When prospective clients come to Family Law Group for their first meeting, Claire Howard, Associate Solicitor at our Milton Keynes office, hears so many stories of people feeling overwhelmed with having to make the decision of who to contact in the first instance. Of course, many people follow personal recommendations and if that person has had a good experience, that's a good place to start but where do you start if you don't have any recommendations? Or indeed, more than one? Below Claire compiles a list of important factors you may wish to take into account when deciding who to contact to help you decide whether they're the right fit for you:
Are they a member of Resolution?
A solicitor who is a member of Resolution is required to comply with its Code of Practice. When disputes are resolved in the constructive and non-confrontational way promoted by the Code, the outcome can be much better, both financially and emotionally, for all concerned.
< Are they accredited, and if so, in what area and when?
Family Law Solicitors can be accredited through either Resolution or the Law Society. Obtaining accreditation from such bodies demonstrates considerable experience and knowledge which has been verified by reliable bodies. It is however worth checking that their accreditation lies within the field of Family Law, our people pages on our website lists which solicitors are accredited.
Are they a specialist in Family Law?
There are many solicitors who cover more than one area of law.
However, Family Law is very expansive and the law is constantly
adapting and changing. You may wish to consider whether you want a
solicitor who is wholly a specialist in Family Law. As a firm who
specializes in this area, all of our solicitors are experts who can
assist you in any area you require.
Is the firm well-regarded? When instructing a solicitor, you are also instructing their firm as a whole. You may want to consider whether you would prefer a firm specialising solely in Family Law rather than a firm more focused on the commercial side.
A good place to start is Google reviews to gauge a feel of past clients' experiences. It is often helpful to read the firm's website; looking at the team profiles will give you an idea of the team in general - a good firm will want to endorse their staff. It is also useful to look at the firm's updates and blogs to ensure that they are active and up to date with all movements in the law.
What are the solicitors' hourly rates?
Although many firms will not be able to give a fee estimate prior to meeting with you and finding more out about your case, they should be able to confirm the solicitors' hourly rates. This will help give you a feel for how quickly costs can add up. When speaking to the firm about the solicitors' hourly rates, you can ask them based on a summary of your case who they think would be a good match for you based on their experience and specialism.
Have a meeting!
Once you've found a solicitor that you feel is a good match for you on experience, cost and ethos, the meeting is an important stage for you to build a relationship.
The best solicitor/client relationships are built on trust and honesty so that you can fully rely on the advice given. Sometimes that means that good advice might not be what you want to hear but it is always better in the long-run to fully understand your position at the outset.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.