60-second interview with Judith Rountree

Judith Rountree, 6/5/2014

Judith Rountree, Solicitor with Gardner Leader.

What does your firm do?

Gardner Leader offers a wide range of legal services for charities, businesses and individuals including inheritance protection and contested probate.

What is your perception of STEP and what does it mean to your business?

We consider STEP membership as a badge of honour for specialist trust and estate practitioners. My colleague, Jo Barton TEP is Chairman of the Thames Valley branch. This not only gives Gardner Leader  recognition, but it also gives our clients a sense of reassurance which helps with business development.

What do you feel are the main challenges facing your organisation/practitioners at the moment?

Cost. We act for a large number of charitable organisations who are extremely cost conscious not only when it comes to legal fees but in general. This mindset is applicable to most private and commercial clients.

How will you deal with these challenges?

We work with all our clients to ensure legal costs are provided upfront and fixed costs are set within specific areas, in particular within litigation. As a member of the Contested Probate Team I work alongside our Inheritance Protection Team who are all members of STEP. This allows us to provide a broader service to our clients , which  helps us to promote high professional values. Our aim is to actively involve our clients throughout the process in order to resolve the issue in a cost-effective manner which makes aspects such as litigation, not seem as daunting or stressful.

What jurisdictions/regions are currently important to your work and why?

We deal with many jurisdictions in both contentious and non-contentious work.  It is important that we  continue to develop our knowledge and expertise, particularly as more and more transactions are taking place overseas.  From a personal perspective, I am currently dealing with a claim which has been issued within The Superior Court of Justice in Ontario in Canada, and a separate matter within which Spanish law is applicable.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Work hard, play hard – you are the master of your own destiny.

What’s been your career highlight?

Winning the 2013 LawNet Award for Young Lawyer of the Year. Gardner Leader’s Contested Probate Team and I were recognised for the complex litigation that we had successfully mediated and the charitable work that we undertake to resolve litigation in a cost effective and swift manner so that legacies left to charities are not unnecessarily imbedded within litigation proceedings.

Who has been your greatest mentor and why?

My grandfather who was a County Court Judge in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. He was always extremely passionate about the law and helping clients achieve a resolution and he did so during a risky time for him and his family.

What do you do in your spare time?

I love to spend time with my friends and family. Living in Winchester I also love to walk and explore the city and surrounding countryside, and stop off in some country pubs along the way!

What’s the best book you have read this year?

I was really gripped by And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini.

What’s your favourite quote?

It would be one of my mottos in life: ‘You have to make it happen!’

Which social media channels do you use and why?

Twitter is a great platform to reach a wider audience. The key is to remain a consistent Tweeter (@JRountreeGL) by regularly tweeting new and interesting legal updates and opinions in order to achieve credibility.

Judith Rountree is a Solicitor with Gardner Leader in Berkshire. She specialises in dealing with disputes arising out of contested probate, trusts and inheritance issues including disputed wills, Inheritance Act claims, undue influence, rectification wills, contested legacies to charities and testamentary capacity issues. She joined Gardner Leader in 2009 and went on to win LawNet Young Lawyer of the Year Award 2013.