We suggest keeping these factors in mind when seeking out someone to represent your interests:
A good family solicitor will have an excellent word-of-mouth reputation. Try talking to friends and family who have already been through the process. They will be able to tell you stories about firms and lawyers who gave good service and help you avoid those who did not. Even in the digital age, word-of-mouth still carries a lot of weight, especially when it comes from people you know and trust. It’s worth bearing in mind though that your decision should be based on you and your own personal circumstances. A lawyer that suited one person, may not be the right fit for you.
Search for law firms in your area and visit their websites. A good law firm will constantly be updating their website to keep in line with changes in the law and will have up to date blogs and news. You should be able to look up the profiles of the solicitors working there to find out more about them and what areas of law they specialise in.
A firm that only concentrates on divorce and children matters will have a wealth of specialist experience in dealing with family issues.
Although recommendations from people you know are very helpful, the Chambers or Legal 500 can give you a more overall sense of a solicitor or law firm’s quality of service. So, if advice from family and friends has not helped as much as you would like, this is a relatively safe barometer of quality. You can find Chambers and Legal 500 online and search by location.
You can then meet face to face at their office. (Although the Covid pandemic has meant that many solicitors can now offer virtual online meetings as an option too. ) Most solicitors will keep in touch by phone or email or video conference, so can act for you wherever you live in the country. However, many people do like to have occasional face to face meetings – maybe that is something that is important to you.
Are they affiliated with The Law Society? This information should be listed on the firm’s website.
This is a body that promotes constructive solutions to family law matters. If a firm is a member of Resolution, it indicates that they are committed to resolving conflict in a constructive way to preserve people’s dignity and encourage agreements. It demonstrates a desire to avoid conflict and distress and avoid litigation wherever possible.
You can also look at Trustpilot for example, or Google, and search by company name.
You yourself know who you would feel the most comfortable dealing with. It is important that you find someone you can talk to and trust.
It is very important to have an initial conversation about costs so that you know what you are getting for your money. If you are quoted a fixed fee, make sure that you know what this service includes. What is the seniority of the solicitor who will be dealing with your case? The more senior the solicitor within the firm, the more expensive their hourly rate will be. Perhaps some more routine aspects of your divorce will be dealt with by a junior lawyer to keep costs down. Find out how often you will be billed and how you will be kept informed of costs. A good firm of solicitors will be able to give you an estimate of fees from the outset.
A solicitor who specialises in divorce and family law will ensure that you receive a fair financial deal and will help you agree on important issues regarding the children.
Although it is possible to get a divorce without the need for a solicitor, there are many instances where you would benefit from legal advice such as:
A good family divorce lawyer will be able to explain the process and the options available to you so that you understand. They are there to answer your questions and get the best possible outcome for you.
They will be able to decipher complex legal documents.
They will speak on your behalf during court proceedings.
It’s essential that you discuss your budget at the outset. Solicitor’s fees vary considerably and is usually based on their experience and level of expertise. Location can also affect their fees. You will need to know how much your solicitor will charge and how much they estimate your divorce may cost.
A good divorce lawyer is very straightforward. They will not get your hopes up about the possible outcomes or costs as they will have experienced similar cases before. This is one of the benefits of using a lawyer with the appropriate knowledge and experience. If they have communicated this properly, you should feel much more confident going forward.
It’s much easier to connect with someone if you are face to face, so we would always recommend arranging an appointment with a lawyer at their office.
The COVID-19 pandemic made this impossible during 2020/21 and, because of that, many law firms set up the facility to meet virtually. This proved successful and convenient for many clients and there is now the option to meet face to face or online.
When you meet your solicitor for the first time, consider whether you feel comfortable talking to them. Are they listening to your needs? Do they put you at ease? Do they empathise with your situation? Do you feel you can trust the solicitor with all your personal and intimate details?
Check that they are asking the right questions? Have they had experience dealing with cases like yours? Do they appear confident they can help you?
This is not a promising sign. A top quality solicitor will care about your case and give you their full attention. If they are checking the time during your first appointment, that should tell you how much they value you as a client.
A quality solicitor will clearly discuss and explain your options, as well as asking you what you want. So if you come away from an appointment with your solicitor and do not have a clear idea of how your case will proceed, you need to be wary. Ideally at the end of your first meeting, you should feel reassured and have some questions answered.
Many people have the misconception that they can’t afford a solicitor to help them with their divorce. It might be useful to consider:
If you would like to talk to Stowe Family Law about us helping you with your divorce or family matter, we can help you find the right solicitor for you. We offer a tailored approach from a team that really understands family law. We work hard to make family law easier for you to understand and believe that every case is unique – each one needing tailored support and handled with care.
Family Lawyer Liza Gatrell at Stowe Family Law shares her top tips on how to prepare for your first meeting with a divorce lawyer.
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