Gillian receiving her award for Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year at The Family Law Awards 2018
What is your position and what do you do on a day to day basis?
I’m a Partner in the family law team at Penningtons Manches
, and I’m also the Chair of Penningtons Manches Charitable Foundation. On a day-to-day basis I manage my client base working closely with associates and, where required, other partners within the firm. I also oversee the initiatives of the Foundation.
How long have you been in this role and what brought you here?
I started my post-qualification employment 25 years ago in a firm on the Hampshire/Berkshire borders where I developed a family law practice. After five years as a partner I moved into London where, until very recently, I have maintained my practice. I have recently relocated to my firm`s Guildford office. I have enjoyed working with a variety of different people over the years. My pro bono work started about five years ago and spans a broad remit, but my personal focus is in relation to the prevention of slavery and people trafficking.
Any memorable stories?
So many anecdotal stories spring to mind but, I suppose, the one that burns most painfully in my memory is when, having conducted my own advocacy in Aldershot and Farnham County Court
, I forgot that the seats in the Courtroom were cinema, fold-down, style. I was fully gowned for this particular hearing and having finished my Marshall Hall type testimony, I sat with a flourish only to completely miss the seat and fell into a crumpled heap on the floor. Proceedings had to be suspended for a few minutes while I was hauled to my feet by my rather bewildered client and, not least, to give the Judge a few moments to regain his composure.
What is the best and the worst part of the day?
The worst - the commute to work! The best - when I know I have helped clients on the road to financial and emotional recovery and assisted them to fulfil their hopes and, in some cases, exceed their dreams.
What keeps you motivated?
I have always been an entirely driven person. I do not know what little gremlin lives in my brain but once I have an idea or develop a passion for a particular thing, then my motivation gains its own momentum and is generally unstoppable!
Tea or coffee?
Both but at different times of the day. I am very traditional so coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon and coffee after dinner. Mind, you, always decaff after dinner!