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Most of us thrive for a happy work-life balance, but how to achieve it without compromising your career?

Darling chats to Suzanne Mynors from Russell-Cooke, a top 100 law firm, who’s managed to create a work-life balance to suit her perfectly.

Suzanne Mynors
What is your current role?

I am a private client solicitor in the Putney office of law firm Russell-Cooke. This means I specialise in wills, probate, tax and trusts. I like to think that everybody needs me because what I deal with is death and taxes. And that comes to us all! I also do a lot of mental capacity work – so preparing for if, and when, people are no longer able to make decisions for themselves for whatever reason. 

Give a snapshot of what your job might entail on a given day.

I spend a lot of time meeting clients, either on video calls or in person. I hope I provide the voice of reassurance as contemplating your own death or discussing the death of a loved one can be quite distressing.

I also meet other professionals such as accountants, financial planners, care providers or property agents – we all work collaboratively to do the best for our clients. Lots of document drafting and tax form completion of course, and supervising junior lawyers.

What was your route into your current role?

I have been a private client lawyer for over 20 years, mainly working in West London, but have also worked at Bedford Row and Surrey.

It was very important for me to join a firm that had a large private client offering and one that could handle cross-border work as so many London clients own property or have family overseas or are originally from another country. Russell-Cooke has many expert private client lawyers and a dedicated French desk, including several cross-border specialists. Brilliantly, the firm also has such a broad practice that literally any problem a client may have, we’ve got an expert to help them.

Where do you live? What are the advantages of working locally in SW London?

I live in Barnes and Putney is a great location to work in – I can walk to work in half an hour, either via the towpath along the Thames or across Barnes Common. This, combined with hybrid working post-lockdown, means I have so much more time to spend with my family and on my extra-curricular activities.

What are those extra-curricular activities?

My favourite sport is squash and I play as often as I can. I’m a Friend of Richmond Park and a Friend of Barnes Common and hugely enjoy spending time in both of these beautiful outdoor spaces. I also volunteer for a neighbourhood care charity in Barnes called FISH that helps lonely people. That was particularly important during lockdown as is the work the Holy Trinity Church in Barnes where I help run a Bereavement Journey course. In brief, I care passionately about my local community and love having time to devote to all these activities. I’m also a mum of three teenage children and family time spent with them and my husband is very important to me.

Through work I get to be involved in the firm’s many local sponsorships, such as Barnes Rugby Club (I’m a rugby mum!) and part of the Friends of Richmond Park. We’re also involved in the Barnes Music Festival, The Rose Theatre Kingston, Strawberry Hill House Flower Festival – so many wonderful opportunities.

What is your proudest achievement?

That would have to be returning to legal practice after taking nine years out of the law to bring up my children and to volunteer as a debt adviser. That’s the beauty of private client work – the skills don’t go out of date. Confidence is key to returning after a career break – your skills are still there, you just need determination and confidence. Also vital are supportive colleagues who allow you to be honest and a little bit vulnerable. 

What is most important to you when it comes to your working environment?

Having those open, honest relationships with friendly collaborative colleagues in a happy working environment.  Also working near home is great.

If your life had gone down a different track, what would you be doing now?

I studied geography as my degree and remain very interested in the impact of people on the environment – so COP26 has been fascinating. So perhaps I’d be an environmentalist of some sort.

Tell us something about your employer and your role that would surprise people

You may be surprised to know that Russell-Cooke is very committed to sustainability and in addition to being carbon neutral, it has two active beehives on the roof of the Putney office. They produce delicious lime blossom honey that we sometimes give to lucky clients. 

In terms of my role, the level of involvement in my clients’ lives may be surprising. I sometimes have to deal with people’s pets – whether finding homes for them when their owners die or are taken into care, or having to find replacements for much-loved companion animals. 

Even more surprisingly we are occasionally called upon to scatter the ashes of our clients. Very sadly, some of them have no-one else left to perform the duty. Most commonly we have instructions to scatter them in Richmond Park, or the Thames…It is a task I take very seriously but not one I anticipated when I left law school.

You can contact Suzanne directly at:

Email: suzanne.mynors@russell-cooke.co.uk

Tel: +44 (0)20 8394 6410


You may also enjoy reading our latest blog from Evie Smyth at Russell-Cooke’s female solicitors.

Or about a different career story from Kathryn Duncan, a female firefighter in London Fire Brigade – see in our top stories currently.

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