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Archive for the ‘Meet the Team’ Category

Interview with Damian Norris

Tell us about yourself

As at  1st November this year I have been a solicitor for twenty years. I qualified later than most having done a variety of things after my Law Degree at Southampton (1980 – 1983)  including advertising copywriter, worked in the City for a year  or so in the heady mid 80’s, graphic design, petrol pump monkey, painter and decorator on building sites, gardener and a host of other long-forgotten best forgotten fill-in jobs. Accidentally started doing family law and felt at home in the hurly burly world of the family courts. I quickly learnt to pick up a case and run with it and ended up doing Care work which strikes me as one of the most worthwhile ways of earning a living I can think of. I love the people involved – the great and the good as well as the mad and bad! I like the fact that the other lawyers in Care – even we disagree completely with each other – are usually able to work together for the good of the children involved. There is a good deal of respect for the other lawyers because they are doing a hard job in difficult circumstances but we do try and do our best. Sometimes we even succeed.

What drew you to the law?

I loved history and the people I respected at the time, Thomas Moore, Erasmus (that lot) were often lawyers (as were the artists Cezanne and Sisley). On the very first day at University, my tutor said to me: “I know why you’re doing law. For the money!”  I didn’t realise that. Not sure how true that is even now!

What do you offer clients?

Straight talking and absolute commitment to do my best for my client.

What do you do when you are not working?

I have three great children so that takes up most of the time. Otherwise I read if I can and paint portraits. I have painted all my life.

Can you sum yourself up in 5 words?     

No. I’m far too vain.

                                                                              

Interview with Denise Hoilette

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF

I first joined Venters Solicitors as a Locum Solicitor at their Reigate office and then subsequently became a Senior Solicitor and Head of Department in 2011 and was made a Salaried Partner in 2012.

I love the challenge of the variety of work that I conduct at Venters.  I meet very interesting people in very distressing circumstances and am privileged to have a role where I assist in some crucial decisions that are being made in their lives.

I have had an extensive Family Law practice for over 21 years.  I specialise in divorce, finance orders relating to marriage and relationship breakdown including international elements and assets, injunctions both civil and domestic violence and co-habitation work.  I was involved in setting up a Domestic Violence One Stop Advice Service many years ago and have continued throughout my years of practice to take a special interest in domestic violence issues and the protection of victims.

I specialise in representing parents and children in Care Proceedings and other child related Court actions such as special guardianship, residence and child arrangements applications. I have often represented clients with an international element and have also represented clients in child abduction and leave to remove cases. I conduct a large proportion of my own advocacy in various courts.

I am a member of the Law Society’s Children Panel (Adult and Child), Family Law Panel and am a member of the Association of Lawyers for Children, Resolution and advise clients via The Grandparents Association.  I have represented children in non-accidental injury cases and other complex care cases. I act for children with significant mental or physical health or behavioural problems.

I have a very active and challenging parent care case load and take great care to listen to my clients to ensure that I understand their position and their lives and what they have experienced.  It is a great privilege which I take seriously, no mater what type of case I am involved in.

In 2003 I obtained an MBA (Legal Practice).

WHAT DREW YOU TO THE LAW

I wanted to be a Solicitor from when I was 12 years old. It attracted me as it seemed like a challenging and exciting career- and so it has been!

I have been fortunate to have conducted 3 cases at Court of Appeal level.

I like to add to my knowledge all the time and I am currently turning my attention to add into my specialisms in advising clients in relation to alternative family issues for single sex couples.  Given my extensive experience in the law relating to relationship breakdown and children this fits very well with my professional interests.

WHAT DO YOU OFFER YOUR CLIENT

I develop a close working relationship with my clients and listen to them very carefully and actively as I like to understand their motivations and experiences. Clearly working with clients in distress is a huge privilege and there is a delicate balance to strike. I am very clear in the legal advice that I give and the reality of an individual’s situation so that I can provide realistic options.

I believe that being clear and honest with clients is absolutely crucial so that clients can make informed choices about their lives.

As I am a Solicitor Advocate I provide a seamless service from the very first meeting through to court hearings and I believe that this is very reassuring for clients.

WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU ARE NOT LAWYERING

I love singing and I am a member of a large London based choir who have performed at various major London concert venues.  I love running (when my knees allow!) and walking and going out.

I am a former Chair of a Board of School Governors at a local school and continue to be a Governor which is very interesting and rewarding.

I love spending time with my friends and family and many people say that they never know what I am going to be up to next as I am a great believer in seizing the day and having as much fun as possible!  I have travelled extensively around the world.

