The recipient of numerous awards and accolades, including Spears’ Family Lawyer of the Year 2015 and Citywealth Lawyer of the Year 2016, Suzanne is internationally renowned for her expertise dealing with complex financial disputes on divorce.
Private Affairs: Suzanne, what brought you to family law?
Suzanne Kingston: I have always been interested in wanting to combine the intellectual rigor of law with a psychological element. Family law offered the perfect mix!
PA: What does a typical day look like for you?
SK: I’m a morning person so I like to walk to the office, get in early and start the day prioritising my to-do-list. The joy of the job is that there is no such thing as a typical day. I could be in court, or mediating or arbitrating a case. As a family lawyer, I see my role as a dispute resolver and within family law we are fortunate to have a variety of ways to bring about a resolution for our clients.
Family law is also so diverse. Each client is different and their individual needs need to be understood and respected. And I’m always fascinated by how many different areas of law a case can span. We often need experts in relation to property, corporate, tax, trusts, partnership and insolvency law. One of the great benefits for clients of Mills & Reeve is that these experts are all under one roof.
Alongside my client work, I also teach family law arbitration and collaborative practice and am involved in various organisations so I’m always on the go.
PA: What has been your proudest professional achievement?
SK: It has to be spearheading family law arbitration in England and Wales and then going on to help other countries set up their own arbitration schemes for family disputes. Being at the cutting-edge of the law and meeting some truly inspirational people along the way has made it a memorable experience.
For those who don’t know, in family law arbitration the couple appoint an arbitrator who hears the dispute – whether finances or children related – and makes a final, binding decision on it. It allows separating couples to resolve disagreements far more quickly and cost-effectively than the court process does. It also offers confidentiality and a large degree of flexibility so couples can tailor-make the process to suit their circumstances and aims.
PA: If you hadn’t been a family lawyer, what do you think you’d be doing now instead?
SK: In days gone by I would have loved to have been a ski instructor but I’m not so sure about my knees now!
PA: How do you relax?
SK: By the time this edition of Private Affairs is published, I will be well underway to training for my first triathlon as well as having completed the Bordeaux Marathon – don’t worry, this is the cheese and wine marathon!
PA: We hear you have an enviable record for attending Glastonbury! What is your top Glastonbury moment? And who would be on your wish-list for Glastonbury’s 50th anniversary next year?
SK: My top Glastonbury moment was seeing Adele on the Pyramid Stage on a glorious Sunday evening. It was wonderful to hear the purity of her voice and be in a crowd of 120,000 adoring fans! Another great memory was seeing Dolly Parton appear in the legend slot. She certainly knew how to work a crowd and was a vision to behold in a cream trouser suit when everybody else was covered in mud!
Next year I would love to see Florence and the Machine because I missed her last time she was at Glastonbury. Also, I think there should be an 80’s tent so that I could relieve my youth – the Human League, ABC and Heaven 17!
Anyway I must sign off now because I am getting ready for Robbie Williams on Sunday!