A SOLICITOR who helped give clients peace of mind during lockdown has won a top global award.
Rebecca Adams, 30, of leading legal firm Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors which has the largest team of wills estates and trust lawyers in Cumbria, achieved a prestigious STEP Worldwide Excellence Award.
Rebecca received the stand-out award for achieving the highest mark globally in her Advanced Certificate in Will Preparation as part of her four-part STEP diploma.
She follows her Cartmell Shepherd private client team colleagues Matthew Rogers and Kendra Winter, who have also received STEP Worldwide Excellence Awards in the last three years.
Deborah Flynn, Director and head of the Wills, Probate and Inheritance team at Cartmell Shepherd Solicitors, said: “It is testament to the high calibre of expertise that we have at Cartmell Shepherd that in the last three years we have three solicitors who have achieved a STEP Worldwide Excellence Award.
“These awards show that the level of technical knowledge we have across the private client department at Cartmell Shepherd is second to none which is hugely important for our clients as we handle very large and complicated estates and trusts cases nationally as well as across Cumbria and Northumberland.”
Rebecca, who juggled her full-time role as a solicitor to study for the exam over a six-month period, said: “It was difficult at times with everything going on, but it was worth it. I am really pleased with the result.
“Gaining a qualification like this definitely helps me. STEP (The Society for Trusts and Estates Practitioners) is very well respected among professionals, accountants as well as solicitors, and it enhances my technical knowledge and helps me to give clients the best possible advice.”
Rebecca has since gone on to take the second part of the diploma, the Advanced Certificate in Administration of Estates, during lockdown, and has also achieved a distinction in that exam. “For that I had to do online workshops during lockdown and had to sit my exam at the kitchen table!”
A private client solicitor working for clients on wills, administration of estates and trusts, and power of attorney, Rebecca has been working remotely throughout lockdown to help Cartmell Shepherd clients.
Rebecca, who has worked for Cartmell Shepherd for three years, is based out of the firm’s Brampton and Rosehill offices, but during the pandemic has been working from home in Carlisle, where she lives with husband Sam.
Rebecca said: “It’s worked out fine. I have my full functionality working from home, and have been able to do everything for our clients that I would have been able to do if I had been in the office.”
Where necessary she and Kendra have visited clients, at a social distance, around Carlisle, Brampton and surrounding villages, to witness signatures on important documents such as wills.
“We have made sure we follow all the necessary procedures and have been able to give our clients peace of mind, and help them during such a worrying time, by witnessing signatures through windows and across gardens. All of our clients have been exceptionally grateful that we have been able to help them,” she said.
Rebecca, who grew up in High Harrington, near Workington, was educated at Keswick School and gained a First Class Honours degree in Law and German from Lancaster University and achieved a Distinction in her Legal Practice Course (LPC) at The College of Law, Manchester.
She also has two more six-month STEP qualifications to complete before finishing her diploma. “I will be working hard to catch up with Kendra on her qualifications! She is a great role model,” she said.
Director Deborah Flynn said: “We are extremely proud of what Rebecca has accomplished. It’s a massive achievement.
“Rebecca is a fantastic member of the team. She combines outstanding technical legal knowledge with showing great empathy with clients, dealing with their estates and finances with great sensitivity at extremely difficult times for clients, such as when a loved one has died.
“Rebecca always puts her clients first and always pulls out all the stops for them. She is incredibly conscientious.
“A STEP global award is a very prestigious award. Rebecca has worked very hard to study for the STEP course and achieve such a fantastic result. The STEP course recommends studying for six hours a week during the duration of the six-month course, and this was a big commitment while still working full time for her clients during the week.
“She fully deserves this fantastic result. It’s a reflection of how technically competent, how knowledgeable, and how hard-working she is.
“She has adapted extremely well to helping clients during lockdown, and has worked hard to continue to provide a full service and give peace of mind to our clients at a time when due to the coronavirus pandemic many have been anxious and worried.”