Separating and choosing a Lawyer | Southern Waters Legal

Separating and choosing a Lawyer

November 19, 2018
Kalisha Martin

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Separating and choosing a Lawyer – the benefits of seeing an Accredited Specialist in Family Law

When parties separate, one or both parties may seek legal advice.  A natural and common concern is which lawyer a person should see.  Lawyers have varying levels of experience and with the varying levels of experience come different levels of costs.  This gives rise to another common concern, being the amount of legal fees a person is going to spend.

Often, parties seeking legal advice will first ask what a lawyer’s hourly charge out rate is.  In most, if not all firms, a lawyer’s charge out rate is commensurate with their level of experience, meaning an Accredited Specialist will usually have one of the higher charge out rates in a firm.  Notwithstanding this, there are real benefits to meeting with an Accredited Specialist in Family Law including the following:

  • similar to a medical professional, Accredited Specialists have undergone further rigorous training in their chosen area to demonstrate they have specialist knowledge and skills in that area;
  • to maintain a specialist accreditation, the specialist must undertake a higher degree of professional development each year meaning they must do more continued education in their chosen area to keep their status as an accredited specialist;
  • to be eligible to train to be an Accredited Specialist the lawyer must have a minimum of 5 years full-time experience as a qualified lawyer, meaning the lawyer already has the benefit of significant experience;
  • because of the expertise the specialists have, they will usually have the ability to complete work in a fast manner, thereby keeping costs down notwithstanding the higher charge out rate; and
  • probably most importantly, family law matters often encompass a range of complex legal issues which parties are sometimes not aware of until they tell their story to a lawyer and accredited specialists are experienced in such complex legal issues.

Choosing a lawyer is very important as parties need to feel comfortable with their lawyer on a personal level but also feel confident in their ability to work with them on their matter to a resolution. Because of the above points, Accredited Specialists in Family Law are generally the best equipped to provide you with general advice and strategically consider your matter. Whilst an Accredited Specialist may have a higher charge out rate, they have a significant level of experience, which also lends itself in some circumstances to run matters in a cost-effective manner including working with more junior staff on matters to keep costs down but ultimately deciding the direction of the matter.

Nobody wants to spend a lot of money on lawyers and we at Southern Waters Legal absolutely appreciate that.  Our head of family law, Leona Bennett is an Accredited Specialist in Family Law and works with her team of 3 family lawyers and wonderful support staff to ensure that our clients are getting the benefit of her specialist experience but also being mindful of our client’s costs.

If you are separating and need assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our office on (02) 9523 5535 to make an appointment to meet with our Accredited Specialist in Family Law to consider the direction of your matter.

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