Choosing a Lawyer and What to Expect from Him or Her

  • How do you choose one? People go to the yellow pages or other telephone directory, they ask their friends and family and they search the internet.
  • Ring around a few places and get an idea of what the lawyer is like by speaking to them, if their secretary won’t let you get close, this gives you a good idea of how accessible they will be during your case when you really need to find out what’s going on. Solicitors should find the time to speak to you. Lack of communication is one of the most common complaints by clients against their lawyers.
  • Your relationship with your lawyer is very important. You need to feel confident that they have your ‘got your back’ even if they’re not necessarily telling you everything you want to hear.
  • A good lawyer will discuss all options (not just divorce), children and finances and also costs.
  • You are the client: don’t be intimidated by your solicitor. Remember that the tone they set at the beginning of the case can rule your relationship with your partner for the rest of your life. If they are unnecessarily aggressive, your spouse will think that is on your instructions, and that can get their back up. Insist on reading all letters before they go out so you know what’s happening. This is your case.
  • Do listen to advice.
  • Don’t treat your lawyer as your friend/ therapist/ social worker. Not only will this become very expensive, but you will feel very let down at the end of your case when your solicitor isn’t prepared to chat to you for free.
  • Do seek a second opinion if you are unsure about the advice you are receiving. Lots of solicitors will give a free half hour of advice, ourselves included.
  • You and your spouse are entitled to complete confidentiality from your lawyers. That means that if you say something to your solicitor, you don’t expect it to be repeated back to you by your spouse later on down the line.
  • You might be thinking about mediation (not to be confused with reconciliation), where you and your spouse sit down in the same room with a neutral third party to discuss your case. If you are able to talk to your spouse, this is a very good way to resolve your differences. However be aware that a mediator can’t draw up your order for the court; you will need a lawyer for that.
  • Ultimately you might be asking: do I really need a solicitor? The divorce process is quite straightforward and you will find a procedural timetable on our website, but the same cannot be said for financial proceedings. Even if you can agree on all money issues, you will need a family law specialist to draw that up into a document that is acceptable to the court as it must be in a particular form and language.
  • You are entitled to an estimate of costs at the beginning of your case and regularly throughout it. You should receive bills at regular intervals. You can ask for an up to date costs figure at any point.
  • Above all, don’t be afraid to ask your lawyer questions. Without you and people like you, they wouldn’t have a job.