helps clients to plan for the future, including negotiating pre-nuptial and cohabitation agreements. The positive impact Jamie can make on the lives of her clients is the highlight of the job for her: “There are situations where parents who should be seeing their children aren’t seeing their children and helping them to achieve that is the most rewarding aspect and makes it all worthwhile.” Thevarietyof thework iswhat first drewJamie into family law: “I knewIwantedclient contact in my job– Iwanted tobe involvedandworkingwith clientseveryday, I didn’twant tobe justworking ondocumentsandsittingbehindacomputer. So familyandmatrimonial lawisbrilliant for that – you’redoingwrittenandanalyticalwork, but you’re alsospending lotsof timewithclientsso it’sa really goodbalance. There’snever aboringday!” In order to do your job well you need to be objective – you need to be able to stand back, give good advice and not run yourself down Jamie’s caseloadcanbe anywherebetween 20 to30clients “and you never knowwhen something’s going to take a turn, so there’s a lot ofmultitasking involvedeachday”. A typical day might involve “meetingwith clients inperson, speaking toclients on thephone and advising on their day-to-day issues – aswell as advising on thewider strategies of the case at hand”. Solicitorsmay alsobe in court for cases that are litigating, so “you’remeetingwithbarristers todiscuss the case, workingout how tomove forward and talking about settlement options”. The work of a family solicitor also involves written work, including “corresponding with the solicitors on the other side, clients and experts. You also have to draft comprehensive witness statements for
Family and divorce is very much a people- focused area of law. Family and divorce lawyers deal with diverse legal issues including marriage, civil partnerships and unmarried couples, cohabitation, separation, divorce, financial claims and the now common pre and post-nuptial/civil partnership agreements. Work on matters relating to children also form a big part of a family lawyer’s daily caseload. Family and divorce lawyers are often litigators, but also negotiate out-of-court settlements. Family law cases often grab the media headlines, particularly when they involve people with high wealth or high-profile personalities. While the role of a family lawyer calls for an astute legal mind, strong communication and pastoral skills are also needed to support clients through often difficult times. After studying a degree in social sciences, Jamie Kennaugh realised that a career in family law was the right path for her as she was looking for a job that was structured, complex and would involve client contact. As soon as she left university, she completed a vacation scheme at Charles Russell Speechlys and afterwards secured a sought- after training contract there. She joined the firm as a trainee in 2007 and in 2018 was promoted to partner: “I’ve been at Charles Russell Speechlys throughout my career,” Jamie says, “and I’ve done nothing but matrimonial law since I qualified. The work is so varied that I haven’t felt like I need to look for something else or change what I’m doing. I love it”. Fallout and planning for the future The family law team at Charles Russell Speechlys focuses on private family law, particularly children, divorce and financial matters: “We deal with the fallout from matrimonial and family situations, such as financial settlements on divorce and children arrangements,” Jamie explains. But she also
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