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A day in the life of ... Zahra Pabani

Nov 18, 2019, 10:35 AM
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Date : Nov 18, 2019, 10:35 AM
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What is your position and what do you do on a day-to-day basis?

I am a family law partner at Irwin Mitchell and have recently joined the national team, working out of the London and Birmingham offices. My partner responsibilities largely include BD and strategy work, so I spend a lot of time with clients – new and existing. 
One of my main areas of focus is to sing our praises, telling everyone about the national family team and the firm as a whole, to see what we can do to help potential clients, colleagues, friends and family. My aim is to win new clients for the team and to further raise our excellent profile across regions, nationally and internationally. 
I deal with all aspects of family law in relation to divorce, finance and children matters. My specific legal focus is wealth protection for high-net-worth clients whether that is by way of negotiation, litigation or indeed pre/post-nuptial or cohabitation agreements. I deliver a bespoke service with commercial, emotional and legal intelligence and I always ensure that our client service is second to none.

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

I have only recently joined Irwin Mitchell this year and I was attracted to this cutting-edge firm because of its reputation, its talented lawyers and the way in which it looks after its people and its clients.

Any memorable stories from your career so far?

I introduced myself to someone at a party recently and he said "you just finished my divorce!" – in my defence it was fancy dress. After the initial pause – he hugged me and said he was so very happy and grateful, so all was good!

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

I’m in a new job so it’s all exciting; no two days are the same. But generally, I’m a morning person, so I like to get in early and have some time to myself in a quiet office to think about my day, my clients, my cases and my team.

What keeps you motivated?

Helping people motivates me – whether they be clients, colleagues or contacts. Winning a new client and seeing a member of my team do well also motivates me.

Tea or coffee?

A peppermint tea for me please.

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

Go for it, but it’s tough – tougher than you think. You need to strive to be the best and that doesn’t mean just as a family lawyer, that’s only part of it – you need to understand business, how to make money, how to win cases and be successful at BD and PR. You need a wide-ranging set of skills. Anyone can be a lawyer but not everyone can be a successful one.

What song do you listen to the most?

At the moment, ‘Let It Go’ from the Frozen soundtrack – my two-year-old is addicted.

Who inspires you within the world of family law?

So many people have inspired me and no doubt so many more will.

How do you enjoy your time outside of work?

I may well be a divorce lawyer but I’m a hopeless romantic – so all my time outside of work (unless I’m still working, as my service to clients is 24/7) is spent with my gorgeous husband and two-year-old – I love my family.

What book would you recommend to others?

The First 90 Days by Michael D.Waktins – it’s a leadership book that deals with transitioning into a new role. It’s known to be a business classic.

What would be your alternate career?

I have two: a pop singer – but I’m tone deaf, or something within media. I have been fortunate to do a bit of radio and TV and I thoroughly enjoy it.

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

Consistency. It can be hard to advise a client when you know different judges will have a different view and that outcomes can depend on the court you’re in. Different court, different judge, different day and the outcome of a case could change dramatically – that can’t be right, just or fair.
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