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Jacke Wells - Mishcon de Reya

Cambridge Spotlight: Jackie Wells

Posted on 30 October 2023

This article is part of our 'Cambridge Spotlight' series, profiling our lawyers based in our Cambridge office. In the series, we find out about their backgrounds, their journey through law and hear why Cambridge is important to them.

Jackie is a Partner in our Family team. A mediator, collaborative practitioner and family lawyer, Jackie has over 30 years' experience helping individuals and families to resolve the complex financial issues that often accompany relationship breakdown.

I wanted to get into law because … I had a keen sense of fairness and from a young age found that friends seemed to value my opinion. I am good at supporting people during times of vulnerability, challenging their thinking and helping them to make balanced decisions. That's translated into my career.

I came to be in Cambridge because … I started my training contract in 1989 and was only meant to be in Cambridge for six months, but since arriving here, have never looked back! It's a brilliant place to live and practice. The Oxford-Cambridge arc is a magnet for inspiring individuals from entrepreneurs in tech and life sciences, creatives, landed estate owners, medics, and academics and that makes for a really interesting client-base.

I chose family law because … I thought I wanted to be a commercial lawyer but actually it was the human-interest element of what drives people, what shapes their relationships and family dynamic, that grabbed me. Clients entrust us with the things that matter most to them at a time of personal crisis, which is both a privilege and a responsibility.

The thing that motivates me most is … helping people to make informed decisions. Having practised in full-service firms throughout my career, I've acquired a commercial acumen. Helping clients to navigate that interface between the business and the personal and to make the best decisions that circumstances allow for themselves and their families still motivates me.

The work achievement I'm most proud of is … the strong reputation that the team has earnt for looking after our clients and being recognised for our expertise in complex cases, many of which involve family businesses where the outcome affects a number of stakeholders. I set the (legacy Taylor Vinters) team up in 2000 and we have always advocated a holistic, approach – which I feel means that we have always been ahead of the pack - and have an excellent track record of settling cases outside of court.

The thing that makes Cambridge such a hub of innovation is … Cambridge is an intelligent place to practice. Cambridge family lawyers were at the forefront of promoting non-court forms of dispute resolution and recognising the benefits to clients of an interdisciplinary approach towards relationship breakdown. I've learned a huge amount from co-working with professionals from a therapeutic background over the years and continue to do so.

One opportunity from the merger is … the unrivalled expertise and depth of resource within the wider Mishcon Private Ecosystem to cater for the needs of Modern Families of which managing the fallout from relationship breakdown is only a small, albeit significant part.

Somebody that has inspired me during my career is … Roger Bamber, my training principal and friend. A real visionary and innovator in family law In the early 1990's, we co-wrote a book with a psychologist and psychiatrist called " The Family Through Divorce – How you can limit the damage" charting the emotional ramifications of each step in the legal process and focussing on the effects on children. It was ground-breaking at the time – now, happily, that insight forms part of a family lawyer's training - and the remaining copy of the book is available on Amazon for 52p!

One thing I wish I knew when I started my career is …  own the things you can control, let go of the things you can't and learn to know the difference.

One future trend in my practice area is … The nuclear family doesn’t exist in the way it did when I started out – modern families are multi-faceted, and family law is evolving accommodate this diversity and, in some instances, complexity.

The de-legalisation of the divorce process and "no-fault" divorce are a good thing I recently refreshed my mediation training and we're seeing a a resurgence in non-court dispute resolution.

One thing you didn’t know about me is … I once took a sabbatical and worked in tourism in Turkey. If I wasn't a lawyer, I would love to be a travel journalist.

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