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We ask our new family law solicitor Gemma Garrett a couple of questions about her career prior to joining Family Law Partners and what attracted her to join us.
During my training to become a solicitor my time in the family department of the regional firm, I trained with, was by far the most interesting and rewarding. In family law cases you get to work for people, rather than organisation, who are facing real difficulties which we can all relate to. From an academic perspective, family law is challenging and diverse. It requires a knowledge of statute (both domestic and EU), case law, practice rules and directions, and it’s constantly changing. You also need a sound commercial awareness. You need to think strategically and imaginatively to find solutions.
That’s easy; the clients! Every client has their own unique story, which as a family law solicitor, you become a part of. I enjoy working with clients from all walks of life and each new client allows me to learn something new.
Obtaining a training contract (to finally qualify as a solicitor after university and law school) is really hard, there is enormous competition, and you have to prepare yourself for close scrutiny and countless rejection. I was lucky to secure a training contract for a leading regional firm in the second year of my degree in law (it is a good idea to apply for a training contract at least 2 years in advance). However, when the recession hit in 2008, like many trainees, my training contract was deferred a year. I faced an unexpected 12 months of having to find alternative work in challenging economic conditions.
A recent challenge was sustaining long working hours in the City, coupled with a daily 4-hour commute from Brighton to London!
Advising a father on the immediate return of his children from England to America under the 1980 Hague Convention. The case raised unusual legal issues and following a 5-day final hearing in which both parties instructed leading Queens Counsel, it was ordered that the children be returned to America.
I think everyone I have worked with and for has in some way influenced my training and in the way I work.
My land law tutor at university was influential, as he encouraged me to take part in the university client interviewing and client negotiation courses and competitions. I came joint-first in the national competition and this experience was fundamental to my decision to train as a solicitor, rather than a barrister. I love the daily client contact.
Without my husband’s support and financial backing I would never have been able to afford to fund my training and for that, I am eternally grateful.
The firm has been on my radar for a while and I was/am really impressed at the rate of their success over the last 5 years, which has seen them now recognised as a leading family law firm in Brighton. The firm have a very unique dispute resolution offering that is championing the collaborative model as well as working in partnership with other professionals, such as Family Consultants and Counsellors, who ensure a client’s emotional needs are looked after. FLP are a progressive and modern firm with big ideas and no boundaries, which I want to be a part of.
I have had to hit the ground running; in my first 2 weeks alone I saw 5 new clients. I have been advising spouses in both the early and later stages of divorce and financial proceedings, I have been helping parents on issues relating to children and more recently I have been providing information on the pros and cons of Pre-Nuptial Agreements.
Hard-working, determined, humorous
I spend a large proportion of my spare time eating and drinking, it is not coincidental that I am married to a chef! Since hitting my 30’s I increasingly enjoy going on long walks which at some point incorporate a pit-stop at a country pub. I enjoy my step and body-combat class at the gym. I read, enjoy a good box-set the latest being House of Cards. I drink a lot of coffee and if I had the time, I would spend all day sitting in coffee shops people watching!
To speak a member of the FLP team please do not hesitate to contact us.