Suzanne Smales

Suzanne Smales

Greater London, North East

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I have worked as a barrister in both UK and Australian jurisdictions. I worked first in the UK from 1990 -2010, as both a criminal and family barrister, before moving to Australia and qualifying there. My criminal work involved cases of rape, sexual assault and child abuse. My family work involved a lot of public law child abuse and neglect cases, as well as the private law work with family breakdown and separation.

My move to Australia caused me to reflect on my career at that point, and I recognized that I was quite burned out after twenty years in such stressful litigation. As part the requalification process in Australia I trained as a mediator, and qualified as an accredited Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner. I became passionate about all forms of dispute resolution outside the traditional litigation process, and so also trained as a collaborative lawyer. Focusing on non-litigious forms of dispute resolution did something to address the burn out I was feeling, but I recognized I was still struggling.

On returning to live back in the UK, in 2021, I decided to undertake the Supervision training with FLIP. I found the course quite life changing; it brought me a new insight into my own practice and mental wellbeing, as well as teaching me how to assist others through supervision.

A recent move back to Australia means that I am now based in Melbourne. I am looking forward to spreading the word about Supervision in this jurisdiction. But I am also open to assisting my UK clients through the medium of zoom/teams that we are all so now used to using. This last move of jurisdiction, coinciding as it has with my Supervision qualification, has propelled me to concentrate on the wellbeing side of legal practice from now on.

My mission is to assist as many lawyers as possible to avoid the burn out that I suffered. I believe that with the benefit of Supervision, not only would my litigation career have been more enjoyable and successful, but I could have dealt better with the emotional issues that are involved even in the non-litigious dispute resolution arena. I believe Supervision has a valuable role to play for many lawyers and judges outside the family jurisdiction too; in particular, criminal law has vicarious trauma dangers to those involved in such cases.

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