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A day in the life of ... Rachel Roberts

Sep 24, 2019, 09:59 AM
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What is your position and what do you do on a day-to-day basis?

I am the Managing Partner of the Stowe Family Law Leeds office. I manage a team of 10 solicitors and 1 trainee, all of whom specialise in family law. 
My role is pretty varied on a day to day basis. I split my time equally between doing the day job, i.e. advising clients and attending Court etc and doing the managerial side of my role. This work entails supervising the team and their work, particularly the junior members. On a day to day basis, as well as people management, I am also responsible for ensuring the financial performance of the office – a lot of my time is concentrated on business development. I really love the variety that being in a management role brings.

How long have you been in this role and what brought you here?

I have been a Managing Partner for 2 and a half years but have been with Stowe Family Law for over 17 years. I did my training contract with the firm and then worked my way up to Partner by the time I was around 6 years qualified. I took over as Managing Partner when the firm was bought out by Livingbridge, a mid-market equity firm in February 2017.

Any memorable stories from your career so far?

Well, there was the time I threw a pen at a Judge as I was gesticulating in Court but that is perhaps best forgotten… Locating and freezing a foreign account that held several million pounds in the very early days of my career is a great highlight.

What is the best and worst part of the day for you?

The best part of my day is early in the morning; I am a naturally earlier riser and irritatingly alert and chirpy first thing!
The worst part is trying to leave the office by 3 pm on 3 days of the week to do the school run. I am always last at the school gate.

What keeps you motivated?

Genuinely enjoying the job, wanting the best for my client’s and working in a happy and talented team.

Tea or coffee?

Tea – I can’t even stand the smell of coffee.

What would you say to anyone thinking of a career in your field?

Hone your communication and people skills. Most people needing a family lawyer are pretty vulnerable, and you need to be able to communicate with them in a way that is empathetic.

What song do you listen to the most?

No one song. Its very mood dependant, but it needs to be something I can sing along to (loudly and badly).

Who inspires you within the world of family law?

Lady Hale. Not just for her astonishingly sharp brain and for her career highlights, but for all the work she has done to pave the way for the generations of female lawyers that follow her.

How do you enjoy your time outside of work?

Family time. I have 8-year-old twins, so they keep me busy. But I also love to cook and bake, and keep fit and active. 

What book would you recommend to others?

I love Richard Branson’s autobiographies. His ethos and approach to running his business is really inspiring.

What would be your alternate career?

I’d probably bake or be a chef. Though I am not sure I would fancy the [long] hours in a restaurant.

If you could change one thing about the family justice system what would it be and why?

Availability of legal advice to the most vulnerable members of society. There is a desperate need for more legal aid provision.
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