Getting to Know Kristianne James – Risk & Compliance Officer

Q: Why did you decide to become a family lawyer?

The easy answer is I didn’t. Instead, I’ll give you a little introduction to me…

I started at Stowe in September 2022 as a Risk and Compliance Officer. But prior to that I worked at the Legal Ombudsman for 12 years since it opened in October 2010.

I was an investigator there for most of my time, but my last two roles were as an Ombudsman and then finally I worked as a Customer Experience Specialist, dealing with complaints about the LeO’s service.

It meant I dealt with our most vulnerable and challenging customers – complainants and lawyers alike! It was also massively rewarding to be able to put something right. And equally, protect and support our staff when necessary.

After 12 years with the LeO I felt it was time for a new challenge and that’s how I found myself at Stowe.

Q: What have been your most memorable cases so far and why?

I love a criminal investigation tv show or film, the more heinous the crime the more intriguing (which is worrying…). But in my work at the Legal Ombudsman, a proportion of the complainants were convicted and serving sentences for some serious crimes. It always put it in stark focus that these stories we see on TV and films aren’t limited to entertainment and for some it is reality.

On the other end of the spectrum, the other cases that stand out and stay with me are the ones where the resolution we reached for the complainant really changed their lives.

Q: What 3 qualities do you think every family lawyer needs?

I’m going to say: Empathy. Resilience. A shrewd mind.

Q: Which part of your job do you enjoy or dislike most and why?

It’s very early days to be answering this question about my role at Stowe, but generally when a customer has started off upset and I’ve been able to resolve their concerns and they go away happy – that feels like a real achievement. Once that ball of discontent starts rolling, it can be really hard to stop it and I’m always dealing with customers when they’re at their worst emotionally.

I can’t think of one particular thing that I really dislike, I’ve been dealing with complaints for over 12 years now, so it seems I mostly enjoy it!

Q: What would you do if you weren’t in risk and compliance?

I love films and tv! I’m not so interested in the creative side, but I love to plan and organise and boss people about (don’t worry I limit that to my friends and family… for now) so I’d want to work in production.

Q: How do you relax?

See the answer above. I have a membership to a cinema, so I go there pretty often. My family and a few friends are also cinema lovers, so I usually always have someone to go with. But I will also happily go on my own. Other than that, I love a good talk at the park or on the beach and never say no to having food with friends and family.

Q: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

I would want to have the power to enter people’s dreams and influence them. I would mostly use this power for good, and visit some of the world’s leaders etc, but also occasionally plant the odd idea for my mom to take me on holiday, for example!

I work within the Talent Acquisition team here at Stowe with a particular focus across the North. I post a variety of blogs from family law to environmental, wellbeing to progressing careers. Subscribe below to be the first to receive our latest family law newsletters.

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