Professor Lesley King – Judge’s Spotlight

A leading professional, author and lecturer in Wills, Trusts and Probate, Professor Lesley King, is on the judging panel for the first unique British Wills and Probate Awards 2018.

Lesley is a member of the Law Society’s Wills & Equity Committee and the Probate & Estates Committee of STEP and an honorary member of the Association of Contentious Trust and Probate Specialists. She is also a Professional Development Consultant at the University of Law and co-author of numerous books in the private client segment.

As a valued contributor to the Wills, Trusts and Probate industry, in this interview, she discusses her current role, what sparked her interest in this sector, what significant challenges the industry is facing and how service delivery could be improved.

Please could you provide us with an overview of your background and your current role?
I qualified a very long time ago and I did my articles (which shows how long ago it was) in the City and then did litigation. I went to the College of Law (as it then was) in 1976 intending to stay for a short time. Slightly to my surprise, I found I loved teaching. However, I’m not really interested in law as an academic subject, I like the practical side and teaching students you can easily lose touch with what is actually going on. I was very happy in 1980 when I started doing what in those days was called ‘Continuing Education’ and is now ‘Professional Development’.  I really love helping people keep up to date and discovering what problems people are facing in the office.

What initially sparked your interest in the sector?
It’s the combination of technical law and human interest. Reading a private client case is as good as a novel.

How do you think professionals in the Wills and Probate sector could improve their service delivery?
Better communication. It isn’t easy but so many members of the public regard lawyers as an unnecessary expense and are convinced that they can do it all themselves.

As a judge of the British Wills and Probate Awards, what will you be looking for in a winner?
Excellent technical knowledge harnessed to produce the best possible result for the client at an affordable price.

How important do you think it is to recognise achievement in the sector?
Hugely important. We need to publicise the great work that private client lawyers do.

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

  • Keeping on top of what is beginning to feel like a flood of increasingly complex regulatory requirements.
  • Convincing the public that we are offering a service which is worth paying for.
  • Organising practices to be efficient and cost effective while maintaining the quality of the product.
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