Aside from the day job…
Whitehead Monckton positions itself as the Kent Law Firm and it follows that our lawyers not only are experts in legal services but are committed to developing wider connections within the local community of Kent and beyond. This we feel enhances not only the range and depth of advice our lawyers can offer but it also enables us to give something back in a society which often sees members of this profession in a very different light indeed!
The family department of Whitehead Monckton takes this approach really seriously and many members of our team volunteer and take part in a range of roles within different partner organisations.
Director, Graham Jones, is not only an excellent family lawyer but also an education expert and experienced mediator. Whilst this is reflected in the legal work he does on behalf of his clients his experience is deepened by his membership of the committee of Kent Family Mediation Service and as Governor of both Egerton Primary School and Knatchbull Academy. He is also a Trustee of the European School of Osteopathy. On an average day he could be one minute speaking to hundreds of parents about issues affecting a school or interviewing future head teachers and the next conducting a mediation session between a separating couple. Graham also has a regular slot on Radio Kent called “The conversation” where professionals from around the County are invited to talk about what is in the news, it being agreed that Graham has the perfect “face” for radio!
Director, Dawn Harrison, is a former Kent Chair of Resolution and a long standing Kent Law Society member. She is a committee member of Kent Resolution and the Maidstone and Medway POD Liaison Officer for collaborative lawyers. The collaborative law approach is an excellent way to resolve issues arising from separation where everything is discussed and resolved in meetings with both clients and their collaboratively trained lawyers present. https://www.whitehead-monckton.co.uk/for-individuals/family/what-is-collaborative-law. By direct involvement in the local collaborative law practitioner group, Dawn gets to meet other collaborative lawyers and form good working bonds which then benefits her clients as these bonds make the collaborative process work better.
Dawn has also fulfilled the role of training principal within the firm for many years engaging with young applicants to the profession and overseeing their path to qualification as solicitors serving the local community.
Director, Daniel Bennett, stepped down only recently from being the Kent Resolution Chair although remains a committee member. He is on the National Committee of Resolution and is Chair of the Education and Training sub-committee. As an organisation of family lawyers who promote a non-confrontational and amicable approach to separation, Resolution, is an essential source of information for separating couples. You can find out more about Resolution by clicking http://www.resolution.org.uk/about_us/
Resolution also campaigns for changes in family law. Currently we are faced with legislation from 1973 which bears no resemblance to modern day life. It is simply outdated to have to prove either unreasonably behaviour or adultery to get a divorce immediately upon separation and Resolution is campaigning hard for “no fault” divorce and for other long overdue legal changes including in relation to strengthening rights for former co-habitees. Daniel is working hard with other National committee members to make the next government listen to the long standing pleas of family lawyers for family law to be modernised.
Associate Jonathan Miller is the current Kent Chair of Resolution and a Kent Resolution committee member. He is a member of the Maidstone and Medway POD for collaboratively trained lawyers and a Kent Law Society member. He was recently recognised for his outstanding contribution to Kent and the legal practice by being short listed for the Kent Law Society Outstanding Achievement Award. http://www.kentlawsociety.com/kent-law-society-awards.html.
Jonathan is also a member of our CSR team and works to promote charitable causes with the firm and more widely.
Associate, Emma Palmer, is the Honorary Secretary of the Kent Law Society (a Society of lawyers that promotes and represents the legal profession in Kent); she is a former Past President of the Medway Law Society and a member of the CLOCK steering committee and CLOCK student trainer. Set up in 2016, CLOCK is a scheme designed to promote access to justice which is being piloted in the Canterbury Combined Court. Emma also volunteers for the duty solicitor CAB scheme in Canterbury and the Kent Law Clinic advice sessions and gives lectures and talks in local schools and universities on following a career in the law. Emma is also an active member of the Canterbury POD for collaboratively trained lawyers.
Our junior solicitors are encouraged to get out and about and promote the legal profession and the firm in the County. Solicitor, Sarah Brissenden, who qualified in 2015, is the Secretary for both Kent Resolution and YRES (the young Kent resolution lawyers group).
So, that is just what a few of our lawyers do but WHY is this good for you as a client coming to see one of the family department of Whitehead Monckton?
What makes us different to other family law departments at other firms?
Well, we would say that by the commitments our family lawyers make to both the firm and the community they are better able and equipped to help and advise you. They are up to speed with the latest developments and practices in family law through the committees and organisations they serve and they have excellent connections and links across the County with other professionals, which enhances the service they can offer to you.
The family department at Whitehead Monckton has grown from just 3 lawyers in the Maidstone Office in 2012 to 9 lawyers across our offices in Maidstone, Tenterden, Canterbury and recently in 2016, adding Docklands. We are now one of the largest family law teams in Kent and we offer an excellent service to our family clients with the backup of a large multi service practice supporting our family clients with their other legal requirements within different departments. For example, selling the former family home or separating out the family business upon divorce.
Quite simply we believe we offer an excellent service tailored for you and if you wish to discuss any of the points raised in this article, please contact a member of the family team.