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A day in the life Of...
Louisa Gothard
Louisa Gothard
Senior Solicitor, Head of Family Law
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A day in the life of ... Melanie Hamer
Date:18 MAY 2018
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Director

Melanie Hamer is the director of Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice, winner of the Family Law Firm of the Year – Wales Award at the Family Law Awards 2017.


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

Senior Director and founding partner at Wendy Hopkins Family Law Practice. On a day-to-day basis I carry out management and marketing responsibilities as well as my day job as a senior family lawyer.

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

I have been here for 22 years from when we opened the Firm on 1 May 1996.

Any memorable stories from your career so far?

There are so many. I recall a client’s teenage daughter was abducted to the Yemen and the Sunday Express newspaper were hot on the story and phoning every day! They even promised me a free flight to the Yemen in return for me telling the story – which of course I didn’t! I also recall another case where a husband failed to disclose a hidden bank account which we found and he was sent by the judge to the bank to get the statements over the lunch break otherwise he was going to prison!

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

The best part of the day for me is the morning when I have the whole day ahead and a take away latte at my desk. The worst part of the day is the end of the afternoon when there are urgent jobs and I am trying to get to the school to pick up my daughter.
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What keeps you motivated?

The desire to do a good job for the clients.

Tea or coffee?

Mostly tea but a skinny latte first thing when I arrive in the office. I am also a big fan of decaff tea and herbal tea.

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

It has been a fantastic career although at times really hard work. It is so much more difficult now to obtain a training contract than it was when I started my training contract in 1987. In those days you could almost pick where you wanted to go. These days I think there is probably about 500 applications for each training contract. It has to be a career you are completely committed and dedicated to you.

What song do you listen to the most?

Jesus of Suburbia by Green Day.

Who inspires you within the world of family law?

I have always found Mr Justice Moor a very fair and reasonable Judge with a razor-like brain. Deborah Bangay QC also inspires me for her commitment, dedication and hard work.

How do you enjoy your time outside of work?

Being outdoors is a passion of mine, whether it is dog walking or running or cycling.

What book would you recommend to others?

I don’t really have the chance to read these days except when I am on holidays and then it is always a good autobiography – definitely not fiction.

What would be your alternate career?

A journalist. When I was younger I would have loved to have been a travel journalist.

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

Acrimonious and aggressive family lawyers who often make it worse for clients.

What has winning the Family Law Award meant to you?

It has been fantastic to have recognition for all the hard work we have done over the last 22 years. We have always known we are one of the best but this award confirms this for us.

Nominations close soon for the Family Law Awards 2018

All Family Law A day in the life of... profiles can be found here.
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