Kerry Avis Solicitor Profile
- AuthorKerry Avis
We sat down with Kerry Avis from our Peterborough office to ask about her days, how she started her career, and what advice she can impart for individuals looking to start in law.
Q1. Why did you become a Solicitor?
I have wanted to be a Solicitor for as long as I can remember. I started learning law at A level and found it interesting. Also, through personal experiences, I experienced the effects of family law first-hand. This made me realise I wanted to enter the legal sector and make a difference for the better.
Throughout my time in the legal sector, I always want to show my clients that I am fighting their corner and committed to their case. After being qualified for the last two years as a Solicitor, I feel I have been able to achieve my childhood dream and help people through difficult times in their life.
Q2. What area of law do you specialise in and why did you choose it as a specialty?
When I originally joined Family Law Group, I was working with cases around divorce and finances. My skill set and passions led me to start working on matters involving children. I found that this area was better suited to my skill set and was a better fit with the reasons why I initially wanted to become a family lawyer.
After graduating from Nottingham Trent University in 2013 with my Law degree, I was lucky enough to start my LPC at Nottingham Law School part time whilst beginning my work with Family Law Group. My time at the company has been spread across a range of areas giving me a great experience in the areas of Family Law we provide services in.
From starting work on a voluntary basis to part-time and then a full-time basis, I have been able to develop my skills and gain a deeper understanding to each area of Family Law and realise where I am best suited to practice. Clients want to be heard and supported and I pride myself on being able to help them overcome troublesome periods in their lives.
Q3. What are the four essential skills you believe a good solicitor should have?
The skills I believe all Solicitors should have, revolve around how you are as a professional and how you interact with clients. Being a good listener, allows to you to take on board and understand your clients or the oppositions agenda, point of view and desired outcome. This is especially important in cases involving elements of domestic and psychological abuse. It is important that the client feels comfortable to be able to talk about their experiences and confident that you are taking on board what they are saying.
This balances with having empathy for the situation, it is the human connection you are building a case on, which is often he most critical part. By being able to prepare and having an analytically based mindset, you can focus on the details and areas that may be a crucial part of your case.
I also believe that from a client perspective it is important you demonstrate you are a ‘fighter’. A client needs to see that you have the confidence to argue their case and put their position to the Court. Whilst not all clients get the outcome they desire, it is also important that we are showing that we are doing what we can for them.
Q4. What is the biggest challenge that you have faced in your professional career?
I have had several big challenges in my professional life, most recently surrounding my set up and move to a new office and area of the UK. I used to do a long commute each day when I was setting up our new office in Peterborough and trying to build a client base and our reputation in this new area. Being newly qualified and setting up a new office was a challenge, a very welcome challenge, but a challenge none the less.
Looking back on it now, I was able to overcome all the obstacles and succeed in not only setting up the office and growing it to this day within the firm but also running a case load and ensuring clients were properly represented.
Q5. What does an average day look like for a family lawyer?
There is no average day to an extent. However, whilst no two days may be the same, your weeks can be similar. Each day is always busy, between meetings, drafting documents and a high volume of emails the days are quickly taken up. Especially if you need to go to court as well. You must be prepared and have systems in place to organise the range of activities solicitors need to do daily.
I use a book with a list of to-do items that when completed I can tick off, this along with a colour coding system allows me to balance my days and prioritise or move items that can be addressed on another day if an emergency arises. I find doing this, is a sensible way to avoid getting overwhelmed and be able to manage your day rather than letting it manage you.
Q6. What do you like to do in your free time?
Before lockdown, I loved spending time with family and friends, now that physical meeting is not allowed, we have started using digital methods to stay in touch. My friends and I have organised a Taskmaster style quiz night and we enjoy being able to do an activity together once a week. During lockdown, I also adopted two kittens, Pablo and Pippin which have kept me and my partner very busy trying to house train them!
I love to bake and cook and look forward to making my signature truffles for all my family when I next see them in person. I have tried to offset the baking by enjoying long walks and more recently I have started the Couch to 5k, an NHS project that involves running three times a week. I have enjoyed throwing myself more into exercise now that swimming pools have shut.
Q7. What is your advice to anyone that wishes to start a career in law?
The advice I would offer is the same that one of my bosses told me, you must show people that you are hungry. By showing your drive, passion, and determination in every case you undertake, and your willingness to go the extra mile for your clients and for their cases.
Family law is by its very nature difficult, fuelled by a lot of emotions and it is important that you are resilient and passionate about where you want to be and how you want to progress. Determination is definitely the key.
To contact Kerry, please click here