Anita Shepherd – head of our Family Law department – addresses recent media coverage on divorce lawyers

Vultures according to the media or angels waiting in the wings?!

There has been much talk in the media that January has the highest rate of divorce lawyer instructions and that this time of year it is rich pickings for divorce lawyers to maximise their profits.  From my experience this could not be any further from the truth.

The vast majority of divorce lawyers are not waiting in the wings ready to swoop on some unfortunate couple who are going through what will be one of the most significant events they will experience in their lives.  To the contrary, the vast majority of divorce lawyers are committed and dedicated to dealing with the fallout amicably, respectfully and cost effectively for their clients. However, these positive outcomes sadly go unreported which results in a skewed perception of divorce lawyers by the public which is not always helped by the salacious media reporting of such cases.

Sadly, in a lot of professions and trades, there can be unscrupulous individuals but I am pleased to say that they are in the minority and there are a few things that you can do if you find yourself in need of a divorce/family lawyer to ensure that you have appointed the best lawyer to represent your needs, requirements and goals which are:-

  • Ensure your family lawyer is an accredited specialist in family law by a relevant authority such as the Law Society and/or Family Resolution.
  • Speak to your chosen family lawyer over the telephone before proceeding with an instruction so that you can be sure they are the right lawyer for you and are listening to you.
  • Ensure that they practice and/or promote a conciliatory approach to resolving family conflict and relationship breakdown by way of Relate, Relationship Counselling, Family Mediation and/or Collaborative approaches to achieving positive outcomes.
  • Ensure that they are committed to finding outcomes which place the interests of any children involved at its centre.
  • Ensure that they are a registered member of Resolution.  Resolution is a national practice group, which ensures all of its family law practitioners follow a code of conduct in ensuring that they advise and support families in a non-confrontational manner.  A full directory of registered family lawyers can be accessed at or by calling 01689 820 272.

My message is to promote the public gaining faith in divorce/family lawyers as the majority of us are working quietly and steadfastly behind the scenes and achieving amicable and fair solutions for separating couples, which are by their very nature unreported unlike the high profile and salacious cases which hit the headlines.

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