Tribute to Siân Jones
Some of you may already know that, sadly, Siân died earlier this year from cancer at the age of 53.
She had been head of the family practice at the firm for 15 years, having built it up more or less from scratch.
Her personal style as a matrimonial lawyer was to fight, tenaciously, for her client’s interests. Knowing that not all clients want this approach, she recruited others with different styles to join the team; but for those who needed a lawyer to stand up to a bully, Siân was just right. It is a testament to her skills that clients would so often recommend her to others.
Having started her training at the firm in 1990, Siân chose litigation and cut her teeth with a wide variety of civil and matrimonial work. Although primarily a family lawyer, Siân also developed the relationships she made in her early years as a more general litigator, including defending the Metropolitan Police from claims of false imprisonment, assault and malicious prosecution.
In 2003 she represented the family of Dr David Kelly at the Hutton Inquiry, and then later acted for the King Edward VII Hospital in the inquest into the suicide of a nurse who, deceived by a prank call from an Australian DJ impersonating the Queen, had put a call through to the Duchess of Cambridge, then an in-patient. Involvement in the long-running Hillsborough inquests followed in 2014-15.
Siân’s broad and unusual experience, combined with the human touch that all good family lawyers need, meant that she was the natural choice to be appointed in 2016 as Solicitor to the inquests into the deaths of 30 British tourists in Tunisia. She looked after the dozens of grieving and shocked families, and went out of her way to ensure that they remained central to the fact-finding process.
It is a tribute to the way she carried out that role that she was then selected as Solicitor to the inquests arising from the terrorist attacks on first Westminster Bridge, then London Bridge and Borough Market, and most recently at Fishmongers’ Hall in November 2019. She was still working hard on this right up until a few days before she died.
Outside work, Siân had three main interests which she shared with her husband, Andrew: fine dining, fast cars, and travel. Once, when required to declare for security checks the countries she had visited, she found it easiest to print a list of the world’s countries and then delete those she had not yet visited! She maintained an ever-extending network of friendships within and beyond the office, having the knack of finding a common interest and a superb memory of personal details.
Siân was an inspiration and we pay tribute to her and send our warmest wishes to Andrew and all the many others who will be devastated by this loss.
Her legacy to the firm, and to her network of referrers, clients, former clients and colleagues, is to leave behind a talented, dynamic team of family lawyers, mediators and collaborative practitioners, now led by Matthew Heyworth, who all continue to work to her high standards and provide excellent client care.
A memorial service will take place in London when restrictions on gatherings are lifted. If you would like to know the details, please contact Antony Claxton.