Making Family Law Friendly | Lincolnshire Pride 2021
As a solicitor and mediator, Lisa Boileau thrives on making family law accessible and achieving good outcomes from her clients. With 28 years experience, Lisa reveals here the reasons that much of her work is gained through recommendation from others...
How did you get into your line of work, and your area of speciality?
I began my legal training in 1992, qualified in 1994 then became a partner in 2000. I fell into family law purely by chance. It was not an area of law that I was particularly focused on when I was a law student, but I quickly discovered how rewarding it is to find respectful, supportive and cooperative solutions for couples and families needing resolution.
What have been the most significant developments in law you’ve witnessed?
As the area of family law was developing, I took the opportunity to train as a Family Law Mediator in 2005, where I mediated separating couples as well as continuing to represent clients as a solicitor in court.
In 2012, it became possible to arbitrate on family law issues. I applied to train as a Family Law Arbitrator and was one of the first solicitors in England and Wales able to sit and hear private family law financial disputes between couples and support and assist them to resolve their disputes on a binding basis, but away from the family law court.
One of the aspects of the legal profession I really do enjoy is the fact that the law evolves to help people; it’s like a mirror that reflects society. Civil Partnerships became permitted in law from 2004 and so in that relatively short space of time we’ve seen a significant shift towards equality for same-sex & civil partnerships as well as marriages.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
I am also now responsible for Wilkin Chapman’s trainee solicitor recruitment programme and I am thoroughly enjoying meeting graduates and undergraduates who are setting out on their legal career path. Giving some of these young people the opportunity to train with us and become our lawyers of the future is hugely exciting and rewarding.
What qualities do you believe make you great at your job?
Setting very high standards for myself, trying to do a really good job for my clients and truly caring about how they are and what outcome they get.
Offering calm and pragmatic advice, being able to understand complex problems quickly and identify solutions for people who are often very upset or are feeling totally overwhelmed by their situation, is essential in what I do.
Traditionally people regarded aggressive lawyers as being strong, and though litigation or a robust approach is sometimes necessary, overwhelmingly it’s the case that respectful, supportive and cooperative ways of finding resolutions are best, where possible. Amicable and fair results create a calmer and better outcome for both parties.
Family lawyers and children are not weapons by proxy, and I think the fact that my colleagues and I recognise this is a good example of how the family law profession has changed for the better over the past 28 years. I’m proud of the fact that we seek to find resolutions now, instead of exposing clients to an adversarial system.
What are some of your most memorable career moments?
The first time I went to court as a trainee solicitor and obtained an injunction to protect a woman who had been seriously domestically abused by her partner. To then get her to a place of safety gave me a feeling of immense relief and satisfaction. The first multi-million pound divorce case I got instructed on was another big moment in my career, but my most memorable career moment would have to be the day that I was invited into partnership at Wilkin Chapman. 20 years on, women are well represented in our boardroom. The firm has 15 female partners which reflects the prominent role women now have in the legal sector.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given and why?
Don’t forget to look after yourself; otherwise you cannot look after those who are around you. It’s very important when lots of people are relying upon you, to stay fit and healthy.
What are your hobbies outside of work?
My husband and I are very keen hill walkers. We try to go up to Scotland every year on a walking holiday and can often be found climbing Mam Tor or Kinder Scout in the Peak District to blow the cobwebs away at the weekend.