What makes a good family lawyer, by Charlotte Hustwayte, 3rd year LLB Law with Business, taking Family Law elective
What it takes to be a good family lawyer in today’s society is not necessarily the same as what it was 10 years ago. As the workings of today’s family is ever changing lawyers that deal with these families also need to be open minded and change with the times. There is no room for stale views when it comes to family matters. Fewer couples are getting married and due to this there are a lot more children being born into cohabitating families, causing further issues when it comes to disputes that occur during separation. The increasing changes in family dynamics leave room for change and improvements within the law and this is where the introduction of alternative dispute resolution fits in.
Due to the emotional situations that occur to people by the time they reach out for advice and assistance from a solicitor most clients will be very upset, and a lot of the times they will be unreasonable. This is when the solicitor will have to be able to discuss all matters with the client, some may not be relevant, but building up this relationship will mean that the solicitor can get to the bottom of what the real issues are, sometimes they are just minor things that have grown into much larger problems between people that can no longer communicate with each other.
When it comes to the client and solicitor relationship it is important to remember that clients may not always know what is best for them and when it comes to family issues there will be a lot of animosity. This is when it is very important for a solicitor to remain neutral and, if children are involved, it is vital to put the children first at all times during the dispute.
A good family lawyer will have to be able to manage their client when their expectations are completely unreasonable which can be especially difficult. To be able to explain to your client that something they may want is not possible has to be done in a very tactful way, sometimes the best way to assist a client is to make them see that what they are demanding is unreasonable and not the best for the parties involved.
It is these situations that derive so much from processes such as mediation and collaborative law. These processes encourage people to come to a fair and reasonable solution with the assistance of solicitors whilst in a safe environment. This is why there is such a high success rate with these processes as well as high satisfaction levels. When people feel like they have come up with the solution in this way they are going to be happier with the outcome not only in the short term but in the long term and therefore, they are much more likely to stick to any long term plan that is put into place.