For seventeen years, Jacqui Bilson has had a full life.
She was a single mum to three children and had the opportunity to change many lives through her career in counselling and psychology.
But Jacqui knew that she had something more to give so she went back to university to become a family lawyer.
Now, she is the Principal Solicitor of her own family law firm, Bilson Law .
This month, we sat down with Jacqui to learn more about what she loves about being a family lawyer.
Before you practised family law, what did you do? How does your experience help you as a family lawyer?
Prior to becoming a family lawyer, I was a counsellor who worked with at-risk youth, Aboriginal and regional communities, people with disabilities and offenders in custody. Many of my family law clients find my style very comforting and supportive. They feel believed and empowered by me and are confident that I “get them”. This is my goal as a family law practitioner. I believe that an informed and empowered client is what drives good outcomes.
What do you love most about your job?
The first is connecting with clients. I love being able to chat with my clients and provide the calm in the storm, a listening ear and a safe space to be heard.
The second is seeing clients at the end of their matter feeling like they are at the start of a new chapter with clear boundaries in place.
What has been your most memorable matter to date?
All matters are memorable in their own way. My most memorable matters are the ones where clients first come to me feeling disenfranchised and filled with fear and then following a strategy session with me, they get busy and really turn their situation around.
What has been the most rewarding and testing aspect of starting your firm?
The most rewarding part has definitely been building resources to assist clients to feel more empowered and involved. I love working on information sheets and question forms.
What has tested me the most is that starting your own firm can be incredibly isolating at times. For this reason, I am eternally thankful for the amazing group of colleagues I have.
What do you think the most common challenge is for family law clients?
Sifting through copious amounts of information on the internet! The problem is that most of the information available is incorrect or is not applicable to their specific situation.
What do you think everyone involved in family law matters can do better?
Better listening and communication generally! It is essential that anyone involved in family law matters takes the time to listen to the other party.
With emotions running high, it can be difficult for parties to express what their concerns are, so it is essential that parties and their legal representatives exhibit patience and understanding.
Why do you use FamilyProperty in your practice?
The reason I was attracted to FamilyProperty is that it involves the client. An involved client is an empowered client. I love that clients can engage with the process. Research is clear that clients who are more proactive and involved with their case are more likely to be satisfied with the outcome. The family law process is notoriously disempowering and our goal at Bilson Law is to empower our clients.
We are almost at the end of 2022. What are you looking forward to professionally in 2023?
I am looking forward to continuing to build resources for clients, and work with some of our amazing local service providers to enable clients to access all the services that they need when they are dealing with their family law matters.
Jacqui Bilson is the Principal Solicitor of Bilson Law.