60-second interview with Jaclyn E P Russell, Stronachs

Friday, 11 March 2022
Jaclyn E P Russell TEP spoke to us to mark 30 years of STEP and reflected on the benefits for Stronachs of being accredited as a Platinum Employer with STEP's Employer Partnership Programme.

How, and why, have you been involved with STEP?

I have been involved in STEP over the last 15 years. Initially attending CPD events as a STEP student in the early stages of my career to gain a grounding in estate planning matters, through to completion of my STEP Diploma, which I pursued to become a specialist practitioner in the area of trusts and estate planning to latterly working with STEP in our role as a STEP Platinum Employer Partner.

What, in your opinion, is the most important thing that STEP does?

I think STEP carries out a really important role in increasing awareness of the specialist nature of trust and estate planning work. The nature of what we do involves sensitive handling of relationships and often complex transactional work and STEP plays a large part in increasing awareness of the need to obtain specialist advice in this area as well as delivering training and further qualifications to enable practitioners to provide this advice.

In your opinion, what has been STEP’s greatest contribution, either to the field of trusts and estates or to society more generally?

STEP has done a fantastic job of developing opportunities for training and development in the area of trusts and estates. From a personal perspective, I found the STEP Diploma (while intensive!) to be an excellent learning tool and it has certainly shaped the advice that I provide to clients today. I actively encourage all members of my team through the STEP qualifications as I firmly believe they are the best in our industry.

How does STEP help your business?

We work closely with STEP and see the benefits of our relationship in many aspects of our business. From a training perspective, the CPD events are fantastic at covering a wide range of topics and increasing the knowledge of our team. The local discussion groups are a really good way for practitioners to get together regularly to discuss topical issues and meet others working in the same field in the local area.

In addition, being accredited as a Platinum Employer Partner has been particularly important for us in that it has allowed us to develop our commitment to the training and development of our team through the benchmarks that the programme sets. As part of this, we have introduced a firm-wide ‘mentoring scheme’, which has been of great benefit to team members in outlining both their achievements and setting goals for career progression. We have also found that being accredited as an Employer Partner has been particularly positive with regards to recruitment.

What part do you think STEP will play in shaping the future of the industry?

I think STEP has a significant role to play in raising the profile of trust and estate work and particularly in making this accessible to new lawyers entering the profession, be that by the provision of training or future study or by continuing to work with organisations to develop their commitment to this area of the law. It is an area of work that is often overlooked by new entrants but it is incredibly challenging and rewarding and no two days are ever the same!

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Jaclyn E P Russell

Jaclyn E P Russell TEP is Partner and Head of Private Client, Stronachs LLP, Aberdeen and Inverness, having gained the STEP Diploma with distinction. Stronachs is a STEP Platinum Employer Partner.