“I get the chance to work with entrepreneurs who have grown some really exciting and successful businesses in technology”
Kirsten Pettit qualified into Taylor Vinters’ private wealth team in 2014 and now counts some of the UK’s most exciting entrepreneurs and high-powered City executives as clients. Forging a reputation as an expert in her field, she is fuelling the growth of the firm’s private wealth practice in London.
“Within the last 18 months, demand for our services has grown rapidly in London,” she explains. “As a result, we now have three permanent members of staff in the capital to help manage the workload and I now work across both offices.”
Testament to Kirsten’s skills and expertise, the team’s growth has largely been driven by referrals in London, including from financial advisers and large accountancy firms, ideal clients that she has proactively built strong relationships with.
She says: “I advise two of the ‘Big Four’ accountancy firms and their partners on a regular basis. As they’re such busy people, we try to be as flexible as possible, so we have put systems in place which make it easier for them to come and speak to me and the team. We visit them at least once a month in their offices, providing a drop-in session on a range of issues, including estate planning and tax.”
This approach has been so successful that it has generated further work outside of London, with Kirsten and the team now advising accountancy partners in offices across the UK. Referrals also come through existing clients, including from other teams within Taylor Vinters.
“I get the chance to work with entrepreneurs who have grown some really exciting and successful businesses in technology as well as other sectors,” she continues. “My job is to help them make decisions about huge sums of money they have spent their whole life building up. There’s a lot of pressure, but I feel privileged to have such responsibility,” she says.
As a private wealth lawyer, Kirsten’s role also sees her advise individuals on sensitive situations. These can involve difficult conversations relating to people’s families, relationships, mental capacity issues and the deaths of loved ones.
“It can be challenging when you are faced with a very private family matter, which is why this area of law isn’t for everyone,” Kirsten says. “You have to be calm under pressure and a have a natural ability to empathise with people.
“A lot of clients expect there to be a magic solution to some problems such as family disputes but there usually isn’t one. In these situations, our job isn’t necessarily to have all the answers; it’s to understand everyone’s view, provide the options and help establish the best approach.”
After qualifying in 2014, Kirsten’s passion for her job and drive to build the private wealth practice led to her being promoted to senior associate in 2018. She is also a member of STEP, a global professional association for practitioners specialising in family inheritance and succession planning, and she gained a distinction in two of four exams for her STEP diploma.
“Becoming a STEP member was a personal ambition of mine as it will help open the door to more referrals, including from lawyers overseas,” she says. “My firm supported me every step of the way, ensuring I had time off to study and could manage my workload around exam time.
“Within the next two years, my aim is to consolidate the London practice and have the same number of lawyers in this office as we do in Cambridge. We’re on track to do that and that’s testament to the skills of our people and the trust and autonomy Taylor Vinters has given me.”