Staff profile Legal eye on Julie Hobson
Name: Julie Hobson
Position: Head of Department/Partner
Department: Matrimonial and Family
Areas of expertise:
I work in the Matrimonial and Family department of Gullands.
My job is to work with the client to resolve their matter. The breakdown of a relationship is almost always incredibly difficult, but the legal side of things should not be traumatic. There are various principles that the law uses to work out how to resolve disputes, and I bring my knowledge and experience to the situation to bring a speedy and positive resolution to my client. Family Lawyers are involved with clients at some of the toughest times in their lives and we employ Resolution principles, to try to avoid making a difficult situation even worse.
When and why did you move to Gullands?
I left my previous firm towards the end of 2012 and in early 2013 was looking for a new firm. I was offered a locum position here at a time when the department was in transition after the retirement of the previous partner. I was then delighted to be offered the job permanently. I knew Gullands for its excellent reputation and when I began working here I also found that it was a very friendly firm to work for.
Initially working as an Associate Solicitor, I was very pleased to be asked to become Head of the Family Department last year and am very proud to become a Partner in January 2016.
What’s been your biggest career lesson and why?
Every case I deal with is different but the principles are always the same and family lawyers can only prepare their cases based on the information received from their clients. It is therefore of fundamental importance to make sure that the client and their former partner enter into full financial disclosure in relation to financial matters, to ensure that I can reach the best agreement available.
If you weren’t doing this job what would you be doing?
I came into the law quite late, having worked as a PA in finance for a charitable trust until I had my children. I then went to university when they were very small. If I hadn’t gone into law then, I expect I would have continued in the charity sector or, once I had my degree, I did look at becoming a teacher. However, when I was a child I wanted to be a solicitor so it was fantastic to achieve that.
Which changes to the law would you most like to see?
Family structures have changed hugely in the last 20-30 years and I do not feel that the law has evolved to reflect these changes. For unmarried couples, there is no provision for ongoing financial support on separation, or claims over pensions and this can leave individuals, often women, at a great disadvantage if a long term cohabitating relationship breaks down. I would like to see the law addressed to reflect the fact that many people do not marry. I also believe our divorce laws need an overhaul, at the moment unless couples have lived separately for more than 2 years they have to divorce based on one parties unreasonable behaviour or adultery, often this does not reflect the way the marriage has ended and leads to additional stress and unpleasantness.
Now that my children are older and at university I at last have some time for hobbies! However, I devote a lot of my free time to being involved with the Girl Guiding organisation. I am Brown Owl at my local Brownie pack, the same Brownie pack I was a member of many years ago. I also lead the local Rainbow pack for 5-7 year olds and am District Commissioner with overall responsibility for 9 local units. I am really passionate about the work of Guiding, where we give girls great experiences such as holidays and camping and also encourage them
to believe that they can do anything. That takes up a lot of my free time but I also enjoy walking, bird watching and swimming.