What is your position and what you do on a day-to-day basis?
That is a difficult question to answer! Every day is different for me as I have a number of different roles, most of which are on a self-employed basis. I am the managing director in a new business that I started last year offering an outsourced services to small/medium sized firms following the CPD changes the SRA announced on 1 April 2015. We help firms transition over to the new scheme efficiently and cost effectively. It has been a challenge setting up the business but legal education is something I am passionate about.
I am a freelance speaker for CLT, an associate lecturer at the University of the West of England and the Chief Assessor for CILEx Family Law level 6, this means that I set the exams twice a year and mark the papers.
The end of the CPD year can be manic but it’s usually quiet from November to February. I now tend to write during these months or offer consultancy services.
I still do limited amounts of fee earning work, as a consultant with Chapman Pieri solicitors. It’s a small firm which has a niche family law. I tend to deal with enforcement, variation and appeal matters.
How long have you been in this role and what brought you here?
I have been with CLT on a freelance basis for 10 years, I love the exposure to family lawyers across the country. Most people don’t realise how differently lawyers work depending on the area that they are in.
I have been with this firm for over a year, there are 5 solicitors and it a great place for me to practice and offer my experience and advocacy services to the other solicitors.
What are the people you work for/with like? Any memorable stories?
Much of my work as a solicitor is 'cloud' based so I work from home when I’m not lecturing or in court.
My cat is my constant companion but she doesn’t have any legal insights worth sharing!
What is the best and worst part of the day for you?
During September and October I can be away from home a lot I present numerous CPD seminars across the country. The worst part of a day can be waking up and having no idea where I am!The best part of the day is when I can knock off early on a Friday and I don’t have to battle commuters to get home.
What adjectives best describe you?
Organised, technical, flexible.
What keeps you motivated?
I couldn’t run my own business if I wasn’t motivated. I want to do my best and I don’t like letting people down so I try my hardest to succeed.
Tea or coffee?
One coffee a day and tea on tap.
What would you say to anyone thinking of a career in your field?
Don’t do it unless you can deal with the emotional stress of other people’s lives.
What song do you listen to the most?
At the moment it is Laura Mvula - Green Garden.
How do you enjoy your time outside of work?Cooking- I’m a big GBBO (Great British Bake Off) fan, I find it very relaxing to bake.I’m enjoying the new series but not sure if I will move to Channel 4 if Mary Berry isn’t going.
If you could change one thing about the family justice system what would it be and why?
Like many family lawyers I would change the LASPO act changes, they have had such a devastating impact on access to justice.
Mena is shortlisted for Commentator of the Year at the 2016 Family Law Awards. To find out more and place your vote, please visit the Family Law Awards homepage.
To book your table for the Awards ceremony click here.
If you are interested in sponsoring an award please contact Becky Wall.Mena runs her own website (www.menaruparel.com) and maintains a blog, which includes tips, opinions, and explanations for all things family law.
She is also the Managing Director of Law CPD Solutions.