The LawCareers.Net Handbook 2021

Name: Jamie Kennaugh Firm: Charles Russell Speechlys Location: London University: Durham University Degree: Social science

more prevalent and future students will have training in it, which is something that I didn’t necessarily have. ADR is fantastic because it gives you various methods of sorting matters out without going to court – and that’s far better for the family.” Technological advancements will also introduce new challenges, but Jamie recognises that “the profession will adapt and focus on where value can be added for a client in terms of expertise.” Empathy is key Commenting on the main strengths needed to be a top solicitor practising family law, Jamie says “empathy is one of the main ones, but you also need to be able to judge the situation and react appropriately, as well as put into practice the traits that solicitors generally have as well – good communication, organisation and teamwork skills. That’s why clients are coming to you – they’re not coming to you for counselling.” Finally, “you need to be committed to the job – it can be very stressful at times because you’re taking on a lot, but you need to do the best for your clients. I have to say that I am one of the few of my peers who went into law and actually still practises and I think the fact that family law is so unique, varied and rewarding plays a large part in that.”

contested cases. There is as well when you’re dealing with the financial arrangements on divorce”. An “incredibly rewarding” aspect of the job is “giving people the chance to be financially independent,” Jamie says. Family and matrimonial law is a very varied area to work in: “It’s not like corporate law, where you may be working on one or two deals at a time,” explains Jamie. “In family law you’re moving between and juggling different tasks and it is not unusual to work on all of your cases, in one way or another, on any given day.”

Step back, compartmentalise and be objective

As clients are often going through the worst times of their lives when family lawyers get involved, “it is very emotional and it can be quite difficult to not take on all your clients’ problems. 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 recommends developing strategies and compartmentalising to ensure that the work doesn’t intrude into your personal life. She also highlights the importance of trying out family law during work experience – and definitely during your training contract – if you are interested in the area, rather than jumping in uninformed: “I’ve seen some people specialise in family law and then realise that it’s not actually for them as they’re worrying about clients 24 hours a day, which isn’t sustainable.” Her top piece of advice to future solicitors is to “get as involved as possible during your training contract as that’s a brilliant place to find out what your strengths and interests are, so that you can make an informed decision when it comes to qualifying”. Future changes Looking to the future, Jamie contemplates the rise of alternative dispute resolution (ADR): “ADR is something that’s going to become


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