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I do not have good relationships with legal professionals

(71 Posts)
GreenRedBlueYellowPurple Fri 31-Jan-14 17:31:44

Oh dear. Due to me being a creative type and going through a very emotionally difficult time, I seem to have TERRIBLE relationships with all my family law solicitors. The first few I left as they weren't giving me a very good service but the last one was unhappy with the fact that we 'weren't understanding each other very well.' It's true! She never answered questions directly, told lies, omitted informing me about very important things (well that last part was the barrister.)

Please, please help me choose a new one. How do I go about choosing? Time constraints mean that I may have to take the first one that agrees to take on the case.

Or does my personality mean that I'll have to represent myself?

Please any insights or advice generally welcome! It's an extremely difficult time for me.

JohnnyUtah Tue 04-Feb-14 14:44:38

Well autocorrect surpassed itself there....

mumblechum1 Tue 04-Feb-14 14:54:46

Oh, I've been advising on the presumption that she's in E&W.

GreenRedBlueYellowPurple Tue 04-Feb-14 15:26:53

Yes that's fine. I am not a million miles from England and Wales and Re: L hearings, for example are relevant where I am.

GreenRedBlueYellowPurple Sat 08-Feb-14 12:46:01

Ok I am now resurrecting this thread as I have to decide urgently if I am going to represent myself or try and find someone new this week!!

GreenRedBlueYellowPurple Sat 08-Feb-14 12:51:05

If anyone has any experience of representing themselves or if there are solicitors and barristers out there who can tell me any tips for overcoming this obstacle and doing a good job at defending myself, this would be really appreciated. Lots of people have pointed out the importance of notes and I have been putting them all in a neat folder and am going to start drafting my next Statement Of Evidence. I hope to acquire my notes from my previous solicitor by telling them that I am representing myself. This, I think will allow me to have a read of all notes before deciding if A/ I'm up to the job and B/ who, if anyone, I need to represent me. I have only a matter of days to make this decision!

heliumheart Sat 08-Feb-14 13:53:37

What about self-rep with a McKenzie Friend? I used one recently for my children act hearing and she was a fantastic support. I'm using a lawyer for the finances but trying to save costs by self-representing when it comes to the children matter.

GreenRedBlueYellowPurple Sat 08-Feb-14 20:28:45

Oh really? Is a mc k friend just a friend with legal know how who takes notes? Any info much appreciated.

heliumheart Sat 08-Feb-14 21:23:15

From what I have heard they vary enormously - mine has legal training and is a paralegal, but now works full-time as a McK Friend. She charges £50 per hour, and it cost me £300 to employ her for my hearing last week. For that she prepared my position statement and came to court with me. During the hearing I spoke to the Judge (she cannot advocate for me) but she took notes and was able to whisper suggestions to me throughout the hearing.

It was a bit of a risk for me but I was very pleased with it overall. I am racking up thousands (£12k so far and counting...) in legal bills trying to sort the finances, and just can't cope with the bills I'd incur trying to deal with my monstrous ex. He is a nightmare and argues/debates everything, he has wasted so much time and money we are apparently building an excellent case for being awarded costs for some of it, but who knows what will happen there.

Are you in London?

Popplecake Sat 08-Feb-14 21:46:28

GreenRedBlueYellowPurple, reading through your posts, you sound exactly like me in my situation . . luckily I haven't been "sacked" by my solicitor but I know have been unhelpful (a pain!) in a lot of ways and in some respects "pestered" them based on my sense of morals and integrity and outrage. I'm sure I have come close to being sacked ;)

If you are thinking of self-representing, the best thing to do is have a simple statement and bullet points of what you want to say. Try to keep to the facts, and if you have any evidence to present, maybe make a list of this under each bullet point and present it as you go.

I would also say that try (hard as it is) to not get hooked in to emotional responses if you self-rep. I have noticed that some solicitors try really hard to divert you from the real issues by throwing up things that hook in to the sense of justice/injustice and try to make you reply in ways that -seem- irrational or emaotional based on an angry or upset response. Be so wary of that and know that by letting the stupid, irrelevant things slide you are actually "winning" although it might not feel like it.


GreenRedBlueYellowPurple Sat 08-Feb-14 22:32:03

I'm not in London HH. Oh my God I didn't know that McK friends cost money! Must do research.

GreenRedBlueYellowPurple Sat 08-Feb-14 22:32:37

That's great advice thanks Popplecake!

GreenRedBlueYellowPurple Sat 08-Feb-14 22:34:14

Does anyone know if I can indeed get my legal notes in the way described a few posts above?

babybarrister Sun 09-Feb-14 12:41:59

There are paid and unpaid MFs - none are allowed to provide legal advice. They are meant to keep a note of what going on. For £300 you could have a direct access junior barrister btw!

eurochick Sun 09-Feb-14 12:47:33

You can request your file but they generally have a right to retain it if there are unpaid bills.

heliumheart Sun 09-Feb-14 13:42:46

babyb - really? £300 to write a position statement, travel and attend court for 2 hours????

babybarrister Sun 09-Feb-14 15:14:52

yup - and they actually know what they are talking about .....

MaryPoppinsCarpetBag Sun 09-Feb-14 15:39:07

I think it depends who you get really. I've used a brilliant MF but had an awful barrister - she set proceedings back by about 6 months.

heliumheart Sun 09-Feb-14 16:23:50

Any suggestions who to contact who would charge such reasonable rates? Very appreciative of any help.

babybarrister Sun 09-Feb-14 20:18:06

look on the Bar Council website for a full listing of Direct Access Barristers. Choose someone junior and who specialises in family.

heliumheart Sun 09-Feb-14 20:39:11

I seem to remember being quoted a lot more than that for the most junior person my lawyer recommended when I wanted help at a non-molestation hearing. I've had a look on that website and there are hundreds listed and it doesn't divide them into categories according to how junior they are. Seems a bit daunting to try and run through the whole list and end up phoning lots of people who will probably charge quite a lot more than £300. Our next hearing is at the end of April, I may ask a family barrister I know if she can recommend somebody who she knows will be very cheap.

GreenRedBlueYellowPurple Mon 10-Feb-14 00:28:35

I should have said- I am entitled to legal aid. Am I crazy thinking of representing myself?!

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