The decision to involve a solicitor in any aspect of your personal life can be a difficult one to make. Often the decision to take legal advice is made at a time of high emotion and the circumstances can be negative or positive. Some of our clients find themselves facing the end of their marriage or significant relationship. Some require advice about their rights and responsibilities in relation to children. Others need assistance with securing orders in the context of child relocation, adoption, surrogacy or assisted reproduction law.
Apprehension and anxiety about making the right choice of solicitor are common and understandable emotions, regardless of the purpose of your enquiry. You may be given a recommendation from a friend, colleague or family member. You may prefer to do your own research, choosing to instruct someone whose manner and advice you feel fits with your values and expectations.
Regardless of the nature of your case or how you identify potential solicitors, there are some common things to consider which can help you to make the decision but also help give you confidence that you have found the right fit for you.
1. Consider whether you might benefit from instructing a larger firm
A larger firm may be able to take care of other aspects of your case such as buying and selling property, making a will, tax advice, company law considerations or estate planning. As a full service law firm that is something we can help with here at Harper Macleod.
2. Does the solicitor seem to have a good network around them?
This can be demonstrated by looking at a solicitor’s membership of professional associations, involvement with other organisations and particular interests. Family law cases rarely unfold in a vacuum. You might find it helpful to engage third parties such as financial advisers or family therapists during the course of your case. At Harper Macleod our Family law team has developed a network with many related specialists to Family law such as Brewin Dolphin financial adviser Fiona Murdoch, GCRM Fertility Medical Director Dr Marco Gaudoin and Family therapist Myra Eadie.
You can watch our recent vlogs with each online here:
- Watch: Family creation during a pandemic in Scotland with Medical Director Dr Marco Gaudoin
- Watch: Financial Provisions on Separation in Scotland with financial adviser Fiona Murdoch
- Watch: Family dynamics during a Pademic in Scotland with Family therapist Myra Eadie
3. Does the solicitor you are thinking of instructing hold specialist accreditation from the Law Society of Scotland?
Accreditations are available in Family Law, Child Law and Family Mediation. Accreditations are awarded by the Law Society of Scotland on the basis of an application process overseen by experienced panels who decide whether or not an individual has sufficient experience and skills to achieve the high standards expected. Many of our family lawyers are accredited by the Law Society of Scotland in all three areas so you can be sure when it comes to every aspect of Family law we have got you covered.
4. Is your case particularly complex or specialised?
Specialists can have particular sub specialisms such as child relocation, complex financial provision or divorce cases involving interests in companies.
5. Does your potential solicitor work as part of a team?
This can be helpful in ensuring that there is always someone available to help you if your solicitor is on holiday, or in court. Teamwork also helps to uphold high standards of in-house training and the sharing of experience and knowledge. At Harper Macleod we will always make sure we are transparent and keep you up to date with your case and ensure there's always someone here to give you the advice you need.
6. Is the team able to offer various forms of dispute resolution methods?
Mediation, collaborative practice, conventional negotiation and litigation can all be used as a way to resolve any disputes. It is vital that the correct process is chosen at the outset. That will depend upon the nature of the case, your values and your aims. At Harper Macleod we can discuss that with you.
7. Final considerations before choosing a family law solicitor
Once you have identified individuals whom you may wish to instruct, before making a final decision it can be useful to think about:
- Were you able to communicate openly with the person you are in touch with?
- Was the person you talked to open and transparent about fee structures and how work would be charged?
- Did you feel that the solicitor communicated with you in a clear, readily understandable way?
- Did you feel confident that your potential solicitor understood your goals and how to help you achieve them?
- Was the solicitor balanced or did they highlight potential challenges, too?
- Did you feel that you were given a sense of agency and empowerment in relation to your future?
It is important that you feel you understand exactly what is happening in your case, without feeling confused by legal jargon. The relationship has to be a trusting relationship in which you can receive honest advice rather than feeling that you are doing the work, or simply being told what you want to hear. That can lead to disappointment at a later stage. We understand that any legal process can be stressful enough without feeling powerless in the situation. A good family law specialist will understand the emotional nuances, too.
At Harper Macleod we are more than just lawyers, we are problem solvers and provide the solutions you need when you need them most. We strive to develop our lawyers to be the best they can be therefore we regular conduct training to refresh and develop our skills further to provide a service second to none.
Get in touch
If you require advice on options available to you, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our family law team by telephone or by submitting an online enquiry for a confidential and free chat. Our solicitors are available across the country to help:
- Glasgow Head Office call 0141 227 9545
- Edinburgh Office call 0131 247 2556
- Inverness & Highlands Office call 01463 795 035
- Shetland Office call 01595 480759
- Elgin Office call 01463 795 035