Inspirational Women at Gilbert Stephens – Jane Gawn

10th March 2018

There are plenty of inspirational women at Gilbert Stephens and in celebration of International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day we will be featuring 3 in the month of March.  First up is Jane Gawn, Jane is a Partner and head of our Property Department

 Jane attended the Queen Elizabeth School in Crediton before attending the University College of Wales (Swansea) and obtaining a BA (Hons) degree in French and English. Jane then commenced working for Gilbert Stephens and qualified as a Solicitor in 1992 after attending the College of Law at Guildford.

Jane specialises in residential conveyancing and is now Head of the firm’s Residential Conveyancing Department. When not working, Jane enjoys travelling, the theatre and classical music.

Here’s Jane’s answers to our questions:

Who has been the most inspirational woman in your life and why?

This has to be my mother, who went to university and had a career (as well as supporting my father and bringing up four children) at a time when this was unusual and when being a “career woman” was rather frowned upon in some quarters. She managed to achieve what many find difficult even today and always encouraged the girls in the family to do likewise.

Who inspires you the most professionally?

Baroness Brenda Hale of Richmond is something of a trailblazer for women lawyers and shows what can be done if someone is determined enough, even though the legal profession has always been something of a tough nut to crack for women lawyers.

Have you got a favourite inspirational quote?

“If you don’t risk anything you risk everything.”

What drew you to working in law?

I left University with a French and English degree and it never occurred to me to work with lawyers then. . As work was scarce in Devon at that time I decided to take a secretarial course and after doing secretarial work for a few months at a local building society Gordon Rice, then senior partner, interviewed me for a Gilbert Stephens.  He explained that the firm would help me if I decided to pursue a career in law and this could  mean I would eventually become a solicitor and possibly a partner.  I was supported not only by Mr Rice but by  the rest of the partnership, in  particular  by Paul Dunn who trained me. The rest is history.

What do you love most about your job?

 As well as the legal work itself, I enjoy meeting people and get great satisfaction from helping them.

What advice would you give to a woman just leaving education?

Decide what you want to do as early as possible and go for it!

If you could have any super power what would it be and why?

Possibly time travel to prevent bad things happening, although if some of the films I have seen are right that in itself could cause worse problems!

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Empathic reliable hardworking

What does being an inspirational woman mean to you?

I wasn’t aware I was. If I am I am very flattered and glad someone has benefitted from looking at the path my life has taken.

What do you enjoy doing outside of the office?

Classical music is my great love both listening to it and playing the violin and woodwind instruments for my own entertainment.

And finally…….. if there was a zombie apocalypse how would you survive?!

Make a mad dash for the nearest shop selling DVDS to get some tips from some of those zombie films!