A solicitor who was still at primary school when she first set her sights on a career in law has joined the family team at Slater and Gordon.
Gabrielle Read-Thomas vowed to follow in the footsteps of father Christopher, a local authority solicitor who died when she was seven, and has never looked back.
But after stints in conveyancing, insolvency and industrial disease, the 34-year-old says her passion is for family law.
“For most people there is nothing more important than family and when something happens to threaten that it can be devastating,” she said.
“I used to work for a legal aid firm and saw the terribly sad situations that people can find themselves in, but if you can achieve a good result for your client there’s nothing more rewarding. Particularly in cases involving children it can be very emotive, but the ability to keep a cool head and secure the best outcome for them is a great feeling.”
Gabrielle, 34, studied law at Cardiff University and worked for law firm Morgans, where her caseload included family, before moving to Howell’s to complete her training contract. After qualifying, she decided to move closer to relatives in her childhood home in Over Alderley, Cheshire, and now lives in Atrincham with husband Andrew and cat Zola.
She previously worked for the industrial disease department of Silverbeck Rymer, one of the legacy firms acquired by Slater and Gordon, before switching to family.
Gabrielle is one of several new recruits to join the team and will be based in the Manchester Mosley Street office working with the likes of principal lawyers Lorraine Harvey and Sarah Thompson who have decades of experience in the field.
She added: “There is no typical day in family, but I like the challenge and I like talking to people. Being able to listen, understand and empathise with clients, who are often at their most vulnerable, is absolutely crucial.”
Lorraine Harvey, head of family law in Manchester, added: “Gabrielle’s passion for family law really shines through and she has already proved herself to be a huge asset. We’re delighted to have her on board.”