Happy New Year!
As the new owner of Townsend Family Law, I wanted to use our first blog of the year to share my legal journey with you.
I have been a specialist family solicitor for well over twenty years and for 12 years I was a solicitor and partner at a long established practice in Barnet North London.
I started out as a trainee at a local firm North London. My training was a baptism of fire. I was thrown into the deep end and within six months of starting my training contract I was in court every day. I still remember practising for hours in front of my husband before my first court appearance – a hearing today that I would not think twice about. Getting into court early on in my career was great training. Advocacy is a skill that I still use today representing clients in financial settlements, children’s disputes and injunction cases.
From early on in my studies I knew that I wanted to specialise in an area of law that gave me client contact. I am, by nature someone who wants to help and to find a solution. During my training years, I was fortunate to get lots of exposure to family law work. My employer expected me to earn my keep even when I was in training. Shortly after I qualified they sent me to another of their offices to set up a litigation and family department. It consisted of just me and my electric typewriter!! I took on anything that came through the door to build up my practice which often meant taking on cases that involved new and as yet unchartered legal territory. Very early on, I came to rely on some trusted barristers for help. By working on my own without colleagues to bounce off, I quickly learnt to work independently and to rely on my own judgement.
During my professional journey, my work has moved from legally aided cases that gave me early exposure to disputes involving children, domestic violence and smaller value divorces to more complex divorces involving businesses, trusts, pensions as well as investment and property portfolios. I still relish getting stuck into a complex financial dispute. I am always looking for an angle that will give me an edge over an opponent.
I feel very fortunate to have worked for people from all walks of life. Regardless of the value of a case, my dedication to my client is the same. As soon as a new client walks through the door, I am completely committed. I want the best outcome. Sometimes, my job involves tough talking if I know that expectations are unrealistic or unlikely to be achieved. It’s really important to me that I am honest with my client from the outset about what they can expect from the process and the likely outcome. My advice is sometimes unpalatable but by being honest from the start, my clients are prepared for what to expect. I won’t sugar coat my advice to obtain work. In my experience, this can lead to disappointment and can affect a working relationship with a client. When I wave my client good bye, I want my client’s to leave the process feeling that I have not only supported and professionally cared for them but also, that I have been a good judge of the outcome of the case and I have prepared them well.