A working partnership
As legal professionals, we're providing a service to our clients which is defined by communication: communication with the client, and communication between solicitor and barrister. We're all aware that in all litigation -- but in family litigation in particular -- we're assisting clients through what will probably be one of the most stressful experiences of their lives. The shock of relationship breakdown or bereavement can be magnified by what many clients understandably see as the ordeal of the litigation process. From the client's point of view, the quality of communication can make all the difference between a difficult experience and an utterly traumatic one.
It goes without saying that we're always attempting to get a good result for the client, but even the most brilliant end result may not wipe away a client's bad memories of how it was achieved, if s/he has felt uninformed and unsupported. In today's very competitive market, client satisfaction is more important than ever.
The relationship between solicitor and barrister is a partnership of equals, each with a distinct job to do. The way that the team works changes with every case, but my aim is to set up and maintain good lines of communication with my instructing solicitor, and to be available to contribute when required, even for a quick, informal word of advice at short notice.
The key to communication is not quantity but quality. We have all had the experience of being bombarded by emails which left us none the wiser -- and sometimes more confused than ever!
In giving written advice or advice in conference, it's always my aim to get to the heart of the matter and to communicate to the client in as effective a way as I can. My lay clients as well as my instructing solicitors have praised my ability to do this.
The working relationship between solicitor and barrister is not a corporate one. It remains founded on the barrister's individual approach and skills set. This is the case whether the barrister is a member of a large set of chambers with many tenants or is a sole practitioner.
Moving into sole practice in September 2011 has allowed me to continue to increase my specialisation in family assets litigation. I am also now able to charge no VAT on my fees, which can represent a considerable saving for the lay client.
The remote Chancery counsel who communicated by means of short written Advices and the semioccasional conference in chambers is now most definitely history. These days, solicitors rightly expect counsel to be contactable within a short timespan and to be able to give a view on matters as they unfold. As my instructing solicitor, you are always able to contact me directly without having to leave messages with a clerk. I am known for being friendly, pro-active and efficient, and for being able to relate well to the lay client. I am able to hold conferences at my chambers in central Nottingham, in London or in Leeds, or at your offices by arrangement if this is more convenient for the client.
For Solicitors: Working in Partnership
As an advocate with over 20 years' experience as a chancery lawyer and over 13 years' experience as a family lawyer, I am known for my communication skills, in particular my ability to get across to lay clients, in a way that isn't patronising, the realities of what can often be a complex legal position. I see my working relationship with solicitors as a partnership of equals, in which my aim is to be as approachable as I can. My position as a sole practitioner gives me flexibility on fees; I do not charge VAT on my fees, which is often a considerable help to a lay client on a budget.
To learn more about my core areas of practice, and to download my CV, click here. To learn more about my approach to my work, read the sections below.