What is your position and what you do on a day-to-day basis?
I am a Senior Chartered Legal Executive and Resolution accredited specialist in advanced financial provision.
I joined Churchers Bolitho Way in 1998 upon completion of my Chartered Institute of Legal Executives exams. I work in the firm’s Portsmouth and Isle of Wight offices. I deal with high value property and financial matters at the time of relationship breakdown particularly when businesses are involved.
I work full time; however, the firm has supported me with child-friendly hours. Twice a week my working day commences at 7.30am allowing me to deal with my work before the telephone starts ringing at 9.00am.
As I am frequently checking my emails out of office hours I usually start dictating replies upon my arrival at the office. My day consists of advising my clients either in person or by telephone. My client appointments can be at any of the firm’s 6 offices across the Solent. To keep on top of the number of files I have, I use my daily reminders so that important deadlines are not missed.
I spend a considerable amount of time each day considering financial disclosure, preparing financial orders, separation agreements and pre-nuptial agreements. I love this aspect of my job.
How long have you been in this role and what brought you here?
started as a family lawyer in 1993 and joined Churchers Bolitho Way upon completion of my studies in 1998. I became a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives in January 2000.
I joined the firm to progress my career from a trainee position to a fee earning role. I was attracted by the firm’s friendly atmosphere. I feel very much a part of the team and have been supported whilst raising three children, with flexible, family friendly working hours.
What are the people you work for/with like? Any memorable stories?
Given the fact that I remain with the firm after 17 years, the firm’s support, encouragement and commitment to community based projects have contributed to my continued loyalty. The staff, from Partners to Receptionists, make the working environment a calm and happy place.
My most memorable moment was being promoted to Senior Chartered Legal Executive in 2014.
What is the best and worst part of the day for you?
I love getting into work early, as the phone is quiet as I tend to be most productive then. I’m not too keen on the 3.30pm post signing.
What adjectives best describe you?
My colleagues, clients and work placements have described me as supportive, inspirational, efficient, compassionate and professional. Their opinions count more than mine in this.
What keeps you motivated?
I am motivated by pride in my work, reaching successful outcomes for my clients and striving for excellence. My three children motivate me to show them what hard work and perseverance can achieve.
Tea or coffee?
Tea – at least 5 cups a day, just in the office. Plus the occasional hot chocolate!
What would you say to anyone thinking of a career in your field?
Work hard, be organised and ensure that you are a good listener. Having empathy with your clients in family work is essential.
What song do you listen to the most?
Ed Sheeran’s album is played the most in my car.
How do you enjoy your time outside of work?
I love going on spontaneous trips with my children. If a good opportunity comes along and tickets for an event become available, I am there.
If you could change one thing about the family justice system what would it be and why?
The delays – I feel that at the time of a breakdown in a relationship, once the decision has been made to issue proceedings, the paperwork should be dealt with swiftly by the Court. Locally divorce petitions take 3 weeks to be issued and some financial orders are currently taking a minimum of 6 weeks. I have received sealed orders after the deadline for the lump sum payment has passed. This causes unnecessary stress to the parties and additional costs.Leesa Longden-Thurgood has been nominated for the Family Law Legal Chartered Executive or Paralegal Award. You can find out why she was nominated and place your vote here.
Join the conversation #familylawdayinlifeof
As part of this feature we are asking a wide range of people who have links to the court system and family law to respond to the above questions and give us some information about what their role entails. We hope to get a wide cross section of people - to this end, if you would like to contribute please email firstname.lastname@example.org.