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Alumni Interview: Jane Gray, Solicitor for Stowe Family Law LLP

Jane Gray heads up the wills, tax trusts and probate team at the country’s largest family law specialists, Stowe Family Law LLP. Here, Jane provides an insight into becoming a family lawyer and offers advice to others wanting to take the same path (click here for more info).

Why did you choose to study law? I had the privilege to study philosophy and history as a first degree. In a nutshell, history helped me understand bias and philosophy is all about logic. Transferring to Law from this seemed like a natural step.

How did you find studying at the College of Law (ULaw)? I studied Law at the College of Law, Chester Centre which is held in great esteem, and rightly so. It was a great place to be.

What was your first job? In 1996, I started my training contract with a respected Legal 500 firm of solicitors based in Northampton. Once I became a qualified solicitor I was promoted after two years to become an associate at the firm. I then married, moved to Manchester and combined working with family life.

Tell us a bit about your current role I am part of the team of family lawyers at Stowe Family Law’s Hale office, specialising in wills, inheritance tax and probate law and has a wealth of experience in dealing with high values cases. Furthermore, I advise on Lasting Powers of Attorney and general mental capacity issues occurring under the Mental Capacity Act 2005.

I regularly contribute to the Marilyn Stowe family law blog ( www.marilynstowe.co.uk)  which features over 4,500 articles related to family law and divorce. The articles I have written cover topics ranging from wills and inheritance related stories, to pensions and Lasting Powers of Attorney.

I am also a fully qualified member of the Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP), as well as an Associate Member of Solicitors for the Elderly (SFE).

What advice would you pass onto students studying law? Law is a fantastic base because it is so versatile and respected. Whatever your interests you can have a fulfilling and creative career. My area is private client law. I see people with complex family situations and I create a solution tailored to that family. No case is the same and half of my job is being able to relate to other people in a compassionate and measured way.

What is the best/worst career advice you have ever been given? The best career advice had is that you should always play to your natural strengths. A career is a journey. It should be interesting to you. Don’t do it because it is expected of you.

I don’t listen to bad advice. I just observe it. What is right for you is often wrong for someone else.

What gets you out of bed in the morning? I simply enjoy the job, so the day passes in the blink of an eye. I also enjoy challenges. I always think how can I develop that other interesting area? Even after 16 years there is so much to learn.