Judge Spotlight: Ian Bond

In a series of Supporters in Focus pieces, we are thrilled to introduce our Judges of The British Wills and Probate Awards 2021

Alongside headline sponsor Executor Solutions we look forward to recognising achievement, highlighting progression and championing innovation.

However, the awards couldn’t take place without the hard task of judging and shortlisting the entries. It’s not a task many would take on, but we are extremely grateful to those that have.

This week we profile Ian Bond, a returning judge to the British Wills and Probate Awards.

We’re delighted to have Ian with us for the fourth year of The British Wills & Probate Awards. First of all, tell us who you are and what you do

I am head of Wills & Estates at West Midlands based Thursfields as well as a member of the Law Society’s Wills and Equity Committee and tutor for the Administration of Trusts module for STEP. I am a practitioner first and foremost, mainly dealing with high value and complex estates, especially intestacy matters.

What initially sparked your interest in the sector?

I originally wanted to be an Employment lawyer but at law school really enjoyed the trusts and equity modules and had the opportunity to try private client work on my training contract and from that point onwards I wanted to work in trusts and estates.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in the Wills and Probate sector?

People at the early stages shouldn’t pigeon hole themselves too soon and keep an open mind about potential specialism in any one area of private client work. Private client work is wide and varied with something for everyone. I would also encourage everyone consider the breadth of opportunities that exist outside the traditional law firm careers in wills and probate.

What improvements do you think could be made to the Wills and Probate sector?

I champion the use of technology in the legal sector for the benefit of both us, as professionals, but also for our clients. Wills and Probate is no exception, and like many other areas of the law the use of technology can assist in our day-to-day roles. Covid-19 has demonstrated how technology can allow us to make changes to systems and processes but still deliver great customer service.

As a Judge of the awards, what will you be looking for to identify that winning entry?

I look for entries that demonstrate clear thought about the services they provide to customers and can show genuine imagination and creativity in their approach to the work they do. These are exciting times with lots of great entries.

How important do you think it is to recognise achievement in the sector?

Covid-19 has shone a light on the wills and probate industry and the sector has worked admirably in embracing technology and ingenious ways to carry on providing services in the face of adversity. Those who have adapted well and risen to the challenges faced should be rightly celebrated.

What are the most prominent challenges the industry is facing at the moment?

Covid-19 has changed, and will continue to change, the way that the wills and probate sector works. Once the economy reopens the challenge will be to capitalise on progress made rather than retreat to the old-ways of doing things. The wills and probate industry has within itself the power to reinvent, reform and reimagine ourselves, but only if we choose to do so.

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