We continue our series where we ask members of the legal profession 10 questions about their life and career.
Frances Lints grew up in Wellington and studied law at Victoria University of Wellington. She graduated in 2016 and was admitted to the bar in December 2016. She practises law at Melanie Baker Law in Lower Hutt.
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Why did you choose this area of law?
Family law is a very interesting and challenging area of law but also incredibly satisfying. I love working with people directly and enjoy the problem-solving element to family law.
If you were not working in law, what would your alternative career be and why?
I have wanted to be a lawyer for most of my life, so it is hard to think of an alternative career path! I think I would have been either a physiotherapist because I am interested in sports medicine and rehabilitation or an activities co-ordinator at a retirement village because I love spending time with the elderly, improving their quality of life where possible and listening to their stories, most have led such interesting lives!
What case or proceeding sticks most in your mind?
It’s a boring answer but the cases/proceedings that stick with me are the ones where we couldn’t quite achieve what the client wanted. You can’t come out on top all the time, but it is those ones where we didn’t that stick with me.
What do you love about your job and why?
The people. I enjoy working with and learning from my colleagues. I value my interactions with other counsel and the registry. It is so good to know that such a supportive, interesting and engaging network of people come together to practise and manage family law in the Hutt.
Is there anything you dislike about your work and why?
When we can’t achieve the result the client wants, for whatever reason, and then also dealing with the client frustration that comes with Family Court proceedings. As lawyers we know that this is not often directed at us, but it can still be a challenge to manage this and the client’s expectations on a daily basis.
What do you think is the biggest challenge facing New Zealand lawyers?
Achieving a work-life balance with ever-increasing expectations and workloads.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a lawyer?
When I first started practising, the biggest challenge was just getting a foot in the door. It’s the common cycle faced by a lot of graduates that you can’t get a job without experience, but it’s tricky to get experience without a job. These days, it would be making sure that I have an appropriate work life balance to ensure that I can perform to the best of my ability when I’m at work without being tired or burnt out.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in relation to practising law?
One must always maintain a sense of objectivity when advising a client on their position, and to be empathetic but not sympathetic.
Lawyers are often described as workaholics. Is that you? How do you switch off?
I do enjoy my work, but I try to make sure I leave it at the office and don’t bring it home with me. In my spare time I love to be active and I play squash and hockey. I also love cooking and spending time with my family and the pets.
Where is the most exotic place you have been to for a holiday? Tell us about it.
I really haven’t travelled much. I went from college to uni to working full time so travelling is something I want to do more of in the near future! My favourite place I have been to thus far is Rarotonga. I went there for a squash tournament and loved the people, the climate, the food and the opportunity both to be active and to relax.