,  and Heidi Jenkins, Senior Account Manager, Estatesearch.

Attendees raised a fantastic £210 for the Nystagmus Network.

WIW Virtual Event - 27th October 2022

At the October virtual meetup we heard from Fiona Hathorn and Kelly Reid on the suitability and opportunities for private client professionals to become Non Executive Directors.

WIW Virtual Event - 29th September 2022

At the September virtual meetup we heard from Leah Steele, Burnout and Resilience Trainer, Searching for Serenity.

Leah delivered a fascinating session focused on career sustainability – how to make your career more rewarding, less stressful and something we can manage for the long term.

You can read the full write up from the September meetup here.

WIW Summer Social - 3rd August 2022

We hosted our first summer social in tropical Birmingham and celebrated women’s sport at the Commonwealth Games followed by afternoon tea. An informal event bringing together 20 women from across the industry, sharing knowledge and strengthening relationships.

WIW Virtual Event- 21st July 2022

At the July virtual meetup we hosted a legaltech panel discussion with Rob Hosier,  inCase, Sarah Keegan, The CS Partnership, Emma Baddaley, Estatesearch and Pippa Shepherd, arken.legal.

Technology has the power to infuriate as much as it has the power to transform. The discussion focused on three key areas, technology and process, culture and communication.

You can read the write up from the July meet up here.

WIW Virtual Event- 30th June 2022

At the June virtual meetup we were joined by  Samantha Kimber, Probate Researcher and Genealogist, Pro-Gen Research and Michael Edwards, Group Business Director, Property Solutions Group who delivered fantastic presentations and provided insights in to genealogy and the current property market.

You can read the write up from the June meet up here.

WIW In-Person Event- 26th May 2022

Our regional tour continued with a trip to the South West.

Connections were made and friendships strengthened alongside excellent presentations from Lucy Gill, Partner at Foot Anstey and Nicola Clarke, CEO, Balloons Charity.

Lucy explained legacy management and legacy income, as well as the role of a Legacy Management Officer. This involved a detailed appraisal of what they do and the part they play in estimating legacy income.

Issues surrounding contentious matters were also explored, with Lucy running through the key considerations for executors and trustees. She went on to explain property sales and charities, including the role of the Charities Act and Section 119 reports. She concluded the session with a Q&A with attendees.

The charity supported at this event was Balloons, for whom £150 was raised. Balloons works with pre-bereaved and post-bereaved children, young people and their families in Exeter, Mid and East Devon.

WIW In-Person Event- 24th March 2022

Our 2022 regional tour began in London with 20 wonderful women joining us for an afternoon of networking, and fantastic presentations.

First up, Constance McDonnell QC, Barrister at Serle Court.

Constance shared her experiences as a barrister, and provided an insight in to predatory marriage and the proposed reforms to s.18 of the Wills Act.

We then heard from Emily Chalke, Co Founder at Ella’s Charity, who we raised money for through a charity raffle.

WIW Virtual Event- 24th February 2022

At the February meetup we welcomed two excellent guest speakers to discuss two very important and poignant topics surfacing in the industry recently.

First up was Rebekah Marangon, a lecturer in law at the University of Derby, who discussed the journey of qualifying as a solicitor through SQE. Under the new SQE route to qualifying Rebekah highlighted the differences between SQE and the traditional LPC, and also discussed the marked diversity gaps that latest SQE results have revealed, which have also been the subject of recent widespread media discussion.

Our second speaker was Grace Gwynne, Barrister at No5 Chambers in Birmingham, who gave an inspirational first-hand account of the difficulties that she overcame to achieve her pupillage. Grace also told of the barriers and sexism within the industry that, as a young female barrister, she still shockingly encounters today. Despite these encounters, Grace’s talk focussed on all of the positive actions that she took and still takes to this day to level the playing field and call out unacceptable behaviours.

The group was full of praise and support for both speakers, thanking them for their informative and insightful presentations.

WIW Virtual Event- 13th January 2022

We kick started our 2022 virtual meetup with a jam packed session from Lysette Offley, Memory and Mindset Coach, Genius Material.

The presentations were pre-recorded and are available to watch back here.

