Savita Sukul – Contentious Trust and Probate Solicitor of the Year
What prompted you to seek a career in the legal sector and then progress onto becoming The Principal of SJS Solicitors?
I developed a natural but very minor interest in the legal profession when I was quite young and at secondary education level in Guyana, my home country. I took part in classroom debates that required some research and elementary advocacy. The legal profession is highly respected in Guyana and on occasion attracts controversy. By the time I arrived in the UK in 1988 my adolescent interest in the legal profession had become more pronounced. Within a year or so of my arrival I applied for, and was granted the position of Trusts & Probate clerk at an eminent firm of Solicitors located within the City of Westminster in London. The firm had been established well over 200 years ago and is still in practice to date. My pursuit of formal legal studies commenced soon after this employment. My employers were instrumental in the acquisition of my early legal qualifications and I wish to register my gratitude to them. I had to, with the greatest reluctance resign my position when my son was born in 1996. My employers offered and I accepted, off-site, part-time employment that lasted over two years. During that stint I considered the establishment of my own ‘law firm’ providing Will writing, family and immigration law services to the public. In October 1998 I purchased the freehold title of a small building located at 82, Balham High Road, in London. In March 1999 I opened Wills & Legal Services at the pavement level office of that building, offering legal services to the public. I continued my pursuit of higher legal studies on a part-time basis and was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors of the Senior Courts of England and Wales in December 2003. On 1st April 2004 I established SJS Solicitors, where I spend so much of my time and energy, and content so to do.
What attracted you to specialise in Wills, the law of Trusts and Contentious Probate, immigration and family law?
These specialised aspects of national law, as well as the law of succession generally, appealed to me from the inception of my thoughts and the development of plans to establish a law firm and thereafter a firm of Solicitors in London. As I look back on what may be some reasons that underpin my sustained attraction to these areas of law I think that my reasoning is linked to my enduring interest in the extreme levels of human life and human living aspects that are so intertwined with immigration and family law, as well as the law of succession. These legal rules and principles play a major role in the quality of life and human existence with which we are all very much concerned. It’s a sense of high responsibility to be put into a position where the practice of your profession can improve the standards of life of many others. These are the thoughts that come to mind whenever I am asked to explain the reasons why I have been [and still is] attracted to the Law of Wills, Trusts and Probate, Immigration and Family Law.
What does being Solicitor of the Year mean to you and your future progressions in the legal sector? Are there any other goals you aspire to achieve?
I am content to explain what being Solicitor of the year means to me, but I cannot be sure how the award will bear upon my progression in the legal sector over the next year. Firstly, I am obliged and sincerely thankful to every individual who has contributed in any manner at all to my achievement, and my firm’s achievement of this award. It is a privilege of superlatives to think that I have been granted this award, let alone to hold it. Instincts dictate that I ask myself continuously the question what really have you done or you and your firm have been doing to even be considered for this title let alone achieve it. My staff and I simply do the best we can by applying standard principles of human behaviour, courtesy and professionalism which I dare say would have contributed to the votes received. I am proud to the maximum to be granted the title “Lawyer of the Year”. With regards to what it means in respect of progression within the legal sector, I think that on the grounds of natural expectations, SJS Solicitors may experience an increased level of client activity, and probably attract a more varied range of clientele likely to be involved in more complex areas of the law in which the firm is involved. The firm is likely to be exposed to a relatively wider audience publicly and it will experience an element of increased professional traffic.
No other goals as such comes readily to mind. However, sustaining high levels of professional standards and providing quality legal services to the public do, and shall endure.