Partner Claire Dyer, in our leading Family Law team, looks at the reasons to choose a specialist family lawyer when considering divorce.
By far the best way of finding a good solicitor to represent you in relation to separation and divorce is to obtain a personal recommendation. Speak to friends, family and colleagues to see if they have personal knowledge. It’s best to get an individual’s name. You might be able to have a no cost, no obligation chat on the telephone before committing to an appointment.
One way of comparing firms which have been recommended is to look at their websites. Are they informative and up to date? Is Family Law a core part of their offering and expertise? Pay particular attention to feedback and reviews from clients, including via platforms like Google Reviews.
Make sure the solicitor is a specialist Family Lawyer
The area of family law is fast moving and only a solicitor who spends all their time working in this field can stay abreast of all the developments. The two legal directories, Chambers UK Guide and The Legal 500, give details of leading departments and individuals and are available to view free of charge online.
Find a solicitor who will adopt a constructive approach
Solicitors who are members of Resolution are committed to resolving disputes in a non-confrontational way.
Do they offer value for money?
It is important to ensure that you can tap into the knowledge and experience of a more senior solicitor. However, some of the work can be done by another person who may be less qualified and have less experience and who therefore charges less. Choose a firm which has a reasonably large family department with people of different seniority.
Don’t be tempted to choose what might appear to be a less expensive solicitor at the expense of expertise and quality. A good solicitor might be able to do the same job in half the time. In any event, a poor job could cost you more in the long run.
Firms which offer a quality service will usually have some kind of quality accreditation.
Access to other areas of expertise
Divorce can throw up issues in other areas of law, e.g. in relation to property, Wills and estate planning and business interests. Choose a firm which offers a range of services so that you and your divorce lawyer will have easy access to the expertise of solicitors in other fields. Consider also whether access to independent financial advice within the same firm would be a useful addition.
Don’t necessarily limit yourself to firms within your locality. Most work can now be done remotely, via telephone, email and video conferencing.
Solicitors are often willing to travel to see you for an initial or subsequent meetings. Many regional firms can offer the same quality of advice at half or even one third of the rates of London lawyers and they often instruct the same barristers and other experts and appear in the same Courts.
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This article is intended for the use of clients and other interested parties. The information contained in it is believed to be correct at the date of publication, but it is necessarily of a brief and general nature and should not be relied upon as a substitute for specific professional advice.