Agriculture and estates solicitor at Aaron & Partners Solicitors, Shrewsbury
My desire to become a lawyer was born from personal experience. I remember my parents purchasing a farm when I was a teenager – the whole process seemed very stressful and the lawyer did not really seem to empathise with the pressures they faced during the purchase.
I always wanted to make a real difference to the people I worked with. Now I have got the chance to help others who find themselves in that position – and that is why I always seek to offer understanding and empathy to clients. I want to ensure that they feel comfortable instructing me to act on their behalf and that they trust me to look after their best interests.
I enjoy the intellectual challenge the legal profession provides. I particularly enjoy the opportunity to meet and work with a variety of farmers and landowners who have diverse and interesting businesses. This work creates challenges to stretch me as a solicitor and offers the opportunity to create innovative solutions.
I enjoy being a farmer. The involvement in the family business means I understand the issues farmers and landowners have to deal with and the commercial realities of running a farming business. It means I can see the practical issues from a client’s perspective.
At present, I work four days a week in the office. I generally milk the cows in the evening when I get home. I also deal with any emergencies, for example calving a cow, as and when required. Weekends and free time are generally spent on the farm.
I try to get to as many local agricultural shows and events as I can to ensure I am up to date with issues facing rural businesses and farmers. Attending shows and agricultural events is a great way to meet other farmers and to hear about what new technology and innovations they are adopting.
As an agriculture and estates specialist, I deal with a range of different cases. I particularly enjoy assisting farming families with succession planning to ensure the safe passage of assets from one generation to the next. Every case has its own set of circumstances.
Ensuring the smooth running and continuity of a family business to maximise the future success of the farming/rural business is generally the key objective. Based on my own personal involvement in the family business, I appreciate the practical issues that can arise if succession planning arrangements do not achieve this objective.
My role as a solicitor also involves advising on taxation issues affecting the structure and ownership of farming/business assets. This also involves the sale and purchase of agricultural land and farms.
I find it particularly rewarding to help families achieve their long-term ambitions. I remember one particular case where I prepared a will for a farmer who had faced a long battle with cancer; I also dealt with the administration of the estate following his death. Helping him and his family achieve their long-term objectives, while minimising future potential inheritance tax liabilities, was a really rewarding case to be involved with.
I would like to see reforms made to provide the next generation of farmers with the opportunity to develop successful farming businesses. The current legislative regime favours older farmers retaining land and continuing to farm until the day they die. Real reform is needed to provide the maximum opportunity for farmers to embrace new technologies.
Socially, people are always intrigued how I combine my farming work life with working in an office for a firm of solicitors. People are always keen to hear about my farming background and what is actually happening on the farm rather than the intricacies of agricultural law. The potential future technological advances available to farmers and rural businesses create far more interesting issues to talk about than black letter law.