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Finding yourself in a situation where you need to take legal advice when relationships in your family have broken down can be a daunting reality – where do you start and just how much is this going to set you back? 

If you have found yourself asking these questions, we are here to help you better understand what kind of fees structures lawyers use and what kind of financial undertaking this could involve.

  1. Where do I start – who do I speak to?

The first thing to understand is who you should seek advice from in the first instance. Within the profession, there are lawyers who are barristers and lawyers who are solicitors (if you are unsure as to the difference, you can read further about that, here). 

In most cases, your first port of call for advice on relationship breakdown will be to see a family solicitor and take some preliminary legal advice. Usually, as a starting point, once you have identified a firm or particular solicitor you might want to take advice from, you will need to provide some preliminary details to the solicitor or their assistant or paralegal – either over the phone, via email or by completing an introductory online form and then a first meeting will take place.

  1. How are legal fees charged?

Solicitors provide a service and so the running of a case is conducted and charged based on the time spent working on a case at the solicitor’s hourly rate. Each solicitor will have a different hourly rate based on their level of seniority and expertise. The costs involved on the whole will vary on a case-by-case basis however at the beginning of your case, your solicitor at Goodman Ray will provide you with a detailed case plan and costs estimate which will give you a sense as to the overall costs they anticipate will be involved in the case, what the likely trajectory of your case will be and the likely timescales involved. Your solicitor will check in with you regularly to ensure that costs estimates and case plans are kept up to date throughout the life of the case – providing more certainty and peace of mind amidst the uncertainties of navigating changes in your family dynamic. 

  1. When do I start paying fees?

Usually this will be from the point you start taking substantive legal advice. Often a first meeting will be offered at a lower rate than would normally be charged. At Goodman Ray, we are pleased to offer initial meetings on a fixed fee basis and that fixed fee will include:

  • an initial discussion with you over the phone with one of our paralegals;
  • review of an optional online questionnaire we offer to new clients prior to a first meeting;
  • the meeting itself; and 
  • a formal letter confirming the advice after the first meeting. 

Following the initial meeting, if you wish to proceed with matters, your solicitor will be in a position to provide you with a detailed  case plan and costs estimate specific to your case.

So the short answer to the question ‘how much does a lawyer cost?’ is that it ‘depends’. It depends on your specific case and circumstances and we are here to help understand exactly what that will mean in money terms and what it will mean for you, specifically, rather than what it may mean for anyone. 

For further information or to book an appointment, please feel free to contact us by email (mail@goodmanray.com) or telephone (020 7608 1227) – we look forward to the opportunity to assist you.

Hannah Lamb

Paralegal

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