Citywealth spoke to Antonia Mee, co-founder and partner at family law firm Burgess Mee about her work-life.
Tell me about your role.
I run a boutique family law firm with my business partner, Peter Burgess. We set the firm up 8 years ago and manage a friendly and highly skilled team of 14 family lawyers and other support staff in our offices in Clapham, Hammersmith and Islington. As well as running the business I am a full time family lawyer with a busy case load of divorce, finances, children, cohabitation and domestic violence matters.
Talk us through a typical day from the moment your alarm goes off…
I don’t stop from the get go. I usually have calls with new clients in the morning and check documents drafted by the junior solicitors working on my cases. I also take time to chat on the phone to various members of staff, so that we keep connected during the pandemic while we are working from home. I often have court cases, that are currently by telephone or Zoom, and will have a remote conference with the barrister and client beforehand. After I’ve done a second round of checking junior solicitors’ emails, so that we get them out to clients or the solicitors on the other side by the end of the day, I can settle down and do any drafting of long documents during the quieter hours after 5.30pm.
Tell us about your practice and area of specialisation
My clients come from a wide range of backgrounds including city professionals, international clients, full-time mothers and home-makers, farm owners, sports professionals, creatives and business owners. It is the human-interest element of my work that most inspires and motivates me. Many of my cases involve financial and children matters on divorce and separation. I have a particular interest in complicated children cases involving domestic or international relocation, which is when one parent wants to move the children to a different part of the country or abroad. I act for parents on both sides of these very difficult and emotive cases. I also have a lot of experience in cases where one parent has a personality disorder, which requires specific skills in handling.
What challenges do your clients face and how are you helping your clients to overcome them?
Most of my clients are perfectly capable of researching the law themselves if they want to. The challenge for them is applying it and my value to clients is really in advising on strategy, helping them to see the wood for the trees, and steering them away from making emotional decisions when appropriate.
What is your most memorable work moment?
Being successful in a children relocation case when we had just set up the firm and were a small firm of 2 solicitors acting for the financially weaker party, and the other party was extremely affluent and represented by a big city firm.
Best and worst parts of your job?
The best part is feeling I’ve helped someone when they’ve faced a significant problem in their family life and the worst part is when a client’s case is prolonged or delayed due to the huge backlogs at court, through no fault of the client or solicitors involved.
Who do you most admire and why?
I admire different qualities in everyone and try to put those strengths into practice myself – whether they come from a paralegal at my firm or a QC I’m instructing.
If you weren’t in the private client industry, what else might you be doing?
I’d like to be a paramedic in another life…