Hi Fiona, tell us about yourself!
Hello! I’m 47 years old, married with three children, and I’ve been working in law for several years. In the beginning of my career I was a secretary. But, I studied whilst I worked to qualify first as a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives and then finally I qualified as a Solicitor.
I see! You must have worked on quite a few cases throughout your career. What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in terms of the professional services that you provide?
There have been a vast number of cases over the years and there are invariably some challenging ones. I’ve found that financial remedy cases can be very challenging for two reasons:
- Often there are limited assets and there isn’t enough to meet the needs of both parties fully, particularly where there are young children involved.
- It can be hard managing people’s expectations of what can be achieved. What they might think is morally just and what the law can do for them can often be quite different.
What has been your most successful case this year?
The highlight of this year has been the successful defence of a challenge by a former husband to overturn a financial settlement made in 2010. My client lived outside the UK which could have made communication and instructions challenging. Despite this, even though we only had the chance to meet the client for the first time at trial, we succeeded in retaining our client’s assets and were awarded costs.
For me, successful cases are when the parties can find a way to compromise and form a resolution that works for them both – especially when there are children to think about.
What’s the secret to your success?
I like to look for solutions. I’m mindful of costs and I try to help my clients look at the wider picture. I always keep in mind, for example:
- the available assets;
- the parties’ incomes;
- capacity for a mortgage;
- what properties each party could live in.
It’s information like this which helps us find the way forward and reach a successful resolution.
Why family law?
Oddly enough, I fell into law on a Youth Training Scheme (a bit like apprenticeships in those days) and I loved it from day one. The human element in family law is what makes my job interesting as well as the variety of cases. It’s all about giving people time to tell their story and finding a solution to help them move forward at a time when emotions are often high.
Why use Newnham & Jordan Solicitors?
I like to think we give our clients time to make them feel comfortable, especially if there’s something embarrassing they need to talk about. That’s why I don’t set a fixed period of time for a free interview.
I also believe it is important to get people to look at the whole picture (rather than just looking at themselves). To do so helps them to consider ways forward and often presents solutions they may not have previously considered.
What does Fiona Pawsey do outside the office?
I like to spend time with the family. My youngest daughter has just started to get interested in cooking so we have a lot of fun with that. I also enjoy reading – my favourite author at the moment is Patricia Cornwell.
In my spare time, I sing in a local choir. It makes me relax after a stressful day. I enjoy running as well and am an active core group member of Weymouth Parkrun and Weymouth Junior Parkrun.
Any advice for anyone who has a family dispute?
There are several ways you can help yourself:
- Get information about what assets you have, get information of mortgage capacities that are affordable. Look at the cost of rehousing and how this can work practically. Don’t forget Shared Ownership (Part Buy/Part Rent) as options when looking at finances.
- Try to keep the lines of communication open. It is hugely important for your children to see that Mum and Dad can communicate. Don’t bring your kids into the argument – the impact on children of being involved in family arguments can be everlasting.