CAN YOU DECRIBE YOURSELF OF IN FIVE WORDS

Not really – I don’t think anybody can!  People have said that I am fun, caring, vibrant, passionate and a straight talker.

Interview with Christine Boot

Tell me about yourselfchristine photo

I joined Venters this year.  I trained at John Taylor & Co in Croydon.   I later became a partner and when the senior partner John Taylor became a District Judge I continued the firm as a sole practitioner for a number of years.   Due to family commitments I closed the practice and for the next nine years I worked for Grants Solicitors in Croydon becoming head of the family department.

I specialise in family law and I am a member of the Law Society Advanced Family Law Panel with specialist areas of ancillary relief and domestic abuse.  I undertake all aspects of family law.

What drew you to law?

On leaving school I worked as a secretary and after a couple of years became a legal secretary in a London firm.   I found law fascinating and whilst bringing up my children I studied for my law degree and continued through College of Law.  I was fortunate to be trained by John Taylor who introduced me to many aspects of law and encouraged me to specialise in family law.  In this area of law I feel that I am able to help people who find themselves in difficult family circumstances.

What do you offer clients?

I offer clients a professional and realistic approach to their family problems.  I have nineteen years of experience in family law and I treat each client as an individual and tailor my advice and assistance to their personal situation.

For many years I have given pro bono advice to victims of domestic abuse in the Surrey area and continue to do so by providing a legal advice clinic at Your Sanctuary, a Surrey Domestic Abuse Charity, on a monthly basis.

What do you do when you are now lawyering

I enjoy spending time with family and friends, socialising, reading, and when I get time decorating.

Can you sum yourself up in five words?

Approachable, practical, reliable,  friendly,  determined

Interview with Lauren Harris (trainee Solicitor)

Tell us about yourselfphoto

I joined Venters in November 2008 as an Office Administration Assistant. I was promoted promptly to a Paralegal with this firm, before most recently becoming a Trainee Solicitor in 2013. I have assisted June Venters QC throughout the majority of my time with Venters.

Prior to my employment with Venters, I had been working for a Conveyancing firm of Solicitors in Guildford as a Legal Secretary.

As well as undertaking full time employment I commenced the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives (CILEX) course and completed Levels 3 and 6 of the same at Guildford College. After six years of studying CILEX and working full time, I then undertook the Legal Practice Course at the Guildford University of Law in the hope that I could qualify as a Solicitor.

What drew you to the law?

I haven’t always aspired to be a lawyer, however I have always had a strong passion for justice. I have witnessed many individuals struggling to achieve justice and the consequences that this had on them and their families. It is my experience of this which drew me to the law, as I wanted to be in a position to assist individuals who were desperate for justice to be achieved.

What do you offer clients?

I hope that I offer clients the reassurance and peace of mind that I will deal with their case in an efficient and professional manner, in order to achieve a resolution of the issue for them and their families.

What do you do when you are not working?

Up until last year, most of my spare time would be taken up by studying or taking law examinations. Now that this is no longer required, I enjoy attending exercise classes with British Military Fitness and have taken up running as a hobby. I have entered my first half marathon for which I am fundraising for a charity.

Sum up in five words

Dedicated, approachable, enthusiastic, diligent and reliable.

Interview with Alex Forbes

Tell us about yourself                                                                          350_39126701521_8325_n

I joined Venters in July 2012 having trained and worked at two leading criminal firms in London.

I also spent some time working as a consultant for an international city firm prior to joining the firm.

I head up the criminal department at Venters and I specialise in business crime, regulatory enforcement & compliance and serious & general crime.  I defend prosecutions brought by the Serious Fraud Office, Crown Prosecution Service and HM Revenue & Customs.

I advise post conviction/sentence on potential grounds and merits of appeal. I also provide advice and assistance to witnesses who have been asked to provide a statement or have received a request to attend court to give evidence.

I provide specialist police station advice as well as advice to clients in relation to interviews conducted by other prosecution agencies. I have a wealth of experience and success in making representations to the CPS, or relevant prosecuting agency, that charges should not be brought.

I run a pro bono free criminal advice clinic at Venters for individuals to “pop in” with any criminal law issue.

What drew you to law?

I think I can say with certainty that I lead with my heart rather than my head. To me, law has always been about criminal defence, evidence, court & police station procedures and helping those facing the worse types of allegations.  I have had experience of both criminal legal aid and privately funded criminal cases and have realized that criminal law should only be undertaken by those with a passion for it.

This is one of the reasons we started the free advice clinic – to enable individuals to still get excellent criminal legal advice and access to justice on the high street.

