The Big Interview: John Lane
Our Vision: Hull Is This chats with John Lane, who has seen the firm adapt and evolve enormously over the years.
John Lane works in the Private Capital department of Rollits' offices in York. He joined the firm in 1993, which was just two years after the York branch opened:
"Setting up a base in York was a very bold decision at the time," says John. "It enabled Rollits to expand its reach both northwards and westwards, which thirty years later has proved to be a very strategic move.
"I was originally in an office in Helmsley, which was part of Rollits' network of smaller satellite branches. There were others in York, Beverley and Hornsea, which we decided to consolidate into two main sites in Hull and York. It was a very interesting process and required a lot of planning. Fast forward to today and I'm still looking after the majority of clients as I was back then."
John's regular duties include helping individuals and families with tax planning, estate planning and inheritance tax:
"It all starts with a new connection and then we nurture the relationship over many years. This involves getting to know families and working with different generations as time goes by. Our role is to help people tackle various challenges and bring the best results, such as buying your first home, adapting when the kids move out, setting up trusts and protecting family wealth.
"Once you've built that relationship it can span generations. Our clients' children and even grandchildren come to us to protect ailing parents, obtain powers of attorney, and ensure that everyone is well protected and cared for in later years. It's so humbling and rewarding to be part of a family's journey."
John also says that the legal world has changed tremendously over the years, to the extent that it's almost unrecognisable how people do business these days compared to in the 1990s:
"Technology has come on amazingly. I remember going away on holiday around 1995 and when I came back a computer had appeared on my desk - it was such a big deal! There are clients we're taking on now who weren't even born then and have never known what it's like to not have a computer. The idea of writing a letter and sending it in the post must seem like something out of the history books for them.
"It also used to be a case of a lawyer speaking their thoughts out loud to a secretary, who would jot them down in shorthand and type up a document afterwards. Now we have digital dictation that's instantly emailed to our smartphones - it really does speed up the process and makes everything so much more efficient."
John also tells us that work environments have changed at Rollits since he first joined the law firm:
"We used to have individual offices but now it's all open-plan. This is great for throwing ideas around and feeling part of a community, plus we were all set up and trained for remote working a good few years before COVID-19 hit. This allowed us to immediately switch to a home working arrangement and hold client meetings via video call with ease."
Though based in York, John is in Hull at least once a week and also meets up with clients across the UK:
"We work with people up in the Scottish Borders and as far south as you can go without getting your feet wet, plus all stations between. Over the last two years I must have cut my mileage by a factor of ten as we've been meeting online instead, although things are starting to get back to the way it was before Covid with more clients preferring to meet face to face again.
"Many of my clients are based in different cities and counties yet have strong roots in Hull. It could be that their parents or even their grandparents are from here and the relationship has remained intact despite physical distance, recessions and even a global pandemic. It really goes to show that Rollits greatly values its clients and is serious about delivering a personal service to each and every one."
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