What is your position and what do you do on a day-to-day basis?
I am a solicitor at Hecht Montgomery. I mostly represent parents and other family members in child care work proceedings as well as some private law, divorce and finance work. No one day is the same as another. I try to do as much of my own advocacy as I can, so I find myself in court a lot and other than that I am meeting with clients, attending pre-proceedings meetings to try to avoid cases going to court and responding to innumerable emails and phone calls. As well as all manner of weird and wonderful queries that come in between.
How long have you been in this role and what brought you here?
I've been qualified for two years now having trained with Hecht Montgomery. Before that I was a paralegal at a larger firm undertaking matrimonial finance and private law children work.
Any memorable stories from your career so far?
It would have to be when we had a case in the Supreme Court when I was trainee solicitor. That was a day clerking unlike others!
What is the best and worst part of the day for you?
The best bit is the days where you feel like you are making a difference, however small, to your clients' lives.
The worst bit is when a case comes to an end and despite best efforts the end result just isn't what the client wanted. Even when you have done all you possibly could you can't help but wish you had done more.
What keeps you motivated?
Many of my clients are vulnerable in one way or another, but I am particularly motivated through working with those who don’t have trust for lawyers or indeed any professionals, usually because of their past experiences. I like building up trust with them inch by inch to the point where they feel that you are on their side and are putting the best case across for them.
Tea or coffee?
Tea all day long.
What would you say to anyone thinking of a career in your field?
It's not all Suits. There will be long hours spent doing unglamorous tasks, so your heart really has to be in it.
I work with people every day who are dedicated to our clients, going the extra mile and have a vast knowledge for tricky areas of family law. Luckily they are always prepared to pick up the phone for me to pick their brains! It sounds cliché, but I am also inspired by my colleagues at Hecht Montgomery who both demonstrate a truly admirable commitment to our clients and cultivate a great small-firm atmosphere which makes doing this job easier. People are always surprised at how much we genuinely enjoy socialising together as a firm!
How do you enjoy your time outside of work?
Spending time with family and friends. I can often be found running (sometimes up mountains), walking my dog or in the pub.
I would have liked to have been a chef. But I'm not a very good cook so I think I'll stick to the law.
If you could change one thing about the family justice system what would it be and why?
I would make FDAC more available. 26 weeks across the board just doesn’t work, where there are drug and alcohol issues. The cases where parents achieve change are ones where they slip outside of the 26 weeks. FDAC is a great way of achieving change but this is something which is somewhat of a postcode-lottery at the moment and it would be great to see this rolled out across the Family Court rather than limited to parents within local authorities who have opted in to the scheme. This seems even more unlikely given the recent news that the entire FDAC scheme may be in jeopardy because of funding.
What has winning the Family Law Award meant to you?
It meant the world to me to receive professional recognition from my peers for what I do every day. To win a prestigious award at such an early stage in my career is encouragement to keep it up and who knows where the future might take me! My family, friends and colleagues were also incredibly proud. All Family Law A day in the life of... profiles can be found here.