WHAT MAKES A GOOD FAMILY SOLICITOR

26th November 2020

 

Yesterday I received a beautiful thank you card and a bunch of flowers from a client (Mr G) that I had helped through the divorce process.

His case had involved a very intensive period of activity over a period of a few months, which were incredibly stressful and upsetting for the client, and concluded in a really successful outcome for the client that allowed them to move forward in a positive way.

I was recommended to Mr G by a former client who had endured a very difficult and complex divorce.

My first contact with Mr G involved a Zoom call in which he thought the end of the world had come. He had no idea his wife was so unhappy and was knocked sideways when she told him she wanted a divorce. He could see no future without his wife.

In our last communication, also involved a Zoom call, he was full of confidence and looking forward to his new future.

Reaching the end of our journey together reminded me of one of the aspects of my job that I enjoy the most, which is seeing clients with my help and support come through the other side of what is often one of the most difficult periods of their lives a more confident happy and positive thinking person.

I'm often asked what qualities I think make a good family lawyer or what my USP is.

Many people don’t recognise that family law requires a complex skillset of technical ability and expertise, empathy and litigation skills, which will apply in various combinations in different cases. However, divorce isn’t just a legal process of getting someone from being married to single.

Divorce is a life-changing event and needs to be treated as such. It is an emotional roller coaster with difficult financial decisions to be made along the way.

I would say a good family lawyer has compassion, the ability to really listen, to appear unfazed, no matter what the circumstances. They provide encouragement and pragmatic support and advice throughout the divorce journey.

Communication between lawyer and client is vital. You are a team. I often say “If I don’t know about it, I can’t undertake any damage limitation action”

Divorce is a distressful time for most, no matter how amicable your separation is.

I help people who are in situations they never wanted to be in in the first place, it can be very difficult when in the depths of despair, to imagine a day when the process of being divorced, being involved in a court action, sorting out arrangements for seeing your children and so on will be resolved, but that day does eventually come.

Seeing clients with my help and support come through that process and move on is hugely rewarding. It can be a common perception for clients who did not initiate the divorce to feel that they will never be happy again.

A couple of years ago, I concluded a case that had been litigated over several years. It was a very difficult and sad case, and the client found it almost impossible at times to cope. He genuinely felt that it would not be possible for him to move on so I referred him to a professional counsellor. A couple of months later I asked him how he was getting along with his counselling as seemed more upbeat. I was surprised when he confessed that he had ditched his counsellor as he found communicating with me far more productive and positive.

On my suggestion, he had taken up a new hobby and joined an archery club. He was winning trophies and would send me photo’s each Monday morning. Given his newfound confidence, I suggested he might like to think about meeting someone new. A few weeks later, when I was writing to him about a legal issue I asked him if he had had a good weekend. He surprised me when he responded that he had and that he had escorted 2 ladies on a walking trip in the Dales.

The message that can be taken from this is that, with the right legal support, there is always light at the end of the tunnel even when initially it does not seem that there is.

Sarah

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