What is love? Law, love, loss and life
Chaynee Hodgetts reflects on love in the February Foreword
"Love is strange” – according to the song from Dirty Dancing. In the February issue of the Solicitors Journal, in addition to our usual wide range of content on points of law and practice, we’ll be taking a look at many different types of love. Love can be an ecstatic high or an exhausting heartbreak – a soft, steady, stable safety, or a raucous, relentless rollercoaster – and, as the criminal defence Bar’s answer to Bridget Jones, I’m pretty sure my commentary on it would receive mixed reviews. But love is a shapeshifter, taking many forms, fulfilling many functions – and, this issue, our authors demonstrate that aptly in the legal context.
Adrienne Braumiller and Harold Jackson (p36) consider the comparative protections (and perhaps, compassion) against modern slavery and forced labour in different jurisdictions. Michelle Chapman’s article (p42) on a notable estate case provides pause for thought on love and legacies left for the next generation. On the love of fairness (and client care), Susannah Foden and Gareth Ledsham (p58) consider how we can better support vulnerable clients in litigation.
Moving on, Joseph Hume’s piece on protest (p28) looks at the love of causes that matter (and how these can be subjectively diametrically opposed, depending on one’s perspective). And on p68, our business and practice editor Jon Fenton-Harvey, considers the strength of feeling among lawyers on any likelihood of limiting legal professionals’ strike action. On the subject of love, rights and freedoms, Andrea London (p70) reviews the rights and reasons behind ‘unlimited leave’ in law, and Traviz Schultz (p71) looks at the love of the job and its effect on retention in the profession. Of course, no issue on the subject of law and love could leave out family law – and on p60 Annabel Andreou and Nirali Adhia offer insights into the reasons that belie the recent rise in divorce rates.
Bringing together the concepts of legal practitioners, retention and relationships, this month’s interview (p46) takes a novel approach, with relationship psychologist Mairead Molloy advising us all on how we can best take care of an oft-neglected area for lawyers – our personal and home lives. She explains how cultivating success in the personal as well as the professional is not mutually exclusive – some people achieve both. In fact, as I write, on a train in between little crashes of snatched weeknight sleep, in a pink hoodie bearing the image of a dinosaur saying ‘You’re doing a good job and your hair looks nice’ (only 50 per cent accurate on any given day), I unexpectedly met a former LLB student, now a trainee solicitor, on a weekend visit to see family in between the demands of her role. Our conversation reassured me that new practitioners’ love for the future of the profession takes a healthier approach to work-life balance than before.
Last, but by no means least, this foreword offers a fond farewell to a colleague who has been fundamental to the success of the Solicitors Journal – our news editor Suzanne Townley. Our ‘Suze on the news’ is progressing to pastures new, including, but not limited to, her family’s growing new business, MOST Bakery Altrincham – a lockdown brainwave made manifest). On behalf of the whole Solicitors Journal team, thank you, Suze, for everything you have done to craft, curate and create what we are today – and good luck with the future.
As things change for us, and perhaps for some of you, this month, it may be the ultimate outcome has yet to become clear, its appearance resting mainly in the hands of time. Nevertheless, the serendipity of the story provides much adventure in the awaited – and, as Oscar Wilde said, “The very essence of romance is uncertainty.” Enjoy this issue.