Anna Radel has been Principal and owner of Wright Clarke Solicitors in Biloela since 2002. Anna doesn’t do things by halves, she bought the legal firm when her first child was only four weeks old and proceeded to have her second, another son, the following year! All while Anna and her husband own and manage a cattle property running 1000 breeders on two organic blocks in the Biloela district.
Anna understands all aspects of rural life, remoteness, dry times, floods, losing livestock, running a rural business in town in a community that is suffering hard economic times, managing debt and trying to establish a plan to run a family business and keep the family together.
We sat down with Anna to discuss how she does it all and why ….
What’s your passion?
My passion is to help rural families, farms and businesses manage the legal risks associated with rural life and develop legal strategies that result in stronger families and businesses. My dream is to provide top quality legal advice and services to rural and remote Queenslanders in a way that makes the law more easily understood.
How do you feel you best help your clients?
I love using my expertise to help make a difference in other people’s lives. I think knowing and understanding my clients allows me to give them the best service. I can identify the most important areas to deal with first and look for affordable solutions. Just the other day I met with a family (who I know well) with concerns about the transfer of assets and how this would affect the costs of going into aged care. I knew all the options but having that personal relationship with the Clients I also knew which options were going to work best for them and be the most affordable solution without the risk of the family farm having to be sold to fund aged care. We were able to simply change the ownership structure of the joint asset so the more senior couple in the ownership became tenants in common rather than joint tenants. This also saved a lot of hassle with stamp duty and achieved the desired outcome for all parties within the family.
What do you think your clients enjoy in working with you?
I think my clients appreciate that I understand their life, the highs and lows of farm life and the benefits and challenges of living rurally. Like all people in rural areas, people in Biloela and surrounds have different priorities and needs to people in other areas.
Being a local, it gives me a very unique perspective that many lawyers just cannot offer – I get it – I have fixed creek fences in 40-degree heat, managed on a generator for two weeks after the cyclone, dealt with the emergency helicopter, pulling bogged ambulances out of the mud when my 2-year-old had a seizure during the floods, I have cried tears of desperation and tears of joy from that first rain after dry years gives that first glimmer of hope. I’m involved in a cross-generation farming family and we are trying to navigate a successful and ever-changing family succession plan.
Why do clients return to your business?
The relationship of trust we develop with our clients is the key reason they keep coming back to us. We genuinely care about our client’s legal well-being and take the time to understand their needs. Once a person is a registered client of our firm they receive free initial advice over the phone so they never need to walk into a deal blind again and can be prepared for future eventualities. Also, when necessary we have a network of excellent specialists in all areas so our clients can access initial expert advice quickly and ensure our clients know what they need to know when making business decisions.
How do you do it all? Any tips?
I don’t! I just keep going, doing my best, prioritising and doing the most I can each day.
What are you spending time on, when you eventually get some downtime?
Well, there isn’t much downtime. I’m doing a lot of DIY, I’m house painting at the moment, which I’m really enjoying. We’ve been basically living in a small home on our property and at Christmas I bought a second-hand house online (sight unseen). It arrived on the back of a truck, a contractor connected it to the house and we’re now at the painting stage. When I can I also like to ride and do yoga. One day, when the house is finished, I’ll have some time to organise my sewing room and enjoy making some clothes. In the meantime, life is well and truly full with our legal practise, the boys at home from boarding school at weekends and the usual running of the property and the house.
What motivates you to get out of bed every morning?
Professionally, it’s knowing I can really help my clients and make a difference to them, they may not ever be aware of how what I’ve done has helped them. I might be doing something for them that won’t impact them for years or they’ll never benefit from directly but their children or grandchildren will and that’s very satisfying. That’s why I like to check-in with my clients regularly so we can be prepared for life’s eventualities rather than having to be reactive to situations down the track and potentially not get the best possible and most affordable outcome than if we’d planned ahead.