Taunton Family Solicitor Kit O’Brien is passionate about lawyers being open and transparent about legal costs. She explains why:

Yes, I do know this is the title of a movie about blood sucking vampires.  It seems appropriate however. In over 20 years as a family lawyer I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen my profession referred to as ‘blood suckers’.

While stories about the vast sums members of the legal profession earn are largely an exaggeration – barring a handful of very senior London based lawyers – it is true that when people fall out with their solicitor it’s very likely to be over legal costs.

If, after you’ve employed a family law solicitor, the main memory you have of their work is an enormous bill, it’s highly likely that you employed the wrong solicitor.

There is another way.

No one buys a car without trying it first.  No one assumes that the cheapest car will be the best.  No one just makes the purchase without getting some idea of what their chosen car will cost them to run. 

People will say that not all cars are the same.  Well, not all solicitors are the same. And you should be no less careful in how you choose who deals with your legal affairs.

Will they offer you a test drive?  If you’re going to be parting with your hard earned money for their services then you’re entitled to spend some time with them without feeling you’re watching a meter clock up.  Never be afraid to ask for an initial consultation free of charge.  Accept that they won’t be able to give you detailed advice at that meeting because they just won’t know enough about your case.  It will however give you a chance to get an understanding of the legal process that applies to you and the likely costs of the work that you need to have done. 

If you need help from a family lawyer you need to know that you’ve appointed someone who you can talk to, who you can work with and who you have confidence in. Are they a salesman or a straight talker?  Anyone can tell you what you want to hear, but that won’t be any comfort when you’ve spent money chasing rainbows and only get the cold, hard facts at a later date.  The solicitor who gives you a frank, but unpalatable assessment shouldn’t be seen as not being on your side, just because you don’t like that opinion.  Actually, they’re probably trying to save you money (and stress) from the start and helping you to ensure you don’t throw good money after bad.

Is the lawyer willing to give you a real indication of what their work will cost?  Too many solicitors don’t like to talk about costs at a first meeting because they’re worried that clients will be put off.  But if you’re going to be paying for a service then you’re entitled to expect the best possible information on what that service will cost – right at the outset.  Even if there isn’t enough information at the start to give a reliable estimate, you should always get a best and worst case scenario so that you know exactly where you stand and can make an informed decision as to the steps you want to take.

At Slee Blackwell we’re very aware that our clients have a choice.  We don’t want to be seen as legal leeches.  We offer quality legal advice at rates we believe represent value for money.  We undertake family law at fixed fees wherever we can.  We make sure our clients know exactly what a fixed fee can cover and what it can’t.  If we can’t do something for a fixed fee we’ll explain why and ensure that we give the best information we can right at the start as to what the likely costs are going to be.  And we keep checking that information and ensure we update it regularly, whether we’re confirming that the position hasn’t changed or revising the information because of changed circumstances. 

We know that our family law clients need to feel that they can work with us at one of the most difficult and stressful time of their lives. We are therefore happy to offer an initial free consultation so you can audition us.  We give realistic advice and we’re not afraid to give unwelcome news if we have to.  We can’t guarantee that every client will get the outcome they want.  We can guarantee however that they will know from the earliest possible stage what we believe the most likely outcome is so that there are no last minute surprises.

So, if you’re looking for a family lawyer in Somerset, call Kit O’Brien at Slee Blackwell on 01823 354545 and let the right one in!

Let The Right One In!