Jill joined the Cunningtons team in April 2014 and is the family law solicitor at our Braintree office.
Jill has a mixed caseload which includes divorce, finances, arrangements for children, protection from harm and care proceedings.
This is what Jill has to say about life as a Family Law Solicitor at Cunningtons ...
I didn’t follow the normal path to becoming a solicitor I intended to read law at university but a friend of mine told me that it would involve an incredible amount of reading and I wouldn’t have any time for any fun. I really wanted to get the most out of my university experience and the thought of spending every night and all weekend with my nose in a book was discouraging. Instead, I chose to do a degree in French and Spanish with Legal Studies, before going on to undertake my formal legal training.
I strongly believe that having a non-law degree is an asset as it adds to the diversity of the firm and gives me skills that can come in very handy and set me apart. Many degrees have transferrable skills such as the ability to absorb and remember information or the ability to undertake research and make an informed decision, which are all important skills for any lawyer.
As well as dealing with my caseload I also have the responsibility of developing our trainee solicitors. Each trainee usually spends at least three months in the family department and during that time I work with them to show them how to manage a caseload, help them to prioritise work, show them how to deliver advice to different types of clients and support them in developing their own style.
I usually have a quick face-to-face meeting with my trainee in the morning where we go through what tasks they can deal with that day, then I see them towards the end of the day where we go through their work and I give them feedback. Trainees also spend a lot of time shadowing me. I had the benefit of great training when I was a trainee and it means a great deal to me to be able to give something back to the next generation of solicitors. It’s very rewarding to see trainees become more confident.
Specialist in children's arrangements
I have a particular interest in cases that involve arrangements for children because every family is so different and I enjoy the challenge of finding a solution that is in the best interests of the children.
It often requires a great deal of sensitivity as emotions often run high, and I pride myself on being empathetic whilst delivering practical advice.
Work/life balance at Cunningtons
Working for Cunningtons appealed to me because of their reputation for delivering excellent client service. Cunningtons has a real "can-do" attitude and it’s great to work for a dynamic and innovative firm.
Away from the office you can often find me at the stables. I’ve been around horses all of my life and I don’t think anyone could ever keep me away, it’s such a good way to relieve stress. I wouldn’t say I’m a keen cyclist, but I do occasionally drag my bike out and huff-and-puff my way around a new route, although this often leads to me becoming lost and then having to cycle far further than I initially planned!