Family law matters are emotional and stressful. Finding a family law solicitor who can help is the natural first step but even that can feel like an overwhelming task. With many law firms practising in family law it can be hard to know which family solicitor has the experience and skills needed to resolve your matter.

At the outset, it is important to understand that the terms family lawyer and family solicitor are used interchangeably. Many people think a family lawyer and a family solicitor are different but they are actually the same and perform the same role in helping people resolve family law matters.

In this short guide, we’ll run through a list of considerations to help you choose the right family solicitor.

Practical Steps For Choosing the Right Family Solicitor

Step 1 – Know What You’re Looking For

Not all family solicitors and family law firms are the same. It is helpful to keep in mind the following three factors when determining who is best placed to assist you:

  • Specialisation – when you are going through a difficult separation or divorce it is always best to choose a law firm that practises exclusively in family law rather than a general law practice. The skill and depth of knowledge that a specialist family solicitor brings to a matter will generally result in a quicker and more cost effective resolution.
  • Experience – find out how long the solicitor who will be handling your matter has been practising and the types of matters they have handled in the past. There can be a big difference between the skills and experience of a Junior Family Solicitor and a Senior Family Solicitor. For simple family law matters, a Junior Solicitor may have sufficient experience but for more complex matters a Senior Family Solicitor should be engaged.
  • Size – some family lawyers operate as a sole practitioner meaning that they are the only lawyer in the firm. While this can provide a personalised approach it can prove difficult if your lawyer becomes sick or goes on holiday. Engaging a family law firm with more than one family lawyer means there is always someone available to help you and also provides depth of knowledge and experience.

Step 2 – Research Online

Check the online profile of the family lawyer and family law firm you wish to use. Do they have a website, have they written articles or presented seminars on family law matters, do they have reviews and testimonials from previous clients. Be on the lookout for positive feedback, success stories or case studies of similar family legal cases.

Step 3 – Seek Recommendations

Depending on the nature of the legal issue and your network, this may or may not be possible but seeking recommendations from friends, family or colleagues who have faced similar issues is one of the most valuable ways to gain insights into a family solicitor’s reputation or expertise.

Step 4 – Take Advantage of a Free Consultation

Many family solicitors offer a free consultation. Use this offering to interview potential lawyers. Ask questions about their approach, experience, understanding and strategies to see if you ‘gel’ with their style. (Use this article as a guide to formulate your questions.)

Step 5 – Understand the Fee Structure

All law firms bill and charge for services differently. Once you have found a family law firm or solicitor that you like, make sure you receive clear and transparent information about their fee structure. Family lawyers often charge on the basis of a fixed fee, an hourly rate or a combination of both.

You can also request an estimate for the overall cost of handling your case, with an understanding that this is subject to change.

It’s important that you also ask about any additional or extra costs that can arise during the legal process and proceedings so that there are no nasty financial shocks down the road.

Step 6 – Evaluate their Communication Style

You will have a lot of communication with your lawyer, through emails, by phone and in person. It is important that you have strong communication and a relationship of trust with your family lawyer.
Likewise, it is important that you receive open and consistent communication from your lawyer. Your chosen family lawyer needs to be responsive, approachable and understandable at all times. Your lawyer should also provide you with regular updates and progress reports on your matter.

Galloway Family Law – a family solicitor here to listen

At Galloway Family Law, we are part of the New Way Lawyers group, and we’re experts in family law. We are here to listen and help you resolve your family lawyer matter.

If you’d like to find out what sets our family solicitors apart from others, give us a call for a free 20 minute phone consultation. We’ll answer all your questions and ensure you understand how we can help you reach as successful a resolution as possible.