What is your position and what do you do on a day-to-day basis?
I am a solicitor heading up our London team. I work on fascinating and often ground-breaking cases involving surrogacy, donor conception, same-sex parenting, relationship breakdowns and adoption. No day is the same - in the morning I could be advising a client in relation to his civil partnership breakdown and in the afternoon, I could be advising a couple in relation to their international surrogacy plans.
I absolutely thrive on the diversity that my work brings and working with a team who are equally passionate about the work that they do.
How long have you been in this role and what brought you here?
I will be celebrating my third year at NGA in January 2020. Since joining I have never looked back. I was attracted to the firm due to its excellent reputation as the UK’s first specialist fertility law firm and with leading experts in the fields of surrogacy, assisted reproduction and family law disputes involving modern families I just knew it was something I wanted to be part of. Its initial attraction has definitely lived up to my expectations and I am very proud to work alongside very talented colleagues all of whom are equally passionate about the work we do.
Any memorable stories from your career so far?
My very first final parental order hearing at the Royal Courts of Justice – it’s such a special occasion for the families we represent and nothing pleases me more than seeing their smiling faces (often accompanied by tears of joy) when a final order is made, after what is often a very long and emotional journey.
What is the best and worst part of the day for you?
It always makes my day brighter when we receive news of a baby’s birth following either a surrogacy or assisted reproduction arrangement - if photos accompany the news it is even better!
The worst part of my day is probably advising parents that they have to go through an additional court process in the UK either because their international birth certificate post-surrogacy is not recognised or, their foreign adoption order is not recognised. It often feels very unfair particularly when the client has already gone through a rigorous international legal process.
What keeps you motivated?
The passion I have for the work I do and the changes I make to people’s lives.
Tea or coffee?
My day starts with a strong coffee followed by herbal teas and lots of water.
What would you say to anyone thinking of a career in your field?
Absolutely go for it, but be prepared for lots of hard work and a bit of a struggle to reach your end goal. With passion, commitment and dedication you will get there, but do make sure you stand out from the crowd and do add to your skill set by expanding on your life skills, so you are able to empathise and manage clients at what is often one of the hardest times of their lives.
Without wanting to sound like a bit of a brown nose, the honest answer is my colleague Natalie Gamble. She is known internationally as the UK’s leading fertility lawyer and her tenacity and strategic approach to cases is remarkable. She is a passionate campaigner and an excellent teacher - I am proud to work alongside her.
How do you enjoy your time outside of work?
I am passionate about keeping fit and healthy. If I am not running, I am either in the gym or outdoors walking with friends and family. I also have a love for travel and my next adventure is Mexico and Belize – lucky me!
What book would you recommend to others?
I recently read Watching the English by anthropologist Kate Fox – a fascinating book that looks at the quirks and habits of the English people.
What would be your alternate career?
Floristry, but that might change depending on how my ‘flowers for beginners’ course goes in January.
If you could change one thing about the family justice system what would it be and why?
As a volunteer on the Rights of Women national helpline I am well too aware that there are so many people in desperate need of legal advice who can sadly not afford it. The drastic cuts to family legal aid over the years have seen a rise in litigants in person, courts overwhelmed and those who really need advice left in need – this has to change to restore faith in our legal system and to avoid any further pressure on our courts and judges.