5 Minutes With… Pauline McNamara, Managing Partner at PMC Family Law

 

Pauline McNamara has over 30 years' experience in family law and specialises in complex high net worth financial ancillary relief and issues relating to children. Pauline is acknowledged as having a particularly tenacious and forensic approach of the most complex cases and regularly deals with multi-million pound cases. She is an award winning legal professional praised by market commentators for being a "strong, concise and precise advocate". She is an experienced child care specialist having represented parents, children and grandparents in difficult cases involving alcohol, drug abuse and psychiatric issues. Pauline is also a member of the Family Law Specialist Panel and an accredited member of the Law Society. She also supports the Melanie Beattie fund and the local hospice Jospice.

Throughout her career Pauline has also acted as a mentor for junior members of her teams, training them into the new generation of solicitors who, following Pauline's guidance and support, can thrive independently. Pauline has also recently been nominated for Legal Professional of the Year at the Downtown in Business Awards 2018. Essentially PMC Family thrives on Pauline's own individual brand and the department receive a substantial amount of excellent previous client and fellow legal practitioner feedback and recommendations due to Pauline's prominence in the Family Law sector.

 

 

How would you describe your role?

I run PMC Family Law which was the subject of a re-brand initiative in July 2016. I manage the business and a team of seven employees ranging from associate solicitors, trainees, paralegals and secretaries. The brand which I have built in the last 32 years has enabled a constant stream of referrals and recommendations for the team on a daily basis. Throughout my career I have also acted as a mentor for junior members of my teams, training them into the new generation of solicitors who, with guidance and support, can thrive independently.

 

Why did you choose to go into law?

I knew that I was going to be a lawyer at the age of 7. I always liked TV dramas which had Court room scenes and wanted to be a part of it. Nobody in my family was in law but I remember a very inspiring teacher told me, when I stated that I wanted to be a lawyer, that I could be anything I wanted to be. I never forgot that moment.

 

Who inspires you?

Michelle Obama. Gloria Allred. Leslie Abramson. J. K. Rowling. I am inspired by women who have started with nothing but, against all odds, have fought their way with humour and integrity to the top.

 

What is the best part of your day?

Every morning when the team and I all come into the office and catch up on what we achieved the day before. Sharing each other's stories and seeing them progress in their career.


What is the best advice you were ever given?

Attention to detail is everything.

 

How do you deal with challenges in work?

The team are very supportive of each other. If we are faced with challenges, we help each other get through it. I also have trusted mentors whom I can always go to.

 

How do you deal with the stress of the job?

I am lucky to have a large support network of friends and family both inside and outside of the business sector. I am also a season ticket holder for Everton, the stress of how Everton will play at the weekend distracts away from the stresses of the job!

 

How has the profession changed since you were a trainee?

When I was a trainee the profession was very structured, there was a very clear career path. Now the opportunities are endless and the skills obtained as a consequence of a training contract are extremely transferable. The profession is much more fluid.

 

How do you keep a work/life balance?

I try not to look at my work phone before 8am and after 6pm. I also try to look at my work emails as little as possible at the weekends so that I am able to have a break.

 

What do you wish you knew on the first day of the job that you know now?

That it was the most rewarding profession and I would still be fulfilled and excited by it 32 years later.

 

What is the most important skill for young lawyers/professionals to develop?

Resilience is key, you have to know who you are and own your values. You have to have a strong sense of identity and never waiver from it.

 

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Retired, in a tapas bar in Spain!

 

March 2018


5 Minutes With… Sue Graham, Senior Partner at EAD Solicitors

Sue Graham is a Senior Partner at EAD Solicitors, incorporating John A Behn Twyford & Co. She is a pioneer and champion of women in the legal profession.

Sue trained under the late Betty Behn, who was amongst the first female Solicitors to practice in Liverpool. Both women are mentioned in 'A Century of Liverpool Lawyers'.


 


What is your job?

I am a Solicitor. I deal with Personal Injury claims. My main instructions are from Trade Unions.


Why did you choose to go into law?

I initially wanted to have a career as a Social Worker. At the time my Sister was working as a Legal Secretary for Solicitors in Liverpool. I was asked to cover a Trial at the Crown Court. It was a very serious armed robbery case. I remember sitting behind Counsel and I was intrigued by the legal arguments. This is what caused me to change my career decision.


Who inspires you?

I was inspired by the late Betty Behn who was my Principal. She qualified in the 1930's when she was one of the few female Solicitors. I have also been greatly inspired by many clients over the years who have had serious injuries but have continued to live life to the full despite their disabilities. The team that I work with inspire me. I have worked with them over may years and we are able to help each other for the benefit of clients.


What is the best part of your day?

The best part of my day is either a successful case won at Trial or obtaining a really good settlement for clients.


