COLLEAGUES of a young St Asaph solicitor with a talent for baking can look forward to more cakes now that she has gained an important international qualification.
Sarah Pierce, 31, a lawyer with legal firm Swayne Johnson based at their St Asaph office has been made a member of the worldwide Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners.
Her advanced qualifications add to the skill set at the fast-growing company which also has branches at Llandudno, Denbigh, Ruthin and Tattenhall, near Chester.
It’s been a busy couple of years for Sarah, from Prestatyn, who was married on a Cornish beach in May 2022 and she and husband Adam Owens have spent much of the last two years helping each other revise for exams as he was also studying for a Bio-Medical Science degree.
She said: “We’ve been sharing revision flash cards to help each other and thankfully it’s paid off and now we’ve had some late summer weather to relax in.”
Sarah, a fan of the Great British Bakeoff, is also planning to get back into baking which is good news for her colleagues at Swayne Johnson who can look forward to a resumption in the supply of tasty treats at their offices.
Her success also means Sarah, part of the Private Client Team at Swayne Johnson, headed by Lynette Viney-Passig, one of the company directors, is now a Trust and Estates Practitioner with STEP having gained an Advanced Diploma from her work over the last two years, much of the time spent in various states of Covid lockdown.
The course culminated in four exams, three of five hours and one of six, for the former Prestatyn High School pupil who gained a First Class Honours degree in Law at Bangor University and then took her Legal Practice Course at the University of Law at Christleton, near Chester, where she gained a Distinction.
She again came through with flying colours, with Distinctions in Will Preparation, and the Administration of Estates and Merits in the Administration of Trusts, and the Taxation of Trusts and Estates.
Sarah is fresh from organising a litter pick on St Asaph High Street, and she said: “There was a lot of litter there and pretty much all the office staff spent two hours picking it up and we’re hoping to do another soon.
“We do it during working hours as Swayne Johnson are very committed to being involved in the community and I have also done a number of talks for Marie Curie about the importance of wills and ensuring that people realise the importance of making sure their affairs are in order.
“Will-writing in particular is an unregulated activity which can be very risky and can cost a lot to put things right and unintended consequences if something has been missed out.
“It’s a hot topic at the moment with a groundswell of opinion that it should be a regulated activity and of course without a will you can end up with extremely complicated situations where there may be 30 or 40 would-be beneficiaries.”
Swayne Johnson has a tradition of encouraging their staff to get involved with local communities and at Bangor University Sarah was part of their Street Law project, giving legal advice to students and young people and at Chester she volunteered at a Child Contact Centre in Saltney which dealt with broken families.
She often gives talks to community groups and organisations including memory clinics for older people who may be at risk of developing dementia and also to Age Connects and Alzheimer’s Society groups.
She said: “I love being able to help people with their planning for the future. No-one knows whether they will get ill, be diagnosed with dementia or when they will die so everyone needs to plan for a worst-case scenario and I hope I do that in a supportive, compassionate and positive way so that clients of mine have peace of mind and can get on with enjoying life.
“Swayne Johnson are very good at recruiting from within and for training people up and they’ve got a real commitment to helping people through charity work.”
Swayne Johnson Managing Director Sarah Noton said: “Sarah has worked very hard in difficult circumstances through the pandemic and this is a very important qualification which strengthens the levels of expertise we have within the company.
“We offer a comprehensive range of services across a wide area of law and the level of skills we have means clients don’t need to look to firms from outside the area for the legal services they need.
“At Swayne Johnson we believe in building relationships with our clients and providing them with the reassurance that they’re dealing with people who know and understand them and those are qualities that Sarah brings to her role.”
For more on Swayne Johnson go to http://www.swaynejohnson.com/