Mediation has helped to change face of dispute resolution

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What’s the biggest development you’ve seen in the legal world during your career?

Mediation has revolutionised dispute resolution saving countless hours of time representing huge cost savings for the parties concerned. It has also facilitated more wide ranging solutions including those that may appear straightforward but have been wrapped up in a breakdown of communication. For example, one such dispute between the directors of a company was resolved by reinstating access arrangements between one party and her grandson.

What law would you like to see changed?

I remain very concerned about access to justice issues for people whose rights need to be protected. We do pro bono work, but like all commercial businesses, we can only do so much. In many of the needy cases it is increasingly difficult for lawyers to represent for reasonable return.

What is the most exciting work you have ever done?

Solving people’s problems in a speedy, sensitive and commercial way is always exciting. I really enjoyed a recent case and the related injunctions involving the conduct of a director at a local football club. This was the perfect combination for me – interesting legal issues and sport!

Who in the legal world do you most admire?

As many of my cases are heard in Leeds courts, I am minded to say the hard-working and knowledgeable members of the local judiciary.

What advice would you give someone starting out in the profession?

Make sure you really want to do it. Don’t be seduced by the portrayal of the legal profession that can be presented as glamorous and well paid. It is a tremendously rewarding career but requires very hard work and is very competitive. It takes investment in time and money and at the moment, like many professions, there just aren’t the jobs for newly trained young people.