An experienced lawyer, Associate Solicitor Kelly Hughes joined Cullimore Dutton’s Family Law Team in December. Here she talks about why she became a solicitor, the importance of supporting people going through a divorce and her acrobatic hobby.
What inspired your career in the law?
I grew up in North Wales, where I still live, and was always interested in a career in the Law. I took Law at A-Level and really enjoyed it. I enjoyed the problems solving element, and it was my first insight into how the law could impact on people’s lives. I wanted a career where I could help people and if I could do that whilst they were going through a difficult time in their life that gave me a purpose, which I didn’t think I would get in a different career.
How did you get started?
After finishing school, I studied Law at Aberystwyth University and returned locally to attend the College of Law in Christleton. It was shortly after graduating from here that I got my first position at a law firm in Chester and once I had gained valuable hand on experience, I started my training contract, qualifying in 2009. I worked for a number of Cheshire based law firms before joining the Family Team at Cullimore Dutton in December 2022.
What do you love about your work?
The Family Team here at Cullimore Dutton, headed up by our brilliant Head of Department, Brenda Spain, specialise in all aspects of family law. I enjoy the fact that every day is different and hugely varied. Each case turns on its own facts and merits. It is both challenging and rewarding. I also get to engage and meet with a variety of people, each with their own story to tell.
Cullimore Dutton has such a friendly, inclusive team environment which supports everyone from clients to colleagues, and I think this is something that really stands us out from the crowd.
Having been through a divorce myself recently, it has given me a greater understanding of being on the other side of the desk. It’s helped me appreciate much more how the law impacts on an individual, having been through the different stages myself. I’ve found it helps my clients to know I’ve been in their shoes, to know I’ve had to deal with financial matters from their perspective, and that I too co-parent. When I say to clients that things will get better, I’m speaking from experience, which I believe they do value and appreciate.
What advice would you give to people thinking about divorcing?
It’s never easy to make the decision that your marriage is over. But if it is a decision you have made, it is vital to speak to a solicitor as soon as possible, even if it is just to find out where you stand. There is no “right time” to divorce and we are here to offer whatever support is needed and we can call upon a wealth of experience.
The choice of solicitor is a very personal one. Often clients want a solicitor who is friendly and approachable but they also want to know that their solicitor can fight their corner when required and will support them in the hard decisions they may have to make by offering them the best advice and guidance throughout their case and discussing the options that are open to them and those that are better for them.
Life outside work?
Outside of the office my life is busy with my two young children and our family dog. “Mum’s taxi” would be a fitting nickname! I try and keep active when I can, which can often be a struggle.
I started running in lockdown (following a couch to 5K plan) and I’m planning to enter a 10km this year. I’ve occasionally roped my son into helping me train, riding his bike alongside me when I run. Like lots of people I find committing to a gym membership difficult, but a few years ago I tried Aerial Hoop, having seen a friend post photos on social media, and I’ve been hooked ever since. My daughter does this also and its lovely to have a common hobby with her, although her flexibility far exceeds mine! It is a fun way to exercise and I find I’m able to switch off from work when at the studio and enjoy some well needed down time.