I often have people who come to see me say at the end of our first meeting that it was all okay really and it was not scary. I get it. Coming to see a solicitor can seem a bit overwhelming. Will you understand all that is being said? Will you remember all that is being said? What if you have questions? Will it cost you thousands? That is a lot to deal with when you are in the middle of your entire home life changing as well.
Let me put your mind at rest. It is much easier than you think and we solicitors are not at all intimidating; in fact, I will do my best to put you at ease in our first meeting. I really do understand how nervous people can be but part of what I do is to try and soothe that, so we can discuss what we need to.
Like many solicitors, I offer an initial advice session for at a lower cost. The idea is that it lasts for an hour (because that is about as much as people can concentrate for) and then I follow it up with a typed note of what was discussed (because you can’t be expected to remember it all, right?). Having this initial session by phone or Zoom or Teams means that you are in your comfort zone, with all the papers and notes that you want around you, a friend supporting if you want that. (Tea and biscuits not obligatory).
If you want to come back to me after this initial session, of course that is more than fine but equally, if you do not and want to go it alone, that is fine too. There is no obligation to pay anything other than the fee for the initial advice session.
After that, there are lots of ways that I can work with you. I might be able to offer you an agreed fee for a piece of work or maybe you want to have some advice along the way or maybe you’ve agreed matters with your partner and need it finalised into an order or agreement. I can certainly give you options and we can be creative about how we work together. I understand that people are frightened about getting into debt for thousands of pounds in legal fees but we will keep a close eye on what is being done and what is being spent. I don’t want you running up debt either. We’ll talk about it and agree a plan of action.
I also strongly encourage you to think about all the ways to get where you want to be – not just going to court. Court is a ‘red button’ option as far as I am concerned and probably one of the most difficult routes to take. Of course, in some situations, it is the only route but we’ll look at all the others too. The aim is to get to a solution, a pathway to move forward whatever method is used. I’m not one for labels so whether it is mediation, collaborative law, hybrid mediation, arbitration, negotiation…. if it works, we’ll use it if it gets you where you want to be and in a sensible, non-acrimonious way. There is no need for the situation between you both to get nasty – particularly if you have children. You’ll be parents for always and your children deserve you being able to speak to each other and be around each other without there being fireworks. Ask any family law solicitor and they will say the same – and if they don’t, they are not the one for you.
Questions are welcome – always – and no question is too daft. It’s your life, your situation and you should be fully engaged and aware what is going on in your legal matters. That’s why I will not send out a letter to your partner or their solicitor without you seeing it first. It’s also why we work as partners and it absolutely a given that I want you to ask questions if you are not sure what we are doing and why.
I’m sure I am not the only solicitor that works this way so if you need help, make contact.