What is the best advice you were ever given?

Just 'do your best. You can do no more'.

 

How has the profession changed since you were a trainee?

The profession has changed immensely over the years that I have been a Solicitor. When I first came into the profession there was not even an exchange of witness evidence. It was really 'trial by ambush'.


What do you wish you knew on the first day of the job that you know now?

That even if you think something has gone wrong there is usually a way to put it right.

 

What is the most important skill for young lawyers to develop?

Communication with clients, colleagues and your opponents.


How do you deal with the stress of your job?

You have to tell yourself that the stress of the moment will soon be gone. To seek advice from your colleagues and obtain their opinion is a great help. A glass of Pinot Grigio does finish the day off nicely.

 

February 2018


5 Minutes With… Katy Link, Chartered Legal Executive at Fletchers Solicitors

Katy is a Chartered Legal Executive, qualifying in 2004. She is currently employed with Fletchers Solicitors dealing with litigated cases within their medical negligence department.

 

 

Why did you choose to go into law?

I didn't! It found me in a way. I remember weighing up whether I wanted to be either a medical or a legal secretary and had a chance meeting with a Solicitor, gained some work experience and that was it! I was persuaded to train as a Legal Executive and I am so grateful for that advice.

 

Who inspires you?

Too many people to mention. You all know who you are though.

 

What is the best part of your day?

I like to be organised. I will have a plan of what needs doing and I get immense joy seeing tasks crossed off my lists! 

 

What is the best advice you were ever given?

Train to be a Legal Executive. It has opened up so many opportunities for me and allowed me to work and gain experience at the same time as training.

 

How has the profession changed since you were a trainee?

I was fortunate not have to be a trainee. I was a file handler whilst I was training. I do remember Legal Aid for PI cases and "Plaintiff" however which may give my age away. When I first started though, sadly the majority of females were in administrative roles, something I am pleased to see has changed. 

 

What do you wish you knew on the first day of the job that you know now?

It's not a race. It takes time to gain experience. Being thrown in the deep end, is not always a bad thing!

 

What is the most important skill for young lawyers to develop? 

You need to listen and be patient. Particularly in my field of work, you are not just giving legal advice, you sometimes need to provide a listening ear. Try to put yourself in your client's shoes from time to time.

 

How do you deal with the stress of your job?

It's taken me years and I am not sure that I have fully mastered this, but you have to be super organised and kind to yourself - acknowledge that we are not invincible. There are times when I still email myself in the middle of the night to remind me to do something, but thankfully it isn't very often.

 

January 2018

 

Five Minutes with… Tracey Quirk, Partner and Head of Residential
Conveyancing at MSB Solicitors

 

 

Tracey is one the nominees for the Legal Professional category of the Women In Business Awards. Successful from early on, Tracey became an associate after only two years of qualifying. She became a partner in 2008 and since heading up the residential department of MSB Solicitors has worked with multiple housing developers across the city, helping thousands of people across Merseyside into their new homes. As well being WLD alumni, Tracey was also the vice chair of the Association of Women Solicitors.

How would you describe your role?


A bit of a mixed bag. I am Head of Residential Conveyancing and Deputy Money Laundering Officer soon to be come the Head Money Laundering officer. I am responsible for the procedures and supervisor of staff in the conveyancing department to ensure they are followed correctly. I sign off files, deal with money laundering issues and other enquiries, difficulties on files and run a case load of my own.


Why did you choose to go into law?

My 3B's in Sciences at A level and D in general studies left me in limbo and having to apply for a degree course through clearing. I fell into it!

Who inspires you?

All my other business partners. As I'm more junior to them I aspire to be like them.

What is the best part of your day?

Home time! I love going home to my family.


What is the best advice you were ever given?

Treat others how you would like to be treated and put yourself in their shoes.


How do you deal with challenges in work?

I put myself in the place of my client and think if I was the client what would I want. I then try to deal with it on that basis making it as easy as possible to explain. I empathise with my clients.

How do you deal with the stress of your job?

I like to go running to clear my head after a hard day. I work well under stress.

How has the profession changed since you were a trainee?

Its become harder. There is more red tape and regulation to which we must comply with. Clients demands have also changed.


How do you keep a work/life balance?

I plan holidays and weekends well to enjoy quality family time.

 

What do you wish you knew on the first day of the job that you know now?

How hard it would be.


What is the most important skill for young lawyers/professionals to develop?

Client care and dealing with difficult clients.


Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?

Hopefully with 40 million in the bank after my lottery win sitting on beach, but more than likely ill still be at my same desk sitting in my same chair hopefully aspiring young lawyers that there is no celling point for hard work and determination.


January 2018

 


Five Minutes With…Our wonderful Chair Kathryn King

 



Kathryn is a Solicitor-Advocate working within the Clinical Negligence Department at EAD Solicitors.

