Q&A with Annie Russel, Lawyer Development Manager

1. What was your background before joining Stowe Family Law?

Before joining Stowe, I worked as the Solicitor Manager at Crisp & Co Solicitors. I qualified as a solicitor in December 2017. Whilst I was very fortunate to work and train with Henry Crisp and then embark on my own caseload in London, I felt my personality and interests were better served in a management role within the firm, which still utilised all my skills as a qualified solicitor, particularly for legal management, compliance, and complaints.

2. What does your role as Lawyer Development Manager involve?

One of the key aspects of my role is to develop strategies to make lawyers better practitioners. Through my years (over 12 years!) of experience working in Family Law, I’ve embarked on a journey that has taken me through all aspects of a firm, including PA, triage, practising solicitor and senior management; I, therefore, have a good grasp of what it takes to be a well-rounded, good practitioner.

To support this vision, I’m currently working on a project to develop a two-year trainee lawyer training programme that will suit those who qualify through any route, such as the traditional LPC route, the SQE route, or through CILEX. I’ll also be providing training to future trainees of Stowe to ensure they qualify with the correct skills and attributes to make them the best lawyers they can be.

3. What are you most looking forward to about joining Stowe?

As someone who loves being around people, I’ve loved being a part of a bigger firm and having the opportunity to meet many new faces.

4. What have you been most surprised about since joining Stowe?

The most surprising things about Stowe so far… not really a surprise but more of a delight! Everyone has been so lovely to work with. Secondly, the work flexibility Stowe offers has been a very welcome surprise, i.e., I can start earlier and finish earlier.

5. What 3 qualities do you think every family lawyer needs?

a) Confidence in yourself and in the advice, you give to your clients.

b) Ensuring you are organised to use your time as effectively as possible.

c) Ensuring you take good notes for your file. These help your team regarding case progression and any future issues that may arise on your file, such as complaints, to ensure you have noted exactly what was said in a meeting or a phone call. They really are lifesavers, so do your notes!

6. What advice would you give to a trainee who is thinking about specialising in family law?

Remember that a large proportion of your clients are going through some of the hardest times of their lives so showing empathy and building a good rapport with them to gain their trust in you and the advice you give is very important.

7. What would you do if you weren’t a lawyer?

I would own a flower shop or a café that served the best coffee and brunch options!

8. How do you relax?

I’m a mother to a very active 20-month-old son I therefore have limited time to relax, so I cherish the rare opportunities when they arise! My choices to relax would be to go out for lunch or dinner with my husband or to go for a brisk local walk up the Malvern Hills.

9. If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

To have the ability to fly!


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