What do you offer clients?

I can offer clients over 10 years experience in the criminal law field. I have dealt with most criminal offences from murder, manslaughter, sexual offences, drug trafficking, harassment, firearms, various degrees of assault to motoring offences.

I respect the definition of “client care” and I leave no stone unturned for my clients. I consider individual strategies for each case I deal with and I don’t simply follow a set path. Rather, I take every client’s personal circumstances into account and I am always looking two steps ahead.

What do you do when you are not lawyering?

I enjoy spending time with my family and friends and try to take every opportunity to celebrate special occasions.

I am also an avid cyclist and have completed the London to Brighton bike ride on a number of occasions.  I also cycled Edinburgh to London as a slightly more ambitious week’s cycling holiday.

I also enjoy writing and plan to be an author of both adult fiction and children’s books in the future.

Can you sum yourself up in 5 words?

Brave, Loyal, Kind, Determined, Fun.

Interview with Carly Fiander

Tell us about yourselfCarly Fiander

I joined Venters in 2002 as a paralegal, before undertaking my training contact and qualifying as a solicitor in 2005.  I specialise in Family Law and am a Resolution accredited specialist in Domestic Violence and Children Law.

I undertake all children work whether proceedings have been issued by the Local Authority or by family member.

What drew you to law?

I have always been interested in Law and to be honest was unsure what I wanted to do when at school/College.  I was encouraged by my Law tutor at the time to study Law at University.  I then gained work experience with different firms and knew that I wanted to work helping families.

What do you offer clients?

I offer reliable down to earth advice to my client’s, along with a willingness to listen and help families work through the issues currently before them.

What do you do when you are not lawyering?

I am lucky to have a supportive family who I like spending my time with when I am away from work. I do enjoy watching TV box sets and am currently watching ‘Lie To Me’ and ‘Orange is the New Black’.

Can you sum yourself up in 5 words?

Caring; reliable; professional honest; realistic

Interview with June Venters QC

Tell us about yourselfKEN_7804

I specialise in all aspects of criminal and family law.  In 2006 I became the first woman solicitor ever to be appointed Queen’s Counsel.

I am totally committed to my clients and their cases and at the same time have compassion and sensitivity. I will leave no stone unturned.

As a family specialist I undertake all aspects of Family Law both within England and Wales.  I also specialise in International Child Abduction dealing with both Hague and non Hague convention cases and Domestic Abuse [Domestic Violence] and Education Law.

In addition to being a Practising Lawyer I am an active Family Mediator undertaking both children and finance cases.

I sit as a Recorder [part time Judge] in the Crown Court and County Court and hear criminal cases, private family and public family cases and civil cases.

In 1996 BBC1 produced a documentary about my working life entitled “Law Women” and a follow up documentary was produced by BBC4 in 2009.

I have been the Senior Partner of Venters which I commenced in 1991.  I am proud to say that I lead a team of equally committed colleagues all of whom have qualities of their own.

What drew you to law?

From a child I always had a strong sense of Justice and often found myself at the forefront of school activities.  My family background was such that I had been exposed to the Justice System from an early age as my Mother worked for London Solicitors and although she specialised in Family Law the Practice for whom she worked represented the most serious of criminal cases in their day.  Therefore, working with my Mother most holidays and which I elected to do meant that I absorbed a sense of Justice from an early age and recognised the importance of the Rule of Law and the rights of the individual, something that has stayed with me throughout my life.

What do you offer clients?

Measured and skilled advice and representation.  Ensuring client is fully informed as to the strengths and weaknesses of their case so that costs incurred are proportionate to their objective.

As a Solicitor, Queen’s Counsel I am in a unique position to provide a combined service which neither a solicitor nor counsel alone can do.  My experience and reputation means that I undertake the most serious of cases but I am always willing to represent less serious cases recognising that clients have the right to have a freedom of choice with regard to representation.  I am always willing to discuss the needs of a client and to taylor the services I provide to meet those needs.

What do you do when you are not lawyering?

I suppose my motto should be “I work to live” – what this means is that my work is a very large part of my life.  I consider myself privileged to represent clients in the way that I do and for that reason I dedicate much of my life to it.  That said, I do have other interests, the most important and significant of which is being a Wife and Mother.  Without the support of my family I couldn’t do what I do and that support began with my parents.

I particularly enjoy the time I spend with my husband and daughter who, without a doubt, keep my feet on the ground and never let me forget that “home is where the heart is.”

Can you sum yourself up in 5 words?

Dedicated; hardworking; conscientious; sensitive and approachable

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