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Marjon Habets

Marjon Habets studied law at Tilburg University and graduated in 1985. She started (a predecessor of) Habets Law Practice & Mediators in 1997, together with a colleague. Her law firm is number 1 for divorce cases for entrepreneurs. The law firm is still growing and Marjon strives to deepen and strengthen the firm’s specialist knowledge in family law.

"As board member of the “Vrienden van Cobbenhagen” Alumni Association, I am recruiting new young alumni for this association, particularly women"

Why did you choose Tilburg University for your studies?
My father strongly advised me to study Law. I wanted to study French, my father taught French at a High School. He foresaw the decline in the status of being a teacher and had other ambitions for me. So he advised me to study law. I choose Tilburg since I came from the area. My father and I agreed that we would evaluate my law-studies after the first year and I could change if I wouldn’t want to continue. I loved it though. Not only the study itself, but the whole spectrum of student-life, there is so much to do when you are student, so many things to undertake. My entrepreneurship was developed right from the moment I left my elderly home and dived into student-life.

Who was your favorite professor?
My favorite was Professor Deelen. He was exactly as I thought a Professor should be. He had style, he was dandy-like, and he told amazing stories. He was old-school intelligentsia; he received students at his home for exams. A very intellectual man with class. His courses were like going to the theater.

"80% of the lawyers in my firm come from Tilburg Law School"

Could you share an anecdote from your time at University?
It’s hard to pin one down; my time at Tilburg University was characterized by a lot of anecdotes. I did so many things. I found it extremely inspiring to meet as many different people as possible and undertake tons of activities. My love for organizing and entrepreneurship started then. But I will never forget my own introduction – time so in my 2nd year I registered to accompany AIESEC students going on an introduction camp on the Island of Schiermonnikoog. It was great fun, with a lot of foreign and Dutch students.

What does your career so far look like?
I have been a lawyer for 27 years. I still love it. I especially like the combination of running my own firm with the specialist knowledge in family law that I have built over the years. I started at a middle-sized law firm (8 attorneys) and specialized in family law. I found that relational skills were extremely important for acquiring clients, but also for deepening the relationship with clients. At that time, lawyers weren’t ready for that, so in 1997 I decided to start my own firm. I have built up a considerable law practice, and we are number 1 in family Law on a national level.

What are your future ambitions?
My firm can and should grow further. I want to stay in the top league of family law firms. I want to further penetrate and become even stronger in my niche market. I know that it’s feasible, but it asks for hard work and hiring top talent.

"I want to stay in the top league of family law firms. I want to further penetrate and become even stronger in my niche market."

What role did Tilburg University play in your life, and how did it influence your career?
80% of the lawyers in my firm come from Tilburg Law School. I do find that student interest in becoming an attorney has declined tremendously over the years. It is tough profession, sometimes tedious, and very demanding. It is not as sexy as it appears in television - series. But it’s extremely rewarding. I am always on the look-out for talent, and as a board member of the “Vrienden van Cobbenhagen” I hope to scout talent in an early stage. I am advocating a change in the profile of an attorney. Especially in family law, mediating skills have become very important. An attorney has to have empathy, be trustworthy, a good listener and able to ask the right questions. I would strongly advise students considering practicing this kind of law to take some extra courses in sociology or psychology, it will help their career, and fun on the job. I am all for a multi-disciplinary approach in the current law school curriculum.

What role does Tilburg currently play in your life?
I am board member of the “Vrienden van Cobbenhagen” Alumni Association. I am especially interested in recruiting new young alumni for this association, particularly women. I am very active in promoting professional careers for women and have started a foundation a few years ago, Aithra. It encourages female professionals to network, and profile themselves. I am of the opinion women don’t do this enough, they would be more successful l if they did. The same goes for the “Vrienden van Cobbenhagen”. It is a very useful network of Alumni who can advise and support you, an association that you can share your ambitions with. I am very happy with recent addition of a second female board member; this will promote diversity in the association.