Law COG Leader
Tell us about yourself
I am a Partner at a boutique law practice in London. I specialise in the resolution of private family law matters, with a focus on financial claims arising on divorce or separation. My practice encompasses a variety of cases, including those with an international element, or involving complex business structures and family trusts, as well as disputes surrounding inherited wealth. I am also experienced in the negotiation and drafting of pre and post-nuptial agreements. Complementing my knowledge of financial litigation, I also advise parents in relation to disputes about the care of and financial provision for their children. I have experience in acting for parents who are seeking to move the family to another part of the country or abroad.
What inspired you to work in Law?
From a very early age, I wanted to be a Judge. I was quite bossy as a child. Maybe that explains it? During my teenage years, my lofty aspirations were suitably self-managed, but nonetheless I became increasingly keen on a career in law, and family law most of all. It sounds rather cliched and is, no doubt, an over-used answer to any interview question on this subject, but the answer is no less true. I like people: meeting people, getting to know them, working with them and helping them. It was that above all else that inspired me to pursue a career in the law.
How did you get to where you are today?
The short answer: hard work, always.
I didn’t follow the most conventional route, in that I didn’t study Law at university. Instead, I followed my heart and studied History. Thankfully, this was a good choice. My degree required analysis of information, evaluating different sides of the same story and critical writing. In one way or another, I do that every day as a lawyer.
I then converted to Law by studying the Graduate Diploma in Law (GDL) and Legal Practice Course (LPC) at the College of Law in Guildford (as it then was). This was a gruelling two years, the first cramming in a full three-year law degree.
With the benefit of my law degree, I applied for training contracts – the longest job interview in the world! I worked as a trainee at a multi-service regional firm in Surrey and was exposed to different areas of the law including Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence, Residential Property and Family. As I had anticipated, my Training Contract confirmed my vocation as a family lawyer. It was that or nothing.
Upon qualification and beyond, and as had been the case during my Training Contract, the answer to everything is “yes”. Do you want to work with me on this case? Do you want to join me at this evening function after work? Can you help with this? Can you bake for the firm’s cake sale?
Just Say “Yes”.
What advice would you give to students / young OWs who would like to join the legal profession?
My top tips would be:
Do your research. What area of law interests you? Why? (because you will be asked). What size of firm will suit you? Do you want to be a solicitor or barrister?
Stand out. Create a CV that will differentiate you from the rest of the applicants.
Work hard and achieve good grades.
Explore opportunities for legal work experience. You may find you don’t like law as much as you think you do (and that’s ok too).
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Champion yourself. Law is competitive so be ready to blow your own trumpet, something that doesn’t come naturally to many, me included. Just learn to do it elegantly and with finesse!
What are you career highlights?
I have been practicing as a family lawyer for a decade now. No two days are the same and that variety in my routine makes the job even more enjoyable.
My highlights would be:
Being promoted to Partner aged 35.
Securing a Costs Order for my client following bitterly acrimonious litigation with his ex-wife who was proven to have extensively and repeatedly lied and misled the Court. He recovered £335,000 in costs.
Helping my client prevent his former partner’s relocation to Poland with his two year old son.
Where do you see yourself in 5/10/20 years?
5 years: doing more, doing better.
10 years: I would consider writing a book about my experience as a family lawyer, perhaps with some comical anecdotes (heavily modified for confidentiality reasons). Watch this space!
20 years: lying on a beach with a Long Island Iced Tea?
Do you have a fond memory from your time at Wellington that you would like to share or a teacher that stood out?
John Holloway was Director of Music during my time at College. The man was and remains an absolute legend. It was a great privilege to have John play the organ at my wedding. John supported all musicians at College during his tenure. It was down to him that I performed a violin recital – an evening of solo and chamber music, all with my friends. It gives me goosebumps now just thinking about it! Big love to JDH x