WIW Virtual Event- 9th December 2021

Our final virtual session of the year saw us don some Christmas sparkle and reflect on the past year, sharing success stories and highlights both professionally and on a personal level.

A highlight for many of the group was the Women in Wills in-person networking event in September and The British Wills and Probate Awards 2021.

WIW Virtual Event- 18th November 2021

At the November Women in Wills virtual meeting we were joined by Tim Farmer, Clinical Director and Co-Founder, Comentis & Jacqueline Emmerson, Solicitor and Managing Director, Emmersons Solicitors who gave insightful presentations on Mental Capacity Assessments and vulnerable clients.

WIW Virtual Event- 28th October 2021

At the October Women in Wills virtual meeting we spoke to Jayne Shawcross, Marketing Director, CLS Property Insight.

Jayne covered some of the main areas for marketing a Law Firm that specialises in Wills and Probate, with tips to understand how all the moving parts fit together. You can view Jayne’s presentation here.

We also talked to some of our British Wills and Probate Awards winners, sponsors and one of this years judges who shared experiences and tips for next year.

WIW Virtual Event- 30th September 2021

At the September Women in Wills virtual meeting we spoke to Elizabeth Rimmer, LawCare and Paige Gouldthorpe, Fosters Solicitors about burnout and anxiety.

Elizabeth shared findings from their recent Life in the Law research study. There was a focus on how although the data was depressing,  there was a real emphasis on doing something about it which sparked the positive discussion and sharing of tips in a group discussion.

WIW In-Person Event- 16th September 2021

20 wonderful women joined us in sunny Birmingham for an afternoon of networking and plenty of laughs.

We had incredible presentations from Ben Wagenaar, Head of Innovation and Technology at the SRA and Jade Gani, Head of Wills and Probate, Aston Bond.

It was so lovely to be out of the office and see how your friendships have flourished over the last 18-months and your genuine desire to support and learn from each other.

We also raised £305 for our chosen charity Ella’s via a raffle.

WIW Virtual Event- 26th August 2021

At the August Women in Wills virtual meeting we discussed a delicate subject that is close to so many hearts, dementia.

Ann-Marie Shine-Newton from Stanford Legal, gave us an incredibly thought provoking talk around the topic. Delving in to how the disease is caused, symptoms and what it can mean for people.  Promoting how Dementia Action Alliance can help those affected with their virtual sessions and community help, she also focused on other groups such as Dementia Friendly and how it can help support businesses and organisations and help them to navigate this illness.

Amanda Coates, qualified freelance solicitor, and STEP Associate gave a particularly engaging account of the ‘bookshelf analogy’. She told the group how the bookshelf is a symbolic representation of a person’s mind, the books on the bottom of the shelf representing a persons childhood and the books at the top representing the here and now. If the case were to be shook, the books from the top would fall first, symbolising short term memory loss.

You can read the full write up from the August meet up here.

WIW Virtual Event- 29th July 2021

At the July Women in Wills virtual meeting we heard from two inspirational speakers.

Gill Steel, renowned legal trainer, discussed the impact of social isolation on our brains, a well timed discussion following the challenges we have all faced over the past two years in a global pandemic, in which most of us have been confined to our own space and adapting to working from home.  

Insightful as ever, Gill invited lots of group discussion and engagement, asking questions about online learning when working from home, as well as how sleep and distraction affect our learning.  

Gill was followed by June Potts, Business Consultant from Menopause 360, who  gave a passionate account of how menopause can have a negative effect on women during their working life. She discussed the effect menopause can have on a woman’s mental and physical self and the work she is doing to raise awareness within organisations. With an ever-ageing workforce Menopause 360 help organisations to embrace menopause awareness and educate them in such matters.  

You can read the full write up from the July meet up here.

The presentations from the session can be downloaded here.

WIW Virtual Event- 24th June 2021

At the June Women in Wills virtual meeting we heard from Claire Cox, Solicitor at Hedges Law who provided a very interesting account of a case she has recently dealt with around ‘the rule against double portions’. Claire invited group participation as to whether others have come across it and how we can help client’s avoid disputes such as this in future. 

Louise Sackey, Contentious Probate Solicitor at IDR Law then led a discussion around flexibility in the workplace, and this went on to reveal a plethora of professional and personal feelings around this topic.  A topic that is hugely prevalent now, as things return to the ‘new normal’ more of us are faced with the dilemma of returning to the office following a year of working from home.

