- What is your most memorable achievement whilst working in your current role?
My current role, as Head of Private Wealth, has already brought a few achievements. When the department evolved from Residential Property to Private Wealth it incorporated Private Client, and I had to explore an area of law that I wasn’t fully familiar with. This meant re-training, educating myself and learning. I’m proud that I’ve done this alongside my day-to-day job and feel that I have improved and expanded my knowledge and management skill set. The private client department itself has grown hugely over the past 6 months in terms of both clients and the type of work we are seeing within the department, and it’s been really rewarding to see.
- What has been the most valuable piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Never stop learning. Nobody knows everything. I think it’s dangerous when people believe they are an expert in something – whether you’ve been learning about it for one year or 25 years, things are always changing and there are always new things to learn and grasp an understanding of. The reason I chose a career in law is that I wanted to be constantly learning and to always be pushing myself. I feel that I do this in both my role as a lawyer and as a director/head of department.
- What has been the key positive or negative impact of change in your area of the market?
I have found residential property to be a particularly challenging area of the market to work within since the pandemic. There have been changes to legislation or new pieces of legislation coming into force that change things overnight (such as changes to Stamp Duty rates) or that we aren’t given the support or time to learn about as quickly as we need to (such as the introduction of the Building Safety Act 2022). Recent economical changes have put more pressure on conveyancers to complete matters within timeframes that mean clients aren’t going to be exposed to higher rates of interest on their mortgages. On the flip side of this, I do think huge improvements have been made to technology during the last few years – the Land Registry have made it simpler to submit an application through an online application process, client ID can now be uploaded and verified via an app, and property search results appear to be coming back more speedily. As a firm, we have made huge improvements and changes to our case management system. Overall, these benefits create a more streamlined process.
- If you were not in your current position, what would you like to be doing?
If I wasn’t a lawyer, I think I would have gone into something completely different and much more creative, such as floristry.
- What three items would you put on display in a museum of your life and why?
Models of the people most important to me – who have supported me, made me believe I can do anything or for who I constantly strive to do better for – my son, my husband and my parents.
- What three guests would you invite to a dinner party?
I am extremely proud of being a woman in business, so I think I would invite strong and influential woman to tell me their stories. The three guests I would invite to a dinner party would be Emmeline Pankhurst, Jane Austin and Michelle Obama.
Heather Gaffney, Head of Private Wealth, Lewis Denley