Spotlight on: Jolene Hutchison
In this edition, our editor talks to the new partner in our Family Law Team, Jolene Hutchison. Jo joined the firm during lockdown and therefore has a unique experience to share with us.
You joined IBB Law just as the country went into lockdown, what story do you think you will tell about this in a year or so?
I can imagine me having a conversation with my colleagues Yasmin Kibble, trainee solicitor, Khadiza Rahman, family team PA and Jamie Leaphard in IT, along the lines of “Do you remember when I started last year and had no IT training and couldn’t even work out how to email a word document!” They have all been amazingly patient with me. I was really looking forward to a proper in-depth induction but COVID-19 had other plans.
Even though I started in the middle of lockdown and have only been into the office on a few occasions, it is remarkable how quickly IBB feels like my work home. It has only been 4 months but feels much longer.
What has been the most challenging thing about the lockdown for you?
Starting a new job! You underestimate how invaluable it is to be in an office environment when you are learning the ropes.
From a personal point of view, having the children at home and trying to work and impress in a new job has been a challenge for me and many other working parents. Just as lockdown is relaxed, we are then straight into Summer holidays. However, as a career woman, the juggle between working and motherhood is not new to me!
On a professional level, it has been difficult for many of my clients as they face living in lockdown with someone who they are separating from. Alternatively they are navigating the arrangements for their children, during an unprecedented time, if already physically separated.
And what are the positives that you have discovered as a result of it?
Life has had to slow down. As a family unit, we operate at 100mph most days. Traditional family time used to be a luxury. So I have really enjoyed the extra time I have had with my two young boys. Being more present has been a huge bonus.
What are the things you are most excited about in your new role as a partner at IBB?
I am really excited about working as part of a big team, in a firm which offers so many complimentary sectors for my clients and those who refer work to me.
What do you enjoy most about being a family law specialist?
During my 17 years in the profession, not one day has been the same.
The role also carries a huge responsibility as clients are putting their trust in you to apply the law so as to protect their children and their assets. It is such a personal area of law.
Your Instagram page @thefamilylawpartners gives us a glimpse of your life outside work but tell us something about you that may surprise your colleagues?
The Instagram page was set up with a view to giving clients and intermediaries a glimpse into the lives of myself and my fellow partner, Kate Ryan. It is key that people see the human side of their lawyers.
What can I tell you which may surprise my colleagues? I am second generation Sicilian and my late Nonna (grandmother) once told me that during WW2, when the village she grew up in was occupied by the Americans, the Mafia turned up at a dance she was attending to bring the village a pig to eat as they were short on food. The members of the Mafia were all wearing masks but one of them approached and her and said “Don’t worry Francesca, it’s your Uncle!”. So apparently, I have mafia ancestry.