Barracuda and brassicas — meet senior associate Susan Purvis
A mock trial at Peterhead Sheriff Court (and some famous TV courtroom dramas) inspired senior associate Susan Purvis to study law.
In our latest team profile, we caught up with Susan, the Law Society of Scotland-accredited family mediator who joined us in November last year.
She isn’t just a key member of our family law team, but also has talents when it comes to growing her own food and catching barracuda (though the latter may have been beginner’s luck).
Tell us about your background
I graduated from the University of Aberdeen and qualified with my practising certificate in 1997.
When I was about 12 years old, I attended a mock trial at Peterhead Sheriff Court. I was fascinated by the performance and decided that evening I wanted to become a court lawyer. I also was inspired by programmes like Kavanagh QC and Ally McBeal that piqued my interest in the law.
When I started working as a trainee, I realised I preferred civil court work, and family law in particular. I felt strongly motivated to help clients who found themselves at a difficult time in their lives and try and make things better for them in the future. There’s still the adrenalin rush you get appearing in court too, and I can’t imagine doing any other job.
What about your hobbies?
Having two school-age children, I don’t seem to have much free time! I do love reading and am in a book group with some close friends. I also enjoy gardening and we have an allotment.
The allotment’s a good excuse to spend time outdoors and teach our children about the value of growing fruit and vegetables as well as helping reduce our food miles.
What’s been your proudest career moment?
I have experienced many special moments knowing I have helped families in a positive way. A few years ago, I as involved in a particularly challenging case involving three children. I represented their mum.
At the end of the case, my client told me that her daughter had decided that “she wanted to become a lawyer and help children feel happy and safe again just like how Susan has helped us.” This really meant a lot to me.
Tell us something surprising that people wouldn’t know about you
I “wrestled” with a barracuda in the Caribbean — although it’s not as exciting as it sounds.
My husband is a keen fisherman. On our honeymoon in Cuba, we went on a game fishing trip. We chartered a boat with another couple who were also really into fishing.
To be honest, I just agreed to go because you got to sunbathe on the boat, read your book and eat lovely food until the crew said there were fish to land.
Each time there was a bite, we took turns reeling in the catch. I wasn’t that fussed, so let the others go first. We all caught barracudas but when it came to my turn, I landed the largest one! I’m not sure how happy the others were….
There was no skill involved on my part and was just pure luck it was my turn. My husband hoped this might encourage me to take up fishing…..alas, no! I’ve not been fishing since, and have retired undefeated.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
My late father used to say that if you want to have strong, valued relationships with others, you should always treat people the way that you would like to be treated yourself, no matter who the other person is.
Interested in reading more? Take a look at our other family law blog posts for insights and commentary.