Here some suggested organisations that offer expert advice on SN.

Douglas Silas

(17 Posts)
claw4 Thu 07-Jun-12 17:17:54

Has anyone heard about this firm of SEN solicitors?

I am looking to instruct a solicitor and dont want to rely entire on google.

ArthurPewty Thu 07-Jun-12 17:34:17

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ArthurPewty Thu 07-Jun-12 17:38:46

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WetAugust Thu 07-Jun-12 17:42:34

Thought the title of this thread was Star's birth announcement grin

ArthurPewty Thu 07-Jun-12 17:49:38

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheLightPassenger Thu 07-Jun-12 18:11:10

not heard of them, sorry. also worth checking out the legal500 website.

claw4 Thu 07-Jun-12 19:20:44

Haha! Wet

Cheers Leonie, Birmingham is too far. Im more London.

TheLight, thanks will check that out.

Douglas Silas, charge £300 an hour, i have no idea of how expensive that is? but that sounds expensive to me. Not sure whether expense = quality service or rip off.

krystalklear Thu 07-Jun-12 19:32:22

I've heard a fair bit about them and he seems to have a good rep, though no personal experience. It's a Band 2 firm on Chambers (Band 1 is top; I used one of the other Band 2 firms and they were excellent and got DS his residential specialist placement). I have signed up to his regular emails which are quite informative but also fairly easy to understand, and his firm specialises entirely in SEN (as opposed to other areas of education law, in itself a very niche area).

The firm crops up quite a lot when looking up case law etc so they are very experienced and deal with quite complex cases.

krystalklear Thu 07-Jun-12 19:38:01

£300 is expensive; I think my firm were charging about £250ph but most of the day to day work was done by a trainee for less, about £160ph. Mine was London-based as well. I don't think my case suffered at all from having a more junior person dealing with the more routine work - can you check if some of the work could be done by a less qualified (cheaper) person?

Remember legal work is just part of the cost - I probably paid as much again for representation (barrister) and the various assessments (3 experts, EPs visiting schools and all their travel costs) and witness fees.

Have you looked at using an advocate (e.g. Fiona Slomovic)?

krystalklear Thu 07-Jun-12 19:42:36

Also, don't discount firms on basis of distance. I only met my solicitor three times in person over two years and almost everything was done via email/phone. Not sure if it would actually save you money (if firms are cheaper outside London) but it could give you more to choose from.

Backin5minutes Thu 07-Jun-12 20:33:55

£300/hour sounds expensive.

We used Chris Barnett at Levenes, and I'm sure he wasn't that much. He was bloody effective, and got us a fantastic, comprehensive package which was more or less exactly what we wanted (independent SN school, OT and SALT quantified)

douglas Silas rings bells, and I'm not sure it is all good - I think I've come across a few people (professionals, but not law professionals - experienced (at tribunal) OTs and SALTs and EPs) who think he is ineffective, but I suppose it depends on situation - he must have had some wins to be commanding that sort of fee.

Backin5minutes Thu 07-Jun-12 20:34:49

oh, agree re: distance - we never met Chris Barnett - all done via email and phone contact.

Backin5minutes Thu 07-Jun-12 20:37:04

Do you have other professionals lined up? One tactic we used was to have an EP/OT/solicitor 'team' who had all worked together before and recommended each other - was expensive, as all top whack, but hugely effective.

If you have eg an OT or an EP who you particularly want to use (and are experienced at tribunal) then it might be worth asking who they recommend/would suggest working with.

bochead Thu 07-Jun-12 22:36:17

Another vote for Levenes, partly because of the EP that they recc'd. I wouldn't have known where to start looking for experts for the 2 reports I needed & the independent EP they advised us to use was spot on in everything she wrote. Incredibly useful report even now.

At the time I was being accused of all sorts and her report shone a light on the key issues affecting my son in way nothing else had, despite oodles of NHS reports that all described bits of the puzzle. She described the whole child in a way that had his teachers slapping their foreheads as the dots were joined in their minds iykwim.

It was all done via phone, post & email. I represented myself at the hearing had NO money to pay for expert witnesses. I won what DS needed as I was sent in well prepped & with rock solid arguments.

claw4 Fri 08-Jun-12 00:44:06

Thanks everyone, i will check out Levenes.

I had ind EP, OT and SALT last time around, i didnt rate the EP or SALT too much, i had to remind them to quantify and specify and lots of other things. OT was brilliant though.

Douglas Silas do have other prices, its £300 for the top bod, £200 for a solicitor and £150 for a trainee. So i suppose i could mix and match.

I was thinking that even if i did go in person to see solicitor i would still have to send the paperwork, as far too much too carry, so as others have suggested distance isnt a problem if it can be done via phone/email/post etc.

Thanks again for your suggestions, very helpful smile

ArthurPewty Fri 08-Jun-12 08:54:56

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

painteroo Tue 05-Jul-16 17:20:34

claw4 can you tell me the OT? looking for one myself

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