Why did you choose to go into law?

I wanted to be a lawyer from a very early age. I loved puzzles and riddles as a child and when asked what I would like to do when I grew up would answer "problem solving and mystery seeking". Turns out all the spots in the Scooby Gang were taken so lawyer was as close to this job description as I could get!


Who inspires you?

My mum. It might sound clichéd but she is the most positive and kind person I have ever met. I always try to be as kind as she is; it gives me something to aspire to!

What is the best advice you were ever given?

Just ask. This seemed a strange concept when I was fresh out of University but it is the most valuable thing I have ever learned. If you don't know how to do something, have too much on or can't meet a deadline, speak up and ask for help! It doesn't make you look incompetent it makes you look confident.



What is the most important skill for young lawyers to develop?

There are many skills required of young lawyers nowadays and a lot of demands on them but I would say the most important is business acumen. They don't teach you this at law school and it seems absurd that you have to be good at business as well as law to be a lawyer but given the constant shifts in the legal sector it is the only way to survive and the most valuable tool for all young lawyers looking to progress.


January 2018
  



Five Minutes with Nadine from Professional Training

Nadine owns her own boutique training business, Professional Training UK Limited having originally been a corporate lawyer working at both national and international firms. Her role now is to help people reach their potential and expand their tool kit in their interactions with others. She has a small select team of lawyer/trainers. All of her in house training is bespoke- www.professional-training.co.uk.

What is the best advice you were ever given?


The best advice I was ever given was "be yourself" and when the "little old me syndrome strikes" think about deleting the "little" and the "old."

 

What is the best part of your day?

I work with a lot of entrepreneurs as part of the executive coaching aspect to my business and the take home for me is that they always approach a problem with a presumptive attitude- we haven't found a solution yet- the yet presupposing a solution is available. It's incredibly powerful.

 

What is the most important skill for young lawyers to develop?


The most important skill for any lawyer to develop is the ability to read people. Lawyers sometimes spend far too much time talking rather than looking out for the subtext or hidden agenda. The ability to calibrate (read people)transforms and average lawyer to a top performer.

 

How do you deal with the stress of your job?


I deal with stress on various roles as coach/trainer/director/owner by working out what is core/non-core and taking each task at a time. Failing that a good walk and fresh air with no phone to clear the head always helps.


2017


A Day in the Life of a Trainee Solicitor, Elke Kendall


I am currently working in the litigation department as the second seat of my training contract at Brabners, where I deal with a range of commercial disputes including defamation, shareholder disputes and professional negligence. I also support the property litigation team, so my day can be quite varied which is something I particularly enjoy.


The working day starts at 9:00am, which usually allows me time to grab a coffee on my way in, and my first task is to check through e-mails that have come in overnight. I take a lot of notes to help me organise my workload and will add anything that needs to be done to the list I have written the night before.


While every day is different, this morning I needed to draft several "notice and take down" orders to online publishers that have posted a defamatory article about one of my clients. A partner in the team went through my first draft with me yesterday afternoon, so I spend time making the finishing touches to the letters this morning and once signed off I send them out by e-mail and post. I have given the various publishers five days to respond, so I make a note of this deadline in my calendar so I can follow up.


As part of my role, I'm also given the opportunity build client relationships and have direct contact with clients. Mid-morning, I receive a call from a client who is confirming the details of a complaint he made about a holiday provider. Following our conversation, I'm then able to finish off a letter I have drafted to be sent to them.


I have a good relationship with clients, particularly those I have been working with closely over the last few weeks. When you take the time to talk to and get to know your clients, you get more information from them and this ultimately helps you to understand exactly what resolution will suit them best. While litigation can be about going to court, it is often better (and more cost effective) to reach a resolution before proceedings need to be issued.


At lunchtime, I pop to a 30-minute class at the gym across the road from work with one of the girls from the housing and regeneration department, which was where I spent my first seat. I'm not sure how long this motivation will last, but it does help me to concentrate better in the afternoon!


When I get back into the office my supervising partner invites me to join a meeting with a new client about a shareholder dispute. I enjoy attending meetings with partners, as you can learn a lot from the way they manage expectations and explain complex areas of law to people unfamiliar with it.


My afternoon is spent researching a right of way issue for the property litigation team - I told you my day was varied - and putting together a note for the associate so they can discuss this with their client.


For my final task of the day, I call a clerk at a local Barristers Chambers to discuss whether they have counsel available to draft a defence for one of our clients in a professional negligence matter. We often use the same chambers so it's great to build up a relationship with the clerks. At the beginning of my seat I was always nervous about calling them, but they are always very willing to help.


In preparation for tomorrow, I write my list of "to-dos" before leaving a little after 6pm.

 


2017