I want to change my divorce lawyer. Help!

An increasing number of our clients come to us having had a poor experience with a previous lawyer. Some change lawyers because they simply do not like or cannot accept the (sensible and honest) advice they have been given but many change because they have frankly lost confidence.

So can you/should you change lawyers?

The first thing to remember is that this is hopefully your only experience of divorce or separation. The financial outcome will impact on you for years to come and your children may have also to live with the arrangements made for them. You don’t want to be forever thinking if only you’d got that second opinion. If only you had changed when you had the chance.

However, changing your lawyer is not a decision that should be taken lightly or in haste. It will cost you money for the new lawyer to read the papers. You will have to form a working relationship with them in circumstances where you may already feel bruised as a result of the system. You can’t be sure that the new lawyer will be better.

If you are considering a change try and get a personal recommendation from someone you trust. Speak to the new lawyer first and consider paying for an initial meeting to get to know them. Take a friend for a second opinion.

Beware lawyers who are too quick to criticise your previous lawyer or who make big promises. Choose someone who gives considered advice, who is sensible and pragmatic and above all realistic as to what can be achieved.

Don’t pick the cheapest lawyer. Good lawyers are not cheap but in the long run they can save you money. They will give you good advice and will have a strategy and a plan as to how to achieve the best outcome.

They will often work as a team with a junior lawyer who will do a lot of the work thus producing a lower overall cost. It isn’t cost effective to use a lawyer with a lower hourly rate but who does all of the work themselves when a lot could be delegated to a junior.

Do not leave it til the last minute. If you try and change solicitors close to a court hearing you may find difficulty finding someone and the risk is that things will be rushed.

Changing solicitors is an important decision. Follow your gut instinct and if in doubt at least speak to another lawyer who has been recommended to you to gauge whether a change is the best choice.

Please contact a member of the Family Team for further assistance.

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