Sean Knight is a solicitor in Stone King's Dispute Resolution & Litigation Team. Every day is certainly different and here Sean explains what his work involves and why he enjoys it.
Originally from Hong Kong, but educated in England since I was 10, I studied History at the University of Bristol as that had been my main academic interest growing up. However, after undertaking work experience with barristers, judges and solicitors I knew that I wanted a career in Law. I joined Stone King in 2014 as a paralegal in the Trusts and Estates team. My time in the team provided me with a good understanding of the administration of estates and non-contentious issues which has proved helpful as a dispute resolution solicitor. I went on to complete my training contract at the firm and qualified in 2018 where I have acted for a number of charities in a range of issues, with a particular focus on contentious probate and trust claims.
- What do you like about legacy matter work?
I enjoy the personal element of legacy disputes, creating a picture of the deceased and his/her estate, understanding the personalities and sensitivities involved as well the concerns and objectives of the various parties. In particular it is often fascinating to know why the deceased left legacies to one or more charities and knowing how each of the legacies will be applied by the charities. I have advised a variety of charities, ranging from small local charities to large national charities, and whilst the analysis of the merits of a claim does not itself change depending on the size of the charity, the approach adopted by charities does require me to tailor my advice and approach. Some charities have significant experience of legacy disputes whilst others have none. Some charities are more readily willing to resist a claim against an estate in which they are due a legacy whilst others are more accepting of challenging interests. It is these intricacies that make legacy matters so interesting.
- What are your most memorable moments in law?
There are two cases that are particularly memorable.
The first was shortly after qualifying as a solicitor, I was instructed by a school to defend an application for an injunction and the underlying claim for breach of contract. I advised the school to issue its own application to strike out the Claimant’s claim. I attended the county court and was greeted by a number of representatives of the Claimant inside the waiting area outside the courtroom, who appeared unhappy with my presence. Despite some initial nerves, I conducted the advocacy and successfully had the Claimant’s claim struck out.
The second was more recently when I acted for a charity against the Claimants’ application and its own cross application that were listed together at a video hearing. The Court arranged for the parties’ barristers and solicitors to undertake a dry run the day before the video hearing. For the first time in over two months I was required to wear a suit and tie, but decided to throw caution to the wind and skip the shoes! At the video hearing itself I sat at my kitchen table in full suit and tie whilst trying to ensure my dog did not make an appearance.
- What do you do outside work?
I enjoy taking my three-legged whippet cross rescue dog on walks, which I have been particularly appreciative of during the current pandemic, attempting to be a vegetarian MasterChef, exploring the countryside, reading, and playing and watching sport.