What’s the biggest development you’ve seen in the legal world during your career?
The passing of the Equality Act 2010 ending discrimination on the grounds of sex, race or disability which assisted in bringing an end to discrimination against women in the workplace and elsewhere. The attitude to women in the workplace has changed considerably over the past 75 years when previously women were not expected to work beyond marriage and have a family. We take it for granted now that we have the choice to work and the flexibility to have both a family and career – it’s not always easy but I do appreciate that women in the past fought for me to have the choice.
What law would you like to see changed?
As there are so many couples choosing to live together, and not marry I think it would be good for the rights for long-term co-habitees to be brought into line with laws relating to married couples. Many couples who live together think that they acquire the same rights as a married couple after they’ve been together for some years but this is not the case, and it can create particular difficulties where there are children involved. I often find I’m trying to resolve issues on separation that would have been so much easier if matters had been addressed during the relationship.
What is the most exciting work you’ve ever done?
I chose to do family law as soon as I qualified almost 18 years ago because it’s something I feel passionate about. I enjoy the variety of work – each time I’m able to reach a settlement for a client which enables them to move on with their lives it is a cause for quiet satisfaction.
Who in the legal world do you most admire?
Baroness Hale of Richmond.
What advice would you give someone starting out in the profession?
One of the great things about the law is that there are so many different areas available to a trainee. My advice would be to get as much experience in as many different fields as you can as early as possible.