Meeting the 2021 eprivateclient 50 Most Influential: Joanna Pratt of Thomson Snell & Passmore

News Team, 26/02/2021

The eprivateclient 50 Most Influential is the definitive rankings of the key players in the UK and offshore private client practitioner sector.

To showcase the achievements of those listed this year and to get to know them a bit better, eprivateclient has began publishing a new Q&A series with our 2021 50 Most Influentials.

Today we hear from the world’s oldest law firm Thomson Snell & Passmore’s senior partner, Joanna Pratt. Joanna was named as senior partner in May 2020 and is also head of family law at the firm. Before joining Thomson Snell & Passmore in 2005, she worked at the same firm of solicitors on the Sussex coast for over 14 years, progressing to become an equity partner....

Joanna Pratt

What have been your proudest personal/team achievements this year?

This year, for the third consecutive year, the family team have been included in The Times Top 200 law firms. I am particularly proud of the team since the inclusion in The Times list is voted for by our peers – other law firms have nominated the family team at Thomson Snell & Passmore as being one of the firms that they would refer family work to.

What advice would you give your younger self?

Always listen and never make assumptions.

What do you find most rewarding about your role?

People. Working with some amazing people within the firm, and helping clients through what is often one of the most stressful and traumatic periods of their lives.

What challenges do you see your firm/clients facing in 2021?

We are all continuing to face the challenges thrown up by the Covid pandemic, and I fear that that will carry on for a number of months into 2021. The pandemic has had a significant adverse effect on various parts of the economy, and has made everyone’s day to day lives, including clients’, more difficult than ever.

What does being named a 50 Most Influential mean to you?

It is very exciting! 2020 was a landmark for our firm – we celebrated our 450th anniversary. We are in the Guinness World Book of Records as the oldest law firm in the world. To be included in the list of 50 Most Influential individuals makes me feel incredibly proud.

What is the favourite part of your job?

People! There is a bit of a theme…As well as finding it hugely satisfying working with clients to resolve their family issues, I took over as the senior partner of Thomson Snell & Passmore in June 2020. To be senior partner of such an outstanding and vibrant firm is fantastic. A firm is only as good as its people, and I am blessed to be surrounded by exceptional colleagues at every level and in every role.

What made you choose to focus on private client work?

People! The rapport and relationship which you build up with clients dealing with family work, in particular, can be very rewarding, and you really do feel as though you are making a difference to people’s lives.

What book/luxury item would you want with you on a desert island?

I think I would have to ask for two, please – Earl Grey tea and champagne.

If you were not in (and it is not) your current role, what would be your dream job?

I can honestly say that I would not want to have any other role or job than the one I currently have. If I hadn’t been able to become a lawyer, then I think I would have liked to have become a florist – although I have no creative bones in my body, the smell of florists is always intoxicating to me.

What’s your favourite hobbies/passions/interests outside of work?

Spending time with my family, and travelling to interesting places.

What one piece of advice has benefited you the most in your career?

I have been fortunate to have worked with and been mentored by some amazing individuals throughout my career. To perhaps sum up all the advice which I have been given it would be to say – you can do it.

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