Skip navigation


Rachel Roberts

I always wanted to work in an area of law that had a personal element to it, rather than a corporate one, and really enjoyed studying family law during the degree. Following my LLB, I received a trainee solicitor contract working for Marilyn Stowe’s team with Grahame Stowe Bateson, where I qualified in 2004. In 2007, I was one of the founding Partners at Stowe Family Law LLP, the UK’s largest specialist family law firm.

What are you doing now?

I have just celebrated 20 years at Stowe Family Law, and am now the Regional Director for the North of England. I manage a growing team of around 35 lawyers plus support staff, spread across numerous locations in the North of England, happily including Newcastle now! I am primarily based out of our Leeds office but spend time travelling between our locations.

Although a significant proportion of my time is now dedicated to the managerial side of my role, I continue to practice as a family lawyer, dealing primarily with high net worth individuals to assist them in dealing with the issues that arise following the breakdown of a relationship. That can be both financial issues, often involving complex assets such as businesses or trusts, and issues around resolving where the children will live or spend their time. 

What was it about Northumbria that made you decide to study here?

I was very impressed by the University and the facilities offered in the Law School. In particular, the Student Law Office offered a unique opportunity to gain insight in to practising as a solicitor. The exempting degree also meant that at the end of four years, I could go straight to being a trainee solicitor. The postgraduate course, and more practical experience, was mixed into the academic learning in the last two years of the course, and this appealed to me.

What was it like studying at Northumbria? 

My course comprised a mixture of lectures, seminars and team projects. I recall that the hours in lectures and seminars were significantly more than on many of my friend’s non legal courses, particularly in later years. It is not therefore an easy option, as you would expect, but there was lots of support and the standard of teaching and resources was excellent.

What impressed you most about our academic staff?

The interest they took in helping students reach their potential.

How connected was your course with industry? 

I did some work experience with law firms during university holidays, but this was largely organised by me. As mentioned above, the Student Law Office gives practical experience towards the end of the course, and gives some insight in to life in a law firm.

How did studying at Northumbria help you achieve your career goals/gve your career an edge?

I think Northumbria is renowned for its law department and therefore graduates have an edge. I do think that the structure of the exempting course helps to introduce the practical side of law sooner, and this helps to move from academic learning to actually applying it in practice.

What was the best thing about your course?

The mix of academic and practical learning

which skills/knowledge did you learn on your course that you use most now throughout your career?

Researching legal arguments, drafting of documents and communication skills.

How would you describe yourself in 3 words before coming to Northumbria?

Nervous, excited and young!

How would you describe ourself In 3 words after completing your first year at Northumbria?

Confident, settled and independent.

What were the key skills and attributes you gained?

I would say the first year is mainly about learning the basics of law that form the bedrock of what you go on to learn in the later parts of the course.

How would you describe yourself in 3 words after you graduated at Northumbria?

Sad (to be leaving), confident and focused.

What were the key skills and attributes you gained?

I think the biggest skill I gained at university was learning to work on my own initiative and to try and find creative solutions to legal problems. I think the Student Law Office gave a unique opportunity to learn how to communicate with lay people in an understandable manner, and how to act in a professional environment.

What did you enjoy most about your time at Northumbria University?

I loved university. I made lifelong friends and studied a course that I found fascinating and challenging. It is hard to pick one thing that I enjoyed the most!

What Advice Would You Give Somebody Who Is Thinking Of Studying At Northumbria?

Absolutely to apply! It really is a fabulous university and law school that offers a number of unique features (the exempting degree and the Student Law Office), which really give it an edge. The social life in Newcastle is as good as its reputation, and for me it offered the perfect balance of work and play.

How Would You Describe Your Time At Northumbria In 3 Words?

Challenging, rewarding and fun.

For more information about me, visit:

Here are some related courses:

Here are some related courses:

Latest News and Features

Sara Hurley, Architecture student and Peter Holgate, Associate Professor in Architecture and Built Environment at Northumbria University
Man sketching design plans on paper. Photo credit: Akin Kaelyn/Shutterstock
Two people by Converge information stand
the images show the ICOS Auchencorth Moss station near Edinburgh.
More news

Back to top