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I am variously a Deputy District Judge with a s 8 children ticket, a law trainer and now family law arbitrator. When not sitting in the North West, I train lawyers and GP's and have just set up a family law arbitration service.
I've been a Deputy for 6 years now and a trainer for 5. I was a solicitor in private practice, focusing on family law, for 20 years.
The best time can be finding a list of genuine substance and interest to deal with, especially if it involves a subject area which is new to me. I have an addiction to learning new things. Unfortunately this arrived long after I left school and university but better late than never!
The worst time is the journey back from court. I serve a very broad geographical area and invariably travel by train. While I do get to read or write on the way, any hold up can result in a very late return home. The train line I usually use operates depressingly obsolete rolling stock, just to add to the misery.
The Red Book is the acknowledged authority on practice and procedure
Making a genuine difference to people's lives. Just occasionally I have had a litigant who has come out on the wrong end of my judgment endorse it and I find that immensely satisfying. To have explained and justified a decision so thoroughly that even the person who doesn't get what they want out of it agrees that it is fair is the greatest approval I can ever receive.
Coffee. Frankly I'm obsessive about it. I even roast my own beans. I don't necessarily drink vast amounts but it has to be good stuff.
The selection procedure is very demanding and you need to prepare thoroughly for it. Becoming a Deputy as a solicitor is a risk laden undertaking. It often involves significant sacrifice in career terms, losing promotion, employment even. However, I wouldn't for one moment want to turn the clock back. Because selection is so fiercely contested and scrutinised, it's a huge professional compliment to be appointed and one which clients in particular take very seriously indeed. You may have to make your own opportunities outside judging though.
This last year or two I think it's been Cat Stevens 'Morning has broken' but my musical tastes are extremely wide ranging so nothing stays at the top of the playlist for long.
Being with my family. If there's one thing a career in family law teaches you to treasure, it’s a strong family life.