It’s very important to find a lawyer that you are happy with during a divorce. They’ll be representing you through the most stressful time in your life. Not all solicitors are the same and if you don’t like the sound or feel of a firm, you are under no obligation to give them any instructions. We will be telling you how to find a good divorce lawyer so that this can be one thing less to worry about.
If you don’t have a friend or relative who can give you a recommendation then the first port of call for finding a solicitor is The Law Society which is the governing body for all firms of solicitors in England and Wales. They have a search engine on their website (http://www.lawsociety.org.uk/choosingandusing/findasolicitor.law) where you can key in your requirements and postcode and they’ll give you a list of every firm in your neighbourhood who specialise in that area.
Know what you are looking for
Once you have this list you can start ringing around. It’s probably a good idea to have a list of the questions you want to ask before you start calling. You will have your own specific needs and circumstances, so bearing that in mind, ask yourself what’s important to you?
- Do you want to be able to speak to your solicitor during their office hours wherever possible?
- Are you happy for a trainee solicitor, a clerk or Legal Executive to handle your matter to save money?
- Do you want just one person to act for you and always deal with them or are you happy to deal with a team of people?
- Do you want a friendly and amicable person or a pitbull in your corner?
- Do you just want to keep costs down in whatever way possible?
Check if you have a “free consultation”
Even if you’re entitled to Legal Aid for the actual divorce process a firm might charge you to go in and have an initial chat so it’s worth finding out if a firm offers a “first half hour for free consultation” so you can get to know the people without committing yourself to them.
The one thing a solicitor or two solicitors who work for the same firm can’t do, is act for both you and your ex (no matter how amicable), so they will need to do a “conflict check” before they can agree to discuss your situation. This is completely normal and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. They’ll need to take your name and address and your ex’s name and address. Once they’ve ensured there is no “conflict of interests” they can confirm they’ll be able to act for you. Provided you’re happy and they’re happy, congratulations – you’ve got yourself a solicitor.
If you have any recommendations for solicitors, please post them in our comments section.
Lucy Davis is a co-founder of divorceclub.com and a TV Producer. She divorced 7 years ago. She is a passionate advocate for exploring the potential for change and creativity that can result from the trauma of divorce.