HM Insights

How to choose the right family lawyer

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. 

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 a solicitor's Experience, Accreditations and Leadership

Advice from a solicitor specialising in Family Law can be invaluable to preserving a positive outcome in what can be an emotionally difficult process.

The Family Team at Harper Macleod consists of 11 experienced Family Law Solicitors located throughout Scotland. Our solicitors practise family law day in, day out. Several members of our team are trained in various methods of dispute resolution, including mediation and collaborative practice. In addition, our Team has Accredited Specialists recognised by the Law Society of Scotland in Family Law, Child Law and Family Mediation. Our Family Law Solicitors deal with family law cases daily. As a firm, we believe that a better service can be provided to our clients from solicitors specialising in specific areas of law.

Our Family Team are recognised by the UK's leading independent legal directories 'Chambers UK' and 'The Legal 500'. We are a forward thinking team and leaders in many areas of family law practice.

2. What about reputation and recommendations?

In addition to online presence, websites and reviews, it is helpful to speak to friends or family who have themselves used a family law solicitor. They will be able to share their own experiences with you which can be helpful when making a decision about which solicitor you feel would be the right fit for you. This along with a direct initial call with a prospective solicitor will aid your decision making to ensure you find the right solicitor.

3. Where are the solicitors based and who would be your primary point of contact?

It is important that you truly know who your solicitor is and that they are the person primarily dealing with your case. A client / solicitor relationship is based upon trust and therefore it is important that they are available to assist you whether online or in person. Some cases involving Court proceedings or certain types of alternative dispute resolution may need to be dealt with locally, therefore having a presence in your local area can be essential.

The north of Scotland is a fantastic place to live and do business. We are the largest full-service Scottish law firm with offices in Moray and the Highlands & Islands. Suffice to say, no Scottish law firm knows the area like we do. We have offices based in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Moray, Thurso and Shetland. We have Family Law Solicitors available with a wide range of experience able to assist across all of our offices. Together with the use of modern technology such as Skype, FaceTime, Zoom or WhatsApp Video calling means we can see and speak to you about your case wherever you are located. Outwith Covid-19 restrictions, our offices are located geographically to cater for face to face meetings.

4. Give serious thought to whether the solicitor sees the bigger picture for you

Often a separation or family related dispute is one part of a wider picture or intertwined circumstances. Family law cases have impacts not only on those involved in the dispute but also other family members, children or family businesses. Therefore wider consideration to decision making during a case should be kept in mind by you and your solicitor throughout the process.

When working with our family lawyers, many people are surprised to hear there are more options available than they originally thought. The options available range from:

  • Negotiation
  • Mediation
  • Collaboration
  • Arbitration
  • Litigation

We will discuss these options with you and assist you in deciding the appropriate way of solving your problems. Whether it is about the welfare of your children, the status of the matrimonial home, the impact a separation may have on a business interest or your financial security, we will help you through a difficult time and allow you to progress with your life with minimal impact. 

Some law firms may be able to offer family law advice, however they do not have the benefit of being able to offer further legal services which may be required to resolve all issues arising from a case. This can then result in another firm of solicitors needing to be instructed. This could for example be work related to property transactions, Wills or business advice. At Harper Macleod we are a full service law firm.

Outwith our Family Law Team, we have specialists in a full range of legal services who are on hand to assist you and your family at every stage of your personal and professional lives. We have trusted advisers on a full range of personal, legal and financial issues to individuals and families across Scotland. We can also work alongside your accountants, tax and financial advisers for you to ensure you have advice on all options and outcomes.

5. Ensure you understand the Legal Costs and have Price Transparency

Before choosing a solicitor it is important to ask about costs.

Generally in family law cases, work will be conducted on an hourly rate basis. The extent of expense involved in family cases can vary depending upon complexity, duration, whether Court proceedings are raised and the solicitor's hourly rate applicable. No two cases are entirely the same. Having an understanding on pricing transparency, costs and what to expect early on will assist you in deciding how you wish to conduct your case.

The hourly rates of a solicitor will vary from firm to firm. In some instances the differences in hourly rates may reflect the level of experience the solicitor has. Our hourly rates are very competitive for the services and experience our Family Law Team provide.

We understand that legal fees are a significant consideration for those instructing a solicitor. At Harper Macleod we aim to ensure we are transparent with cost expectations. Where substantive items of work require to be undertaken, an initial payment to account may be requested to cover fees and outlays.

In some circumstances we are also able to offer fixed fee quotes. For example this may be applicable in relation to undefended and uncomplicated, simplified and ordinary divorce applications.

6. Have you been able to establish good communication and building a rapport with a solicitor during the initial call?

It may seem simple, however being able to communicate and understand one another effectively is essential when it comes to having an effective solicitor / client relationship. We have a diverse team of solicitors within our Family Team which can assist you finding who would be the right fit.

At Harper Macleod we feel it is important to for prospective client's to speak to a solicitor in the first instance prior to deciding whether to proceed. This allows a rapport to be established with one of solicitors but also to assist us in identifying which member of our team would be best suited to your case.

7. Why choose Harper Macleod's Family Law Team?

  • We are specialists and our Family Law Team are recognised UK wide for what we do.
  • We can assist you with all of your legal requirements family related or otherwise.
  • We will help you determine what method of resolution will be best suited to you in light of the overall circumstances
  • Given the diversity and experience of our team, we can assist you in finding the member of our team who is bested suited to assist you.
  • We are dedicated to our locations and presence throughout the North of Scotland and we can meet your needs wherever you are located.

Get in touch

For more information on our family law services get in touch with your nearest office.

Useful links

FAMILY LAW

Highlands Family Law Team