You can read the full write up from the June meet up here.

WIW Virtual Event- 20th May 2021

The latest Women in Wills virtual meeting brought home the reality of cyber security, with one delegate revealing that she had almost fallen foul of a sophisticated cyber attack.

We had updates from Stephen Burgess, Family/Probate Jurisdictional and Operational Support Manager for HM Courts and Tribunals and Bryan O’Sullivan Cyber Security Analyst at the Practical Vision Network.

WIW Virtual Event- 22nd April 2021

At the fourth Women in Wills event of 2021 professionals joined for a welcome distraction by sharing updates and experiences and enjoyed insightful contentious probate presentations.

You can read the full write up from the April meet up here.

WIW Virtual Event- 25th March 2021

We were delighted to be joined by Simona Hamblet who is a Leadership Coach for Solicitors. Helping lawyers create profitable firms, personal success, & happier lives.

Simona spoke to us about psychology and mindset, which can interfere with applying for roles. Including imposter phenomenon, guilt (especially working parents), feeling good enough, applying for roles without having all the ‘skills’ and being comfortable with money. She will be focusing on how, with these new insights, and a few tips, we can approach recruitment with greater confidence.

We were also joined by Kelly Reid at Realm Recruit who since early 2018 has worked exclusively within the private client market and was our guest appearance sponsor for todays women in wills meeting. Kelly provided an insight on how she can help to develop careers and sustainably grow law firms.

The meeting was held by Heidi Jenkins from Lawyer Checker and if you would like more information please do click here. 

WIW Virtual Event- 25th February 2021

We were pleased to welcome Shidul Hoque from the Office of the Public Guardian along with his colleague Aman Gill who discussed the current challenges and expectations, how lawyers can communicate and what systems they have in place along with what they have coming up for 2021

WIW Virtual Event- 28th January 2021

We welcomed a wonderful group of panel speakers; Pippa Shepherd from Arken.legal, Kylie Simmonds-Cox from Sterling Trust Law, Sarah Walker from Weightmans and Eleanor Evans from Hugh James who provided their insights on the levels of enquiries for will writing services in early 2021.

WIW Virtual Event- 10th December 2020

At our Christmas meet up we got together to have a few glasses of fizz to celebrate 2020.

As we were still unable to meet face to face, we had a few drinks virtually and as this was our last meeting of the year, we all dressed up and got in the festive spirit!

WIW Virtual Event- 19th November 2020

We welcomed Emma Baddaley from Inheritance Data, Janina Porter from Pinel Advocates, Doug Roberts from Exizent and Julie Wilson from Settld who provided us with an industry insight.

WIW Virtual Event- 29th October 2020

We welcomed Rita Leat from the Institute of Paralegals to provide an update along with Kelly Forrester a resilience and growth leader who spoke to the ladies about her personal story, and strength.

WIW Virtual Event- 1st October 2020

We welcomed Simon McCrum author of the new book, The Perfect Legal Business who provided an update. Along with Vicky Wilson from Settld, Emma Baddaley from Inheritance Data and Janina Porter from Advocate Pinels.

We also posed the questions around should employers give bereavement leave and how could leave be decided?

WIW Virtual Event- 10th September 2020

We welcomed Juliet Brook from the Wills & Equity Committee at the Law Society, Paige Gouldthorpe from Cozen-Hardy and Claire Miller from Langton Genealogy to provide industry insights.

Our discussion topic was on if we have experienced any issues with banks releasing estate funds when they haven’t had authority to?

WIW Virtual Event- 20th August 2020

We welcomed Stephanie Kerr from Brabners along with Rosie Todd from Stevens & Bolton to provide industry insights.

Our discussion topic was on whether as a company or individually our members felt they had hit the reset button?

WIW Virtual Event- 18th June 2020

We welcomed Lucy Denton and Afshaan Hena from the Office of Public Guardian to update the group on the challenges and innovations they have experienced over the last 3 months and to answer members questions.

WIW Exeter - 6th February 2020

WIW London - 4th December 2019

WIW Birmingham - 2nd October 2019