Family Solicitor, Shakira Johnson, talks about what clients can expect from meeting with a solicitor and how to make the most of these conversations.
Most clients come and see a Family lawyer at what can be one of the most distressing times of their lives, but we want clients to feel at ease when meeting with us. You should view your first meeting (and any subsequent meetings) as a relaxed conversation.
“I usually start my meetings by introducing myself, with a friendly smile.” Shakira said. “It’s helpful if you have filled in the Background Information Form or Settify documents before our meeting as this helps ease nicely into the next stage of our conversation, where I would invite you to tell me about your circumstances and why you need my help.”
“After this, I’ll then ask specific questions to drill down on the essential detail needed. I like my meetings to flow as a conversation, so I don’t object to you asking me questions as we go along!”
Shakira’s top tips for getting the most out of your meeting are:
- Make notes beforehand – Come armed with a list of questions you would like to ask, and issues you would like to raise, and tick them off as we go along! Before our meeting comes to an end, check that we have covered all the points on your list. You’ll probably find that most of your questions have been answered as the meeting progresses.
- Meet where you feel comfortable – As meetings are usually remote these days (via telephone, Teams, Zoom, etc), it is important that you are somewhere safe and comfortable for you to talk, with no distractions. My colleagues and I can offer a range of appointments so that you can select a time which suits both of our diaries.
- Ask, ask, then ask again – If you are unsure about anything, please ask for clarification. At the end of the day that is what we are here for and it is important that you have a clear understanding of the process and what is involved.
- Be honest with the facts! – You’ve taken the step to see a solicitor because you want someone to be on your side. Family life can be tricky, and we can all do things that we are not proud of when emotions are heightened. In order for me to provide you with the appropriate advice, it is essential that you provide the facts as they are so that there are no hidden surprises!
- Bring a friend or family member – 4 ears are better than 2! Our short-term memories often fail us under stress, so it can sometimes help if you have someone with you to help you review things later.
“Finally – try and relax!” Shakira added. Remember that your meetings with us are confidential and before an appointment is arranged, we carry out internal conflict checks to ensure that we have not acted for your spouse/ex-partner. We want you to rest assured that we are on your side.
We look forward to meeting with you.
If you would like to talk to a member of our Family team or arrange a meeting, please do not hesitate to get in touch.