Cathryn Harper-Tedstone is an Associate in our Family Law team. This month we’ve shone the spotlight on her as she tells us about her most memorable – and scariest – moment as a junior lawyer, her advice for those facing divorce and the A-level that attracted her to the job.
What first attracted you to a career in law?
I loved my A-Level in Law, especially the criminal law aspect. I became a family lawyer after really enjoying my family seat during my training contract, which was a fantastic start to my legal career. Prior to my training contract, I was a paralegal dealing with civil law disputes.
What type of legal advice do you provide and to what sorts of client?
I advise across a whole range of family law matters such as financial matters on divorce and children’s matters. Due to my civil background, I specialise in cohabitation disputes under TOLATA and Schedule 1 claims. I also assist clients with injunctions such as non-molestation orders and domestic abuse protection.
What is your most memorable legal experience and why?
It was when I did my first ever non-molestation order for a domestic abuse case, which included prohibited steps regarding the abduction of the children. It was genuinely the scariest moment as a junior lawyer, knowing that if the order is not made by the court, you could be placing a family at risk.
All you can do is make sure your evidence is the best it can be, and you put forward your client’s concerns as accurately as possible. I don’t think I will ever forget this case and going before a district judge in Birmingham to detail my client’s case for an order to be made for immediate protection.
What is your number one top tip for clients?
Stay off social media and limit communication as much as possible to avoid arguments and increased tension. Now that we live in a world with lots of different types of technology, the best option is to limit communication during this difficult time, so as not to increase emotions which can make settling matters amicably a lot harder.
Of course, this is not always possible when children are involved, but any communication should be civil and polite to avoid animosity. We completely understand that our clients are going through a difficult time and the best way to reduce the stress and cost of this process, is to try and settle matters quickly and amicably.
Negative emotions can make this process a lot harder – especially if parties are having tense conversations in the background which can affect their decision making.