Nicola Harvey joined the Family Law department in December of 2016 and is back doing the work she has always enjoyed.
Nicola’s background before joining Battrick Clark
Nicola was born in Nigeria but moved to Bristol when she was just six years old. Schooled at St Bede’s School and St Brendan’s 6th Form College, it was during some work experience that she discovered her interest in law. She was lucky to be able to spend some time working for a family friend who was a solicitor. This work gave her valuable exposure to a working law firm, and the opportunity to observe legal practitioners, meet with clients and observe court procedures.
Says, Nicola, “It gave me an insight into a working day in a law firm. I enjoyed the variety of work, the client contact and getting into a court, plus I appreciated the overall intellectual rigour.”
At the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, she received a degree in English Literature and followed that with a Law conversion course and Law Society Professional exams.
Nicola was articled for two years working in a firm in Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire and from there she moved to Birmingham. “Here I started to specialise in family law and I enjoyed this area of law immensely. I particularly liked the everyday contact with clients and getting to grips with each individual’s issues”.
There followed ten years as a family law specialist in Hertfordshire having relocated there because of her husband’s job as a research scientist. Next followed a move to Singapore where the family lived for eight years. Nicola became involved with the Singapore Mediation Service delivering workshops to business professionals on negotiation and conflict resolution in the workplace. After a few years in south west France Nicola was delighted to return to Bristol and re-establish her legal career.
Joining Battrick Clark
“I was very excited to be given the opportunity to reinstate my legal career at Battrick Clark. It has been a very positive period. I have found that the experience I have gained over the years has helped enhance my legal skills which I have worked hard to keep up-to-date. Battrick Clark have a very progressive approach towards women returning to the legal profession and were very welcoming and positive towards me.”
“We have a very experienced and talented team in the family law department and the approach towards our clients is one that I feel at home with. The law underpins our expertise but you have to want to work with people in order to understand their problems and be in a position to help.”
“Every case is different and situations can be emotional and difficult. As a member of Resolution, I follow their code of practice, which is committed to a constructive resolution of family disputes. I see a big part of my role as helping to steer people through these often difficult times, manage their expectations and achieve a successful outcome .”
“I certainly get tremendous professional satisfaction from being someone that clients turn to in difficult or trying times.”
Thoughts on any trends
Losing Legal Aid has been a big factor, and some people feel they cannot afford a solicitor to represent themselves and actually take on the role themselves. I have seen this trend increase. However, divorce law can be very complicated and in my experience, trying to go it alone can often be problematical.
What does the future look like in family law
The word digital is everywhere these days and it’s certainly something that is beginning to help the legal world. There has been, for example, much talk about digital divorces. The government’s overall goal seems to be about modernisation of the courts by going more online, with divorce being one aspect that would benefit. Certainly, the time it takes could be potentially shortened online. Currently the process can take between five to seven months and if property and ownerships are involved anywhere from 12 to 18 months upwards. However, the government is taking a step-by-step approach, which includes trial periods and research incorporating working with specialist accessibility centres to help ensure the service is compliant and accessible for users who need additional features to allow them to access the service, such as using screen readers. This all means it will be a while before a full digital divorce will be with us.