I usually have an initial telephone conversation with a new client before they actually come into office to see me. It is often the case that one of the things that they are most worried about is how much getting family law advice from me is going to cost them.
It can be the case that when you ask a Solicitor to tell you how much it is going to cost you they might reply by saying “How long is a piece of string?” Historically, Family Lawyers have not been very good at giving transparent cost information and that is why some people are very reluctant to even have a telephone conversation with a family Lawyer.
My charging out rate is £220 per hour plus VAT. I absolutely appreciate that this is a considerable sum of money. I have needed to take legal advice occasionally so I do know what it feels like to be in that position. I am always willing to discuss the question of legal costs and more importantly your concerns about them. I always send clients a client care letter confirming my charging out rate and how much each letter, e-mail, telephone call and attendance will cost. I also aim to provide the most accurate estimate that I can at the beginning of a case as to how much it is all going to cost.
As a family Lawyer I am very alive to the fact that a client seeking advice from me is a “distress purchase” and one which a client would really prefer not to have to make. Spending hundreds and sometimes thousands of points to get divorced, sort out the arrangements for your children and financial matters is not the same as spending hundreds/thousands of pounds on a new kitchen or bathroom. At least with those kinds of purchases you can see what you are getting for your money.
How much it will all cost depends, to a greater or lesser extent, on how your ex-partner and his or her Family Lawyer choose to deal with matters. If they decide to drag things out, be aggressive or un cooperative or rush off to court then clearly your legal costs are likely to be higher than if they were pro-active, co-operative and keen to reach agreement. I pride myself in being efficient and moving promptly matters along at my client’s pace however that may not be the same with your ex or his or her lawyer.
I am happy to meet with you for an hour at my office for a fixed fee of £110 plus VAT to talk through the things that you are most worried about or that you need information about. If you do not want or need me to do anything after that initial meeting that is fine. If you do want to move things forward then we can agree how best to do that and your likely costs
I sometimes agree with clients to carry out a fixed amount of work in order to move things forward and review matters when that cost limit is reached.
At a time when you might be under considerable emotional strain and worried about your finances I will do the best that I can to reassure you that getting legal advice at an early stay is a good investment.