Interview with Lucy Atwill - The Happiest Person in Legal
Tell us a bit about Curtis Whiteford Crocker and what you do there?
CWC is a medium sized high street firm based in Plymouth although we have branch offices in Tavistock and Torpoint. We have solicitors that specialise in many areas, but particularly focused on Commercial clients (commercial property, commercial law) as well as private client (residential conveyancing , family, wills and probate, contentious probate, trust, court of protection, civil litigation cases) , we also have solicitors who deal with insolvency cases ranging from individuals to large multi- million pound cases, Personal Injury, employment, landlord and tenant, and finally we have an agricultural specialist to look after our farming clients.
I am one of the equity partners and am Head of the Wills & Probate department. My role is supervise my growing team of 4 Fee earners, a trainee solicitor and support staff across our 3 offices, as well as undertake my own fee earning work.
How did you become interested in the Private Client practice area?
During my LPC I did a module in Wills & Probate which I enjoyed along with family law, and commercial. However when I did my training contract, I had to fulfil at least 3 seats in different areas of law, and spent time in Family, Personal Injury and then Wills & Probate.
It was at this point that I realised that I would prefer to be a private client solicitor as the work is more client focused, and I was not interested in a life spent in Court. During my seat in Wills & Probate I found that every day was different, and the work is so varied and touches on so many different aspects that it really challenges you. You also get to meet clients from all walks of life, and I often visit people in their home. I also like the process and administrative side of probate as I am an organised person.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Meeting with people and assisting them, particularly giving them advice or good news that we have mitigated tax.
Would you agree that you are in fact the Happiest Person in Legal?
I am lucky in that I enjoy my job and it is very rewarding, but I have managed to maintain a work-life balance too which I think some solicitors can miss out on.
Who has been your biggest influence in your career and why?
Oddly, I have wanted to be a solicitor since I was 10. My best friends mum was the managing partner of one of the larger firms in Plymouth and I fell in love with the idea of a posh office, and the importance of being a Partner in a firm, dealing with clients seeking your advice, and the salary wasn’t too bad either. Although Solicitors are seen as far more human now, than they ever used to be, Solicitors are still looked up to and clients value their opinion and there is a level of trust between a solicitor and a client which I admire.
What made you decide to go into Law?
The salary and opportunities as the Law is very diverse, and ultimately you can use this degree to go into various careers. I specifically decided to use my Law degree to become a solicitor because I decided I wanted to enter private practice as that would allow me to find work in my home town of Plymouth, it would give me a good salary which would allow me to enjoy holidays and certain luxuries, plus it is still a respected profession.
What has been your greatest achievement so far in life (personal or professional)?
Professionally – becoming an equity partner when I was 30, in May 2015.
Personally – buying a house and - the slightly boring answer, but probably running a half marathon – I’ve done it once which was enough but rewarding that I’ve actually done it.
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I am a Plymouth girl, went to University in Reading and then returned to Plymouth to undertake my LPC and decided to stay here as I love the work/life balance that I have. I like walking, socialising with friends, and baking. I also love to travel and do try to visit new places when I have time off. I have just recently bought a property with my partner and we will be spending a fair amount of time renovating/redecorating.
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