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How Do I Choose a Lawyer?

Posted: 10-03-2021

Why do I need a Lawyer?

The choice of which lawyer you instruct will have a big impact on your Divorce or Separation and in turn on the Financial and Child Arrangements. It is therefore important that you choose well.

What exactly is a Lawyer?

Firstly, it is important to be clear that the term ‘lawyer’ includes several legal professionals;

  • Solicitors usually have a law degree and have completed a practice course and a training contract.
  • Legal Executives have trained at the same time as working in a law firm. They usually do not have a law degree, but instead have lots of practical experience.
  • Paralegals usually have a law degree, but have not gone on to do the practice course or training contract. They usually assist solicitors and legal executives.
  • Barristers usually have a law degree and then have specialised to become a barrister by way of a bar course and a pupillage. Barristers specialise in court work. They are usually instructed by solicitors to represent the client at a hearing; however, some can be instructed by clients directly.

Therefore, clients usually instruct either a Solicitor or a Legal Executive to deal with their issue.

Why should I instruct a Lawyer?

It is always a good idea to instruct a specialist Family Lawyer. Gone are the days of the local solicitor who dabbled in several areas of the law, nowadays, lawyers specialise.  This ensures that the client gets the best possible advice from an experienced professional. Most specialist Family Lawyers are members of Resolution, and you can search for a family lawyer near you on their website.

Generally speaking, the more experienced and qualified the Family Lawyer is, the more expensive they will be. All solicitors charge for their time based on an hourly rate. Therefore, the more senior the lawyer is, the more their hourly rate will be. The more experienced lawyers also tend to be busier, and so you may have to wait longer to speak to them. Therefore, it may be worth instructing a more junior lawyer if your case is straightforward, or if you want to keep costs down as much as possible.

Some lawyers decide to undertake further training to become an accredited specialist. Catherine Sousa is an accredited family law specialist with the Law Society.

Think about whether you want a lawyer who can offer alternative methods of dispute resolution. Catherine Sousa is a mediator, collaborative lawyer and an arbitrator for children’s issues.

How do I find the right Lawyer for me?

Most people choose a family lawyer based on personal recommendation. This is because family matters can be such a personal issue. You are going to have to tell your lawyer some very personal things, and let them look through your finances and family life. It is therefore very important that you feel comfortable with your lawyer, and feel that you can trust them. It is therefore a good idea to ask your family and friends if they know a good family lawyer, and look at the reviews and testimonials for a lawyer.

At Sousa Law we have a team of specialist family solicitors; Catherine Sousa, Nicole Biggs and Giuseppe Pingerna who are assisted by our trainee solicitor Alice Palermo. If you require help and advice concerning Divorce, Financial Settlements or Children Arrangements, and would like to discuss how we can help you, please contact us on 02380 713 060 or to book a Free Initial Consultation.