Donna Hart, director of legal services, Family Law Company
What is your position and what do you do on a day-to-day basis?
I am a chartered legal executive and a director/shareholder at the Family Law Company. I am also Team Leader for our divorce and finance team, which is a group of 10 lawyers and support staff. Each day is incredibly varied - a mixture of client and legal work, my management responsibilities and leading my team. Outside of the office I have various roles, including being a Trustee for the Citizen's Advice Bureau (CAB) and previously teaching at Wessex Law Academy. Additionally, I work with young people to inspire those who wish to pursue a career in law. No day is ever the same, and I often wish there were more hours in the day!
How long have you been in this role and what brought you here?
I qualified as a chartered legal executive in 2008, although I have actually been working in family law for about 15 years. I have been a Team Leader for 2 years, and director/shareholder for about a year. My upbringing spurred me into law: I was born to teenage parents, and whilst they supported me fully, some in education did not. However, I always had a passion for law and was determined to succeed. I have been blessed with supportive colleagues, both inside and outside of my firm, plus fellow board members who recognised my potential and gave me the confidence and opportunities to achieve as much as I have.
What are the people you work for/with like? Any memorable stories?
In the area of law we work in, it is especially important to have a good team who can support each other when times are hard. I am so fortunate to work with such great people who all have such a passion for family law.
I remember one summer party which was a barge trip along Tiverton Canal. There was local cider on the boat and we were due to stop for fish and chips - unfortunately, one of our directors didn't tick the right box and we ended up with just cheese and crackers, which wasn't quite enough with the cider...It turned out to be quite a messy night, and the poor director never lived it down!
Another memorable time was when our colleague, Jill Read Brown, won an award, and when she returned to work we were all waiting in reception to surprise her with party poppers. We ended up setting the fire alarms off, frightening her and resulting in the fire brigade having to come out...
What is the best and worst part of the day for you?
The best part of the day for me is early morning - managing a chronic illness means that when I wake up I need to think positively and nurture a 'can do' attitude. This is the time when I tell myself what I am going to achieve that day. My next best part of the day is lunch time! I love my food, and my colleagues and I often go out to eat together (and we often play table tennis in the office - ssh!). The worst part of the day I'd say is around 4pm, when your brain says it's only 2pm and you realise you still have so much to do!