In this edition of Realm Talks To… Principal Consultant Kelly spoke to Julie Jewers, Director and Private Client Solicitor at Berwins Solicitors. During their conversation, Julie gives us an insight into her most interesting case, what Henshaws College does for young people with special educational needs and what makes Berwins different.
How was your Christmas break?
Like most people, our Christmas break was changed due to covid. I had booked to go to Portugal with my husband, and our 3 sons, but that got cancelled at the last minute. This meant we were at home, with very little Christmas food shopping! Luckily my middle son is a talented chef, and so he took over cooking duties for the day. Christmas wasn’t what we expected, but we had a fabulous long break nevertheless.
What’s the most interesting case you’ve worked on?
This is a hard question, as so many cases have been interesting and have meant a lot to me. One that still stands out is an early case of mine, when I was working with a young man who was, sadly, terminally ill. He was in a same-sex relationship, albeit this wasn’t widely known by his family or his colleagues. I prepared a Will for him, and as part of that process, I advised him to nominate his death benefits from his pension to his partner. This meant that on his death his partner was well-provided for via his pension, which would not have been the case had we not taken swift action before he died. Ultimately his partner received a large lump sum payment from the pension, which was sufficient for him to buy him a house, which was life-changing for him. It was enormously satisfying being able to help the client make provision for his partner, which gave him comfort, and also being able to secure financial provision for his partner after his death. I know I made a real difference in that case, and that is what the job of a private client lawyer is all about – helping people, often in difficult times.
What makes Berwins different?
We are an open and transparent firm, with a culture of caring for our clients, our people and our communities. We are always pushing forwards, and we challenge ourselves to achieve our shared objectives. We trust our people to do what is expected of them, and we all work collaboratively in our different roles. We are genuinely flexible with staff, who repay our trust and flexibility with their hard work. Berwins is often described as a family, and we have some fabulously loyal and long-standing people. We also have some of the best bakers in Yorkshire working with us, and so cake is a regular feature at the office….
Who do you turn to for advice at work?
It depends on the advice needed! Our Life team is fabulous – we are always asking questions of each other (either in person in the office or via teams) as no matter how long you’ve been doing the job, you’ll always have a client asking you a question that makes you stop and think! If it’s not related to private client work, then Caroline, our Operations Director is a great sounding board. She always sees things from a different perspective and she tells it like is, with a smile on her face!
Is there a particular charity that means a lot to you and that you’d like to raise awareness for?
We ask our staff which charity they would like us to support over the course of a year, so that all our fundraising activities are focussed towards one charity. We undertake a number of different charitable events, including the usual sponsorship of sporting events and coffee mornings, to also giving staff time off to directly support a charity by doing some hands-on volunteering if they choose. Our current charity of the year is Henshaws College, a specialist college in Harrogate which offers day and residential places for young people with special educational needs and disabilities.
What do you like to do away from the office?
I have 3 sons, and a Jack Russell terrier. I really like being out and about walking or cycling on my e-bike in the great Yorkshire countryside with my husband and a combination of our sons and dog! When I’m not doing that, I love food, films and music!
What’s your signature dish?
My roast potatoes are legendary, with my curried Brussels sprouts a firm favourite of my husband!
About Julie Jewers
Julie is a Director at Berwins Solicitors. She has wide experience in dealing with all aspects of private client work and is consistently ranked as a Notable Practitioner in Chambers and Partners.
She is a full member of the Society for Trusts and Estates Practitioners (STEP) and also a full member of Solicitors for the Elderly.