British Wills & Probate Awards

May 4, 2023

Shakespeare Martineau, winners of last year’s Charity Legacy Probate Collaboration of the Year title at the British Wills & Probate Awards, share the secrets of their success

The clock is ticking for entries to The British Wills & Probate Awards 2023, now in its sixth year and organised by Today’s Media, the publishers of Today’s Wills & Probate.

Once again, the ILM is proud to be sponsoring the category for Charity Legacy Probate Collaboration of the Year, won last year by Shakespeare Martineau, with Foot Anstey being Highly Commended.

ILM CEO Matthew Lagden says: “As an organisation dedicated to the charity legacy sector, we are delighted to continue our support for this fabulous awards programme which does so much to celebrate best practice and commitment to excellence.

We were thrilled last year when Shakespeare Martineau was named a very worthy winner ahead of some strong contenders for the crown. You can see from our interview below just how much the firm’s legacy team has benefited in terms of awareness and profile raising internally and externally.

As the saying goes, ‘you have to be in it, to win it’ and I would like to encourage as many of our Corporate Partners and members as possible to consider nominating law firms who have gone above and beyond in achieving satisfactory outcomes for all concerned.”

The award recognises law firms and probate teams who proactively work with charity legacy teams to maximise the value of legacy income and smooth the distribution of the estate without the need to resort to contentious probate.

Judges will be looking for examples of how collaboration and best practice have ensured that all parties involved have benefited and the estate has been distributed as intended. See the full criteria.

Shakespeare MartineauBritish Wills and Probate Awards Winners, now an ILM Corporate Partner, won the award for the first time in 2022. Andrew Wilkinson, Partner and Head of the Charity Legacy team at the firm shares his thoughts on how the accolade has made a difference over the last 12 months:

How do you believe Shakespeare Martineau has benefited overall from winning Charity Legacy Probate Collaboration category in the British Wills and Probate Awards?
The awards have helped raise our profile and reputation in the sector and we’ve highlighted the awards in new business tenders as well as sparking conversations with current, lapsed and new clients who engaged with our celebratory posts on social media.

Can you give any examples of how the award helped to raise the profile of the legacy team?
We have a regular legacy newsletter, Legacy Loop, and a number of internal newsletters, which have all mentioned the win. That has helped raise the profile of the team, both internally and externally.

Has winning the award helped with expanding the team/recruiting new employees/ bringing in new clients etc.
Due to growing client base and growing client demands, recruitment has been a priority for us. We’ve appointed a highly experienced charities partner and added a number of new recruits to our legacy administrations team and being an award-winning firm never hurts in attracting talent!

What was the most satisfying part of winning the award?
It’s great for our team to receive external recognition for the work that they do and a bit of kudos from the industry.

What do you think gave you the edge over other nominees in 2022?
Maybe it sounds cheesy or clichéd, but one of our business standpoints internally is ‘in it together and in it for the long term’ and that’s how we approach our client relationships too. We aren’t just looking for a short-term commercial gain, instead we want to build lasting relationships with clients, becoming embedded trusted advisors and adding value. I think it has been this approach and testimonials from clients that’s helped us stand out to the judges.

What advice would you give to a firm which is considering entering for 2023?
It’s so easy as lawyers to get bogged down in the detail and day to day ‘doing’, but ask yourself what can you do differently, more efficiently or above and beyond the ‘file’? Not only can innovation or value add make you stand out in award entries, but it also helps build connections, create genuine collaboration and demonstrate commitment to clients, which helps cement relationships and improve working practices.

Are you planning to defend your title?
As a full-service law firm we have an extensive private client team, contentious wills and probate team and a growing charities team, so we have a few awards that we’ve set our sights on to enter this year. Limiting it to three is always difficult!

Thank you to Andrew for his insight. Next week we will be putting the spotlight on Foot Anstey to see what they have to say about the benefits of entering.

Calling all ILM members
Have you worked with a law firm which has given exemplary service? If so, then please nominate them for this category.

The early-bird rate for entries is available until Friday 12 May. Standard entry fees will apply after that date and the deadline to enter the awards is Friday 7 July. Applicants can enter up to three categories and they do not need to submit their entry immediately.

For details of the entry requirements for Charity Legacy Probate Collaboration of the Year, please click here.

See full details of all the awards and entry date information.

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