COVID DIVIDEND FOR FAMILY LAWYERS AND CLIENTS
The pandemic has presented several opportunities and benefits for families requiring legal support, including a reduction in costs. That’s the view of Amanda Wilson of Amanda Wilson Family Law.
She says: ““Many people are nervous about meeting a lawyer and family law can be particularly emotive as clients are talking about their family life.
“Most clients come to me after struggling with their situation for some time so, if we can minimise that anxiety by meeting online at a time that suits them, it makes the process much easier and more efficient.
“In addition, meeting online can save the client time and money, reducing legal costs.
“Families also have more choice now when it comes to choosing a family lawyer. In the past, families would tend to choose a lawyer on their doorstep, particularly if they might need to raise a court action locally.
“However, with most family court hearings now taking place online, families can access a wider choice of firms.”
Amanda, who launched her own business a year ago following a 15-year career with one of Scotland’s largest law firms, says one of the most significant changes is the introduction of virtual child welfare and other procedural hearings, making life easier for clients and the legal profession.
She added: “Most of my clients have never dealt with a lawyer before, apart from perhaps buying or selling a house, so the prospect of making their case within a courtroom can be extremely nerve-wracking and intimidating.
“In the past, clients could also be hanging around court for hours, sometimes in a witness room with lots of other people, whilst they waited for their case to call. Often this time would all be charged to the client.
“Moving hearings online is more efficient. Depending on the type of hearing, clients will sometimes be given an allotted time slot, saving the client and lawyer time, keeping costs to a minimum and reducing the anxiety associated with attending court.”
With premises at Dundee One, Amanda has also recruited two members of staff within her first year in business. Legal Secretary Alix MacKay joined the practice in April and University of Abertay law graduate Sophie Fairweather has recently been appointed as a Legal Secretary while pursuing her legal career. Amanda added, “The first year has been exceptionally busy, partly due to the growing number of separations and divorces family lawyers are seeing due to Covid. We have also been busy with family work, including child disputes, prenups, cohabitation matters, adoptions and surrogacies.”