What is your position and what do you do on a day‐to‐day basis?
After many years of full-on family law work at the coal face of high street practice, I have just retired and, without wanting to make you all jealous, as of just now my day-to-day life is total relaxation!
How long have you been in this role and what brought you here?
I qualified 40 years ago. In those days, we all undertook a broad range of litigation. Over the years we began to specialise, and a time came when I made the conscious decision to turn the litigation department of my firm (Williams Thompson in Christchurch, Dorset) into a specialist family law practice. The practice of family law has changed beyond recognition and much for the better. Highly aggressive correspondence has been banished and the more co-operative approach, now prevalent, is so much healthier for all concerned.
Any memorable stories from your career so far?
Many old-style high-drama heavily fought final hearings remain stuck in my mind. Not all as successful as one hoped, but they did get the adrenalin flowing.
Also putting my hand up to volunteer in meetings led me at times onto the Law Society Council (in the dramatic years of Presidential elections), to be being the Chair of the Law Society’s Family Law Committee when much was changing (Panels, Protocols, CSA etc), being a DIC Head (that means I headed the Divorce Information Centre meetings on the South Coast under the ill-fated Family Law Act 1996), involvement in further committees in redrafting the Form E, being involved in the introduction of the 'no costs rules' and most recently helping with the new Family Justice Council’s advice documents.
What is the best and worst part of the day for you?
The worst time was 9.15 a.m. You’ve got in and mentally planned your jobs for the day and are just getting started when the telephone goes. A client regales you about an unexpected flare up which needs urgent action and all your best laid plans go to pot. Now I have stopped client work, it is the best part of the day!