What would you say to anyone thinking of a career in your field?
Family law is an endlessly interesting and rewarding specialism, but it can be a stressful. You must work with passion and do your absolute best for your clients, but you must also set boundaries and balance your professional life with family, friends, relaxation and health. To be able to look after your clients well, you have to look after yourself first.
Never compromise your integrity. The label “divorce lawyer” has negative connotations in the wider world, but if the job is done for the right reasons and in the right way, we can be a force for good in the world. Be objective on your client’s behalf at a time when their mind is clouded by emotion. Give holistic advice that looks after their overall best interests, both now and in the future.
What song do you listen to the most?
I tend to listen to long form DJ mixes while I work. The right music gets me into the “flow” state of mind, and I can breeze through my written work.
Who inspires you within the world of family law?
I have been extremely lucky to have a succession of inspirational mentors, all of whom happen to be female. Linda Hawkes
of (what used to be) Fisher Meredith took me under her wing as a junior lawyer and generously shared her years of experience and authoritative insights. Deborah Jeff
showed me what it means to deliver a first-class service to elite clients and how to identify when it is necessary to take the gloves off and fight. Alexandra Tribe
, Managing Partner of Expatriate Law, has inspired me with her compassion, her energy and entrepreneurial vision. I try to synthesise the best lessons from each mentor, while stamping my own personality on how I work.
How do you enjoy your time outside of work?
I love to travel. I’ve hiked up a volcano in Bali to watch the sunrise, I’ve cycled in the silent desert surrounding Dubai, I’ve experienced exhilarating downhill mountain biking in Nepal, I’ve travelled the length and breadth of India by train and explored Vietnam by motorbike. Since my son was born this year, life has become more sedate – but a key advantage of living in Singapore is being able to hop over to Bali for long weekends to enjoy the stunning beaches.
What book would you recommend to others?
The book I return to the most is Great Thinkers
, a collection of writing by The School of Life Press
. It is a distillation of the most important ideas of Eastern and Western Culture across philosophy, political theory, sociology, psychotherapy, art, architecture and literature.
What would be your alternate career?
In an alternate timeline (one where I actually have some creative talent!) I imagine myself as a visionary film director making critically acclaimed films. My favourite directors are Danny Boyle
, Denis Villeneuve
and Guillermo del Toro
If you could change one thing about the family justice system what would it be and why?
Legal aid for family law cases should be reinstated. It’s a disgrace that it was ever taken away. The gap has not been plugged completely with legal services orders and litigation loans are not available if the client lives abroad. Many individuals fall through the cracks and are left to muddle their way through what can be an incredibly complex process, at a time when they are least capable to doing so.