Emma Sweeney is the latest solicitor to join our growing team of legal experts in our family department. We sat down with her and asked a few questions, so you can get to know our newest legal mind better.
Tell Us A Bit About Your Background. Where Did You Grow Up?
My childhood was a little unconventional, as my father was in the Royal Air Force, which led us to move around fairly often. My father’s career as a pilot took us to the Far East when I was very young. I grew up in Hong Kong and then spent several years in Newquay, Cornwall, before moving to Cardiff to study Law.
You could say I’m well-travelled!
What Led You to The Law, And Then to Practise in Family Law In Particular?
I have always held a deep-rooted belief in fairness and justice and worked on several pro bono projects as an undergraduate, as I wanted to help real people with real problems.
Growing up, many of my greatest role models were those advocating for human rights and I had aspirations of becoming a human rights lawyer.
At the same time, I also had a passion for family law, which was cemented when I completed a work experience placement and was exposed to Public Law Children Act work.
I studied Law and German LL.B. (Hons) at Cardiff University and spent my third year studying German Law and Language at Trier University in Germany.
Shortly after graduating, I landed my first legal role at Hurlows Family Law Practice and went on to complete my training and qualified as a Solicitor in 2015. During my time at Hurlows, I specialised mainly in Public Law Children Act work and dealt with complex cases involving alleged non-accidental injury, sexual harm, physical harm, chronic neglect and emotional harm.
What Are Your Work Ambitions?
I hope to bring my knowledge and expertise to supplement Howells’ family law team to provide a comprehensive family law service.
It is important for parents to seek legal advice at the earliest opportunity if the Local Authority has child protection concerns. Parents automatically qualify for free legal advice and representation if the Local Authority has given written notice that it may issue care proceedings.
If a parent can access legal advice and seek support at an early stage, it may be possible to resolve matters to avoid court proceedings and the potential removal of a child from a parent’s care.
I am also passionate about ensuring that individuals have access to justice if they are on a low income and have suffered, or are at risk of, suffering domestic abuse.
I am currently offering monthly free legal advice outreach clinics at the Huggard Centre and Women’s Aid, and am hoping to extend this service to the Citizen’s Advice Bureau at Central Library in the New Year.
What Made You Choose Howells?
I was impressed by Howells’ social conscience and core values as a firm. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Howells is heavily involved in supporting ‘Dreams and Wishes’, which is a charity that supports seriously ill children and their families.
Howells is also an exciting place to be in terms of future career development and exposure to high-quality work, as the firm supports hardworking individuals to reach their potential, which in turn leads to better outcomes for our clients.
Howells is a dynamic and commercially-minded firm. However, despite its growth and continued success, it retains its commitment to providing an exemplary service with a personal touch for each client.
I am nearing the end of my first month at Howells and already feel very much part of the family team! All of the staff have been so friendly and welcoming, and I feel that joining Howells has been the best decision for me in terms of my own personal growth and development within family law.
Outside of Work, How Do You Spend Your Time?
On the weekends, I love meeting up with friends and going to gigs. My favourite places to go are currently Live Lounge in Cardiff or Acapela Studio in Pentyrch – I highly recommend going here if anyone likes live music too! I also love the outdoors, so you’ll find me hiking or going for a nice beach walk.
Get to Know the Howells Team
If you would like to learn more about Emma, or any other member of the growing Howells team, please explore the Our People section of this website or get in touch.