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A day in the life Of...
Kara Swift
Kara Swift
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A Day in the Life of ... Jeff Botterill (McKenzie Friend)

Date:26 JUL 2016
Jeff Botterill, Family Law Decisions Ltd

What is your position and what do you do on a day-to-day basis?

I am a professional McKenzie Friend at Family Law Decisions Ltd, providing assistance to parents who are involved in family court matters in private law proceedings.

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

Volunteering both part- and full-time for around 14 years. Personal circumstances meant I needed the assistance of another McKenzie Friend in 2002. I then started volunteering to help others in my spare time to try to give something back. It became a habit I very much enjoyed, and demand led to eventually going professional and giving up my job in the City.

What are the people you work for/with like? Any memorable stories?

The vast majority of parents whose cases I am involved in are trying to do their best for their children. I regularly meet parents who have given up so much for their children and who are quite often dealing with tremendously difficult circumstances, very often through no fault of their own.

I have also been genuinely fortunate to work with some extraordinary people over the years, some of whom have given much effort, skill, knowledge and time for no recompense or relatively little for many years to help people and their children.

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

It's a cliché, but every day really is different. I suppose generally the best part is completing preparation for a case, and the worst part is collating all the information for a case. Once started, it then usually becomes engrossing and distractions do not often register.

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What adjectives best describe you?

Earnest, straight-talking and optimistic.

What keeps you motivated?

A simple, sincere 'thank you', which we invariably get whether at court, on our free telephone consultations, or in chats with those we assist, makes all the hard work worthwhile.

Tea or coffee?

Lashings of green tea, except at court and in meetings when it's black coffee all the way.

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

Volunteer until you have the experience and knowledge to make a real difference.

What song do you listen to the most?

Tender Blue by Everything But The Girl.

How do you enjoy your time outside of work?

Spending time with the family and dogs.

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

Copy the Swedish model regarding shared care arrangements.

You can follow Jeff on Twitter: @FamilyLawD

As part of this feature we are asking a wide range of people who have links to the court system and family law to respond to the above questions and give us some information about what their role entails. We hope to get a wide cross section of people  to this end, if you would like to contribute please email editor@familylaw.co.uk