13:44, June 02 299 0 theguardian.com

2020-06-02 13:44:04
Other lives  Jenny Chapman obituary

My mother, Jenny Chapman, who has died of cancer aged 78, began her working life as a secretary before moving into the legal profession, where she became an expert on teaching lawyers how to deal more empathetically and professionally with their clients.

Jenny was born in Burma (now Myanmar) during the second world war to Carl Rosner, a timber specialist, and his Anglo-Burmese wife, Stella (nee Maitland). A few months after Jenny’s birth the Japanese invaded, forcing her family to flee to India. When India gained independence in 1947 the family settled in Britain, where Jenny, aged six, found life in Croydon, Surrey, a sharp contrast to her colourful previous life.

After attending St Anne’s college in Sanderstead, Surrey, she went to secretarial college in London, after which she took up a job as secretary to the news desk at the Observer newspaper, where she met a cast of interesting figures that included Kim Philby, Don McCullin and David Astor. In London she also met Cary Chapman, a GP; they married in 1964 and moved to live in Maldon, Essex, in 1968.

As her children grew up, Jenny went back to studying, and she gained a linguistics degree with the Open University followed by a law degree from the Chelmer Institute (now Anglia Ruskin University). She then became a law lecturer at the Chelmer Institute and later obtained a master’s in medical ethics at King’s College London, which led to her sitting on the ethics committee of the Royal Brompton hospital in London.

In the 1980s Jenny developed an interest in teaching would-be lawyers not just knowledge of law but soft skills such as interviewing and negotiation techniques that would make them more client-orientated. Her work caught the attention of the London law firm Jacques and Lewis, which headhunted her in 1990 to become director of training and education. After the company merged with Eversheds in 1995, she moved to carry out similar work for Nicholson, Graham & Jones until she retired in 2002.

Following separation from Cary in 1991, Jenny moved back to London from Essex and, having been chair of the magistrates’ bench in Maldon, transferred to the City of London bench.

In 1999 she went on a skiing holiday and met an old friend, Richard Bryson; they fell in love and married the following year. Jenny and Richard travelled widely and also became regular attendees and supporters of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, splitting their time between living in London and Liverpool. Music was a major part of Jenny’s life and continued to be a comfort to her when she became ill earlier this year.

She is survived by Richard, her children, Rebecca, Barnaby and me, and 11 grandchildren.