Name: Jackie Rawcliffe
Job: Solicitor and Head of Family Law Department at Cullimore Dutton Solicitors in Chester
Where were you born: Vicars Cross, Chester
Where do you live now: Kelsall
Education (secondary school, university, further education): Christleton High School, University of Liverpool, College of Law (Chester)
Family life: Husband (Michael), one son (aged 14) and one daughter (aged 13)
My first job in the morning is to sort the dogs out.
We have two Cavapoo brothers.
More often than not, I’ll have washing to load into the machine, so I’ll do that whilst sorting out the kids’ breakfast – this usually involves a cereal bar being shoved in their blazer pockets!
It’s a battle every day to get the children out and onto the school bus on time.
I usually get into our Chester city centre offices at White Friars for 9.30am and immediately sit down with my secretary Debbie (without whom I cannot function) to process emails, make priority calls and go through the post.
Often this is my first chance of the morning to finally drink a hot cup of coffee.
As head of our busy Family Law department there is usually an admin meeting to attend.
I invariably have a mid-morning meeting scheduled into my diary.
Today, I’m preparing for a joint settlement meeting in Leeds on a case involving the official solicitor, deputy for property and affairs appointed on behalf of the opponent client.
I’ve spent an hour on the telephone to take instructions from my client, so I can finalise proposals before heading out into Chester for a working lunch with the Barrister’s Clerk from a national Chambers in Manchester.
We have so many excellent eateries here.
Sadly, there’s no room in my diary for long lunches. I cram those in at the weekend.
I’m straight into a client meeting after lunch to work on the preparation of a Form E (financial document) for a case which involves complex financials including foreign assets.
This is a new client meeting so I’m taking full instructions.
Sadly, this is an acrimonious divorce and there are problems concerning arrangements for the children.
By mid-afternoon I’m back at my desk and returning client phone calls.
Around 4pm, I’ll quickly call the children to check they’re home from school okay and getting on with homework.
The last hour of the day is usually taken up with signing my letters, signing off bills and today I completed a questionnaire for the University of Law who want feedback from partners in regional law firms as to why I chose a career in law.
It’s been a difficult day with two incredibly challenging and complex cases so that reminder is timely.
Eventually, I get home, prepare dinner (ping!), check the children’s homework and around 8pm I’ll sit down and dictate notes of the day’s client meetings.
By 9pm, supper eaten, and dishwasher loaded I collapse on the sofa to watch TV with Michael and put my feet up.
I like a good boxset.
What do you wear to do your job? I’m often meeting clients so I wear smart/casual clothes (ideally with two-way stretch!). If I’m in court, I’ll usually wear black. I believe it’s important that you dress for the occasion.
What is the favourite part of your job? Definitely the relationships I build with clients. Often, I’ll meet them at their lowest ebb, in despair. I’m a member of Resolution and a collaboratively trained lawyer so will always seek to go down the collaborative route first. I get huge satisfaction helping my client to a happier place and achieving the best possible outcome for them. Frequently, we become friends. I also have a great team and we manage to have a laugh in often very difficult and stressful circumstances, which is vital.
What is the least favourite part of your job? Reading spreadsheets.
What would be your dream job if you weren’t doing what you do now? Local TV weather-lady.
How do you relax when you are not working? I love catching up with friends. My family keeps me busy but my friends keep me sane’ish.
What is your favourite film? Grease
What is your favourite book? Anything by Jo Nesbo
What is your favourite song? Wake Me Up Before You Go – WHAM!
If a film was made of your life, who would you like to play you? I’d like to say Charlize Theron but realistically it’s more likely to be Victoria Wood.
Have you had your 15 minutes of fame yet? No, is this it?
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