Spotlight: Greg John
You cover most areas of Private Client work; do you have any areas of speciality?
I'm experienced at all areas of Private Client work, whether that be Wills, Probates, Trust work or Powers or Attorney. On the whole, this affords me a more varied case load, but, more by chance then anything, I do tend to have a greater involvement in a number of contested matters, both at the early stage and also in collaboration with our Dispute Resolution team.
I also have a greater level of experience dealing with Deputyship and other Court of Protection matters and it is not uncommon that clients will speak to me about this.
How would you best describe your approach with clients?
I try and find that point between being relaxed and approachable without losing my professionalism. It is far too easy for solicitors to bamboozle clients with legal terms and jargon and over the years I have tried to speak to a client as I would to any other person.
When appropriate, I feel it is important to be able to laugh with clients, especially as our area of law can by quite a "dry" topic and not always the most pleasant to discuss.
What's the biggest misconception you would like to clear up about Wills?
I feel a Will is one of the most important documents anyone can do, and getting it done right can save a huge amount of stress or upset for family members at a later date. In my experience, it is often the homemade Wills or Wills prepared by someone other than a solicitor that tend to cause the most problematic probates. This not only increases costs for us to have to resolve the issue, but prolongs the process for the family as well.
Why do you think talking about mental health in the legal profession is so important?
While training at a previous firm, I suffered a breakdown. This was a combination of numerous factors, but was not helped by the manner I was treated and the pressure that was put on me. There is no doubting we have a stressful profession, but it is important for all members of the profession, whether support staff, junior and experienced solicitors or partners, to know that issues will and are taken seriously, that they are supported and that they are encouraged to develop a positive mental health.
Historically mental health has been a taboo subject and the legal profession seems to be behind the rest of society when discussing this. It is up to us, as members of the profession, to break this taboo, to encourage mental health to not only be discussed but to take active steps to make changes and ensure that the legal profession can be a better place to work in.
I consider myself lucky to be at a firm where I can have these discussions openly and play an active part in changes.
When you're not training for marathons, where can you be found?
Most likely, I will be outside somewhere. Even when not training, I will most likely be running on a trail somewhere, cycling, swimming in a lake or hiking (preferably up a mountain). Failing that, you will find me in a coffee shop - I'm afraid I'm a bit of a coffee snob so will only ever hunt out the best spots.