What to look for in a Family Solicitor
Choosing a family solicitor is no small task. You need someone who understands your family's needs and has the skills and experience to resolve your problems. It can be daunting to do this, especially as you'll most likely need a solicitor when you have lots of other things going on at the same time. We've put together a checklist to help you choose the right solicitor:
How long have they been a solicitor for?
It's not the only indicator of ability, but as a general rule, if you find a solicitor with twenty years of experience in family law they'll be a better option than a recently qualified solicitor. This is especially important if you have a complicated case; this may be something some solicitors have dealt with previously.
Are they a specialist in family law?
You can afford to hold out for a dedicated family law solicitor. Family solicitors are likely to have a tried and tested route to resolving certain disputes. Ending up with someone who is just dipping into family law can do a lot more harm than good for your family and your financial future in the way they decide to handle your case.
When did the solicitor gain that specialisation?
While all solicitors have to start in their specialisation somewhere, you need to put your own family's needs first. Look for family solicitors with a long period of specialisation in family law. Specialists will understand that you will want to get your dispute resolved as quickly as possible, and they will work with you to find the best way to do this.
Are they also a mediator?
A mediator is not a solicitor, but a solicitor who is also a mediator is a positive sign. Mediator-solicitors are more likely to push for negotiation and amicable ends to disputes. This may be a deciding factor when choosing your solicitor - especially if there are children involved. Ask the different solicitor firms you speak to whether they have a mediator-solicitor.
What kind of firm does the solicitor work for?
Find out more about the law firm your potential solicitor works for. Learn about what their company stands for, what the cornerstone of their business is, and what they pride themselves on. However, it also is important to see what other people say about the solicitor. If the company have testimonials or online reviews, read them to find out more information. The way a solicitor approaches their work is a reflection on how they'll approach your family's needs.
Are they accredited, or a member of Resolution?
Resolution is an association of family solicitors dedicated to a code of practices based on the constructive resolution of family disputes, prioritising protecting your family and your family's future ahead of reaching a profitable resolution. To gain accreditation from Resolution or the Law Society in family disputes, solicitors have to demonstrate experience and skill in family law. Resolution solicitors work with you to provide dispute resolution which works in the best interest of your family. Why wouldn't you choose to instruct an accredited solicitor?
Do they have a reputation?
It's vital your solicitor comes with a track record. You can ask friends and family for a solicitor they use, or turn to a trusted law organisation with a branch in your area. For example, if you live in Bridgnorth choose a local company such as FBC Manby Bowdler. Look for respect and recognition on a national and local level before committing to any solicitor. Remember you have a lot of options; you don't have to choose the first solicitor - find the right one for you and your family. Don't sign on the dotted line before you have considered all the choices available to you.
Are they reasonably priced?
You get what you pay for to a certain extent. Before selecting a solicitor, be sure to check their fees against other similar solicitors - perhaps one a friend or family member has used before. If you have not used a solicitor before, do your research and make sure there are no hidden costs which will cost you more in the long term.
What is their proposal to resolve your case? Does it make sense?
A solicitor looking to rush to court is a big red flag. When choosing your solicitor, you need to be sure that they have your family's best interests at heart. Once your case steps into court it can make your dispute worsen, and can also be costly in terms of the amount you will have the shell out on solicitor's fees. Every plan should start with a negotiated solution and a realistic pathway to ending your dispute.
What would you look for in a family solicitor? Let us know in the comments below.
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