Family and Divorce Partner, Jolene Hutchison, has risen the ranks from Trainee Solicitor, to Partner, to Head of Family and Divorce. To get to know Jo a bit better, our resident reporter asked her a few questions…
Why did you become a lawyer and what type of lawyer are you?
Ally McBeal! What initially ignited an interest in the law was really bad American dramas which have no resemblance at all to the practice of a solicitor based in England. I feel very fortunate that from a very young age I have always known that I wanted to work in law even if it was nothing like that portrayed on the TV.
You then need to decide what area you want to specialise in and never truly know whether you are suited to being a litigator or a transactional lawyer until you are undertaking your training contract. Very quickly I realised that if you had snapped me in half, akin to a piece of rock, you would have seen the words “litigator” running through me. This was proven during my Wills, Trust & Probate training seat which highlighted that my skill set sat very firmly elsewhere.
The ability to apply the law in such a way that you can help people is very rewarding. I feel that I am tenacious and able to adapt my tone and style to suit each individual case and client. There is no getting away from the fact that lawyer’s fees are extremely high and so justifying fees is extremely difficult and harder when practising in an area where most individuals are making a distress purchase. I set out to encourage those clients to accept the process is costly but with me on board, they will feel that their costs have been applied in the correct way with a cost conscious approach.
I am fortunate to have had quite a few career highs. Being made Partner in 2010, then Head of Department in 2012 and then being ranked as leader in my field in Chambers and Partners in 2017. More recently I have also been named in the Legal 500.
However, the biggest high has been growing the Family and Divorce team from two of us doing solely private work to the current 6 lawyers and having raised the profile of the department to such an extent that the majority of my casework is now high-net-worth individuals.
Why should you be my lawyer? Why should I contact you and not someone else?
I am extremely pragmatic and always have one eye on the future relationship that my clients often have to maintain long after our involvement ceases. Whether that is with the other parent of their children or an ex-spouse. I am also very service focused and strive for the client to feel as though the relationship they have with me enables them to instill trust that their matter is in capable hands.
Tell us something about Blaser Mills…
People hang around for a long time! I have been at the firm for 14 years which I think says a lot about the firm itself and the people. What I believe sets this firm out from others is that somebody like me has managed to have two children during my career and yet have been consistently promoted and entrusted with greater responsibility.
What job would you do if you hadn’t become a lawyer?
A florist. It’s quite ironic as I’m not particularly artistic but I like the idea of creating a pretty bouquet in a stress-free environment. Although, this became less attractive when I recognised that you also had to prepare funeral flowers. Perhaps another reason why I was never destined to become a Wills, Trust & Probate practitioner.
What do you do in your spare time?
As a mum of two young boys (6 years and 2 years old), together with this job, there is not much time for anything else. The contrast between my professional and my personal life is gargantuan. I often laugh to myself as I am tripping over matchbox cars and having discussions about toilet habits one minute and then consider how I am going to protect my client’s millions with the drafting of a Pre-Nuptial Agreement.
When I have the time, I am an avid F1 and Moto GP fan. Passing my motorbike test is definitely on the bucket list.