I wanted to practise family law because it has an extra dimension – dealing with people and people's lives. It is a great privilege to be travelling along people's lives with them, but you have to take the rough with the smooth, and acknowledge that not everybody loves you.
The interesting work begins when you start taking on your own clients. The first case which came to me was a child matter, where the judge had to decide whether the child should go to a preparatory boarding school, as his father wished, or go with his mother and sister when they moved to the Continent.
The court made the right decision in allowing him to go with his mother and sister. The client said she always knew we were going to win because she saw that the judge was wearing plimsolls.
Family law is a wonderfully colourful area – a three-dimensional technicolour area of the law, dealing with real problems and real people. It is not just vicarious living, but a very important and interesting area of the law.
You have to have a degree of humility when commenting on your experience of family law – humility and a sense of humour go hand-in-hand, but you have to get the right balance. Being married with lots of children, and when the children were younger, sometimes the real work continued when I got home. During the day the arguments are at 5ft 7in and at home the arguments are at 3ft 6in.
On the evolution of family law, I hope that it will be on the understanding that family law is not litigation – it has to do principally with helping people to resolve their problems. It should not be seen as an adversarial process, although sometimes it is because you are dealing with two opposing views.