Special Magic Circle: 60 seconds with Samantha Woodham, The Divorce Surgery
Samantha Woodham, The Divorce Surgery
Tell Citywealth’s readers about your role.
I am a family law barrister and co-founder of The Divorce Surgery. We are a pioneering service in that we were the first regulated legal advisers to enable separating couples to share a lawyer on divorce.
You have been shortlisted for ‘Barrister of the Year’ at the Magic Circle Awards 2022. What does it mean to you to have been nominated for this award?
It is fantastic and I really had to pinch myself when the nomination came out. As the only non-Silk on the list I do feel like rather an imposter! But I think it is a great message that you can innovate, take risks and still expect your profession to recognise and reward you for it.
What is the biggest challenge you are currently facing in your sector? Any trends?
Family Justice is at a turning point. With the introduction of no-fault divorce and recognition amongst the highest level of the judiciary that far too many families are ending up in the Family Courts system, we are on the cusp of what are likely to be seismic changes in the way we view divorce and the way we litigate it.
What are the most important skills and personal qualities for a barrister specialised in Family and Matrimonial?
Empathy and a sense of humour. At its core, our role is about enabling two individuals to extricate themselves from an intimate personal relationship with dignity. In my experience that always requires a light touch and half glass full approach.
Best and worst parts of your job.
The best is always securing a good settlement, with minimal stress and angst for the couples involved. The worst are the hard cases, which litigate for years because each side becomes entrenched in their own positions.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you have been given?
Don’t wait. You can go through life thinking you are not ready, that you need more experience, that the timing is not perfect. You can always learn more and the timing can always be better but procrastination destroys momentum. As someone with a far better marketing brain that me once said, just do it.
Samantha Woodham is a member of our Leaders List.