Last week we celebrated the amazing news that our very own Head of Wills & Probate, Jade Gani, won the prestigious Young Practitioner of the Year Award at the British Wills and Probate Awards.
The awards brochure confirmed that this award is only grant to “an exceptional individual who has shown a high level of involvement and development” within the Wills & Probate sector. They classified “young” as being under the age of 35. They further confirmed that the winner had to demonstrate:-
- Exceptional Client service;
- High levels of skill and technical ability;
- A flair for innovation and championing best practice; and
- Initiative in challenging situations.
We couldn’t be more proud that, in perhaps the most challenging year for the Wills & Probate sector to date, one of our very own shone above the rest to the judges. We decided to catch up with Jade and find out how she feels following her iconic win.
How did you feel winning the awards?
“Honestly, just being shortlisted was such a massive privilege. My team put me forward for the Award and I couldn’t be more grateful. I am normally a terrible loser when it comes to fun & games because I am sometimes too competitive, however, I kept telling myself over and over on the night that either of my fellow shortlisters, Sarah or Andrew, were very tough competition and definitely worthy winners in their own right. So when the result came in I was genuinely astonished, and then very excited!
It is also a bit of a relief because my wonderful colleagues had gone to such an effort to create an amazing socially-distanced celebration type office party for me, complete with an epic balloon arch, and all the effort seemed so much more worthwhile with the win! After an extremely tough year supporting my clients and colleagues alike, it felt incredible to get the chance to celebrate something really wonderful.”
What does it mean to you to win this award?
“It is hard to put into words. It is definitely the highlight of my career so far; particularly because I am the girl who comes from the ‘rough’ part of town and we never had much money; I can’t tell you the amount of times I was effectively left without a home. During university I also became extremely poorly with Fibromyalgia and Tietze’s syndrome which meant I almost didn’t graduate. Throughout all that, I had my fair share of teachers, employers, friends and family who told me that I would never become a lawyer, never mind succeed as one!
My illnesses affected my grades at law school, and that meant a lot of rejection as a young lawyer. But Aston Bond saw something in me and gave me a chance by running my own department; it is nice to do them proud with this award. It is also sometimes a misconception that in order to get the best service, best advice and best lawyers that you have to use a city firm and pay city prices – we are a small but mighty high street firm that can clearly hold its own!”
What is it you’ve been doing this past year and what does the next year hold in store?
“Well, unfortunately with the rise in deaths due to COVID-19 we have been exceptionally busy supporting our Clients. This has been both assisting families following a bereavement as well as helping very poorly Clients to get the peace of mind they need to focus on getting well again. There have also been lots of changes in the Probate sector, such as news forms, online portals, Court delays, changes to legislation and banks throwing caution to the wind! It has been quite the job to keep up! We have even been providing free Wills to all NHS & Thames Hospice staff, as a small token of our thanks for the phenomenal work they have done, and continue to do, throughout the pandemic.
As for next year, well, we continue to grow as a department and think of new ways we can give back to the wider community as a whole. I can’t say too much just yet, but myself, Stephen (CEO) and Duncan (Director), have been working hard on a new community interest project that has charitable ideals at its heart and which we hope will go live with in the early New Year – so watch this space! It is an extremely exciting labour of love and I hope the project will be a massive success for many years to come.”
You can read more about all the British Wills & Probate Awards winners and highly commended firms and providers here: https://www.britishwillsandprobateawards.co.uk/
If you would like to know more about Jade and the team in the Private Client department, or you would like to discuss your personal affairs with them, then please do not hesitate to get in touch, either by email: email@example.com or telephone: 01753 486777.