An established senior solicitor with twenty years’ experience in all aspects of family law has joined Verisona Law, strengthening our services for those needing support in relationship breakdown.
After studying Podiatric medicine and working for the NHS for several years, Sara-Jayne Fildes made a career change in her late twenties to enter the legal profession. After studying a law degree at De Montfort University in Leicester and completing her LPC at Nottingham Law School, she moved south to Chichester in 1998 and began a training contract at The Owen Kenny Partnership.
Having gaining experience in a variety of areas of law, including conveyancing, wills & probate and litigation, Sara discovered a passion for family law and her success in this area led to her being offered a full time position after she qualified.
‘I am sure that my years of caring for patients, listening to their concerns and trying to work out the best possible solution contributed to my aptitude for family law,’ explains Sara. ‘Right from the start, I have always enjoyed advocacy, felt comfortable in a courtroom, but work very hard to find a practical and cost effective solution at the earliest stage. Using a wide range of skills makes this the most interesting and personally satisfying area of the law.’
After four years, Sara was asked to join the firm’s partnership, then made equity partner after another three. Embracing the constant waves of change within family law, she qualified as a Collaborative Lawyer with Resolution in 2008, founded the Chichester Collaborative POD in the year after and then qualified as a Mediator in 2014. She served as a committee member of the Chichester District Law Society for many years and President between 2015 and 2016.
‘Family law has been moving in the right direction in recent years, with solicitors being more conciliatory, but while effective practitioners have kept up with the speed of change, physical resources have struggled. With court closures and lack of facilities to hear cases relating to finances and children, efficiency is inevitably stalled and needs to be addressed urgently. Advice should be sought at the earliest opportunity to look at all options in order to resolve matters swiftly’
With years’ of experience in high networth separation, dealing with complex financial affairs and handling sensitive issues regarding children which have seen her successfully bring cases to the Court of Appeal, Sara now joins Verisona Law as an Associate Director to lead the family team at its offices in Waterlooville.
‘Having realised the potential of my previous family team, I was ready to take on a fresh challenge and Verisona Law’s modern, client-orientated ethos was very appealing,’ she says. ‘They have an exciting client base and I have already had meeting requests in anticipation of the New Year, which is traditionally a very busy time for our profession.’
Away from the office, Sara enjoys spending time with her family looking after her 13 year old twins with her partner, Edward Hand, who is a barrister.