Victoria Grogan

My day always starts with a cup of tea! I will then go through my emails, calendar and post to check my appointments and reminders and see if there is anything that needs to be dealt with urgently. I will also have a chat with my team to check their workload and see if there is anything that requires my input.
The rest of my day will depend on the above and it can be very varied so I might be doing anything from drafting documents, researching a point of law, meeting clients to discuss estate planning, or having estate items professionally valued. In between all of this I always try to get out at lunchtime to go for a run or pop to the gym – I think it’s so important to take a break away from your screen and get some fresh air and it always refreshes me for the afternoon.

What do you think are the three most important skills to succeed in your career area?
Excellent communication skills, the ability to multi-task, and having empathy because you are dealing with people who are recently bereaved.

Was this something you planned to do or did you change direction at any point in the past? If so, what was that and was it easy to do?
I had never thought about becoming a wills and probate practitioner when I was younger. I had considered law as a career and did a law degree but my university did not offer a module in wills and succession so it was not an area of law that I knew much about. I was convinced that I wanted to do corporate law! My first job when I moved to Jersey in 2006 was as a probate administrator and I really enjoyed it so the ball kept rolling from there.

What do you love most about working in your career area?
The variety of work and the client contact. I really like the fact that I feel as if I am helping people negotiate the legal formalities of what can be a very difficult time. I also see or communicate with so many different people every day and deal with such a wide assortment of things, as every estate that I deal with is so different. They might range from dealing with one off shore bank account to administering worldwide multi-million pound assets that can include properties, yachts, valuable memorabilia, shares in companies and even a menagerie of animals!

Are there any negative aspects of working in your career area that people considering it should be aware of?
There can be a lot of studying if you want to obtain your professional qualifications but it is worth it. The varied workload can also mean something urgent might suddenly crop up so you have to be adaptable in your attitude in order to ensure that everything still gets completed as required. Some people may also find it diffcult or awkward to speak to people about their bereavement, so it is not an area of law that suits everyone.

What training / qualifications did you undertake for your current role or are you currently undertaking?
I did an LLB (Hons) Law degree at Northampton University but following that I was undecided what to do next so I did not go
down the usual route of an English LPC and training contract. I ended up working at the Law Society before moving to Jersey and getting a job as a probate administrator. I have worked my way up over the last 11 years but along the way I completed the Certificate in Off shore Administration, the STEP Diploma and the Jersey Advocates exams which I passed four years ago. The law is constantly evolving so there are always new courses that you can do in order to keep your knowledge up to date.

Is there any other information that would be of interest to someone thinking of this career?
Try and get some work experience if possible and speak to people that do the job already to get insider knowledge. A lot of the law firms in Jersey have really good student and bursary schemes that offer great training opportunities and a chance to see if you will actually enjoy practising the area of law you think you want to do.

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