Does the divorce system need updating?

On 17 May, the Supreme Court heard its first case on divorce itself (Owens v Owens [UKSC 2017/0077]). The case has reignited the debate over the current divorce system in England and Wales which has been in place since 1973. In this case, the husband successfully defended his wife’s divorce petition on the grounds that the marriage had not, in actual fact, broken down irretrievably and that the allegations made were not true.

The Judges found that the wife’s allegations were not sufficient enough to justify the claim that it was unreasonable for her to remain being married to her husband. As a result, the wife was unable to procure a divorce and under the current law, she must remain married to her husband until they have been separated long enough for her to issue unilateral proceedings on the grounds of five years’ separation. This is a particularly rare outcome that has attracted a significant amount of media attention. The judgment shows that the law, as it stands, does not adequately allow an individual the means to promptly leave the marriage in the event that their spouse is not at material fault.

A recent study into defended divorce cases shows that less than 1% of divorces are defended and of those cases, less than 18% were defended on the basis that the marriage had not irrevocably broken down, with the majority being disputed on the basis that the accused party was not at fault. This suggests that the current fault based system is responsible for over 80% of divorce disputes.

This has spurred the debate of whether we should rethink the current law and introduce a “no-fault” divorce. Advocates of this change claim that it would lessen the financial and emotional impact of the already fraught divorce process. In 2015, 60% of English and Welsh divorces were granted on grounds of adultery or behaviour. In Scotland, figures where a divorce can be obtained by neither party admitting fault after one year (with consent) was 6%. In cases where neither party has committed any act or acts that can be considered unreasonable, the law forces the parties to either fabricate misdeeds or wait a minimum period of two years to formally divorce. It is rare that these cases proceed as far as Owens v Owens did, as the majority are settled out of Court; however eliminating the need to point blame or find reason, could lead to a more expeditious, less costly process.

The Owens case has certainly flagged up the importance of modernising the somewhat outdated and potentially prejudicial system and it will be interesting to see the long-term effects of this case and whether, following the controversy and media attention, a no-fault divorce system will be introduced.

To speak to the Family team at Meadows Ryan about a divorce or family matter, contact Christian Abletshauser.

The importance of representation in the administration of an estate

The responsibilities of personal representatives in the administration of an estate are a burden easily taken for granted, simply conferred by a will and happily taken on by a well-intentioned friend or family member of the deceased. In rare cases, however, the obligation can have dire consequences. A recent case involving Inheritance Tax liability (Harris v HMRC (2018) has illustrated the pitfalls of acting as a personal representative for an estate. In Harris the personal representative of an estate transferred a substantial sum of money from the estate to a beneficiary on the basis that the beneficiary would pay the Inheritance Tax burden on that sum.

The beneficiary then left the country for Barbados without paying any of the tax due. The Courts have found that the personal representative is responsible for paying the tax despite not receiving any of the estate himself.

This is a good example of the dangers of taking on a legal obligation and should serve as a cautionary tale, however rare a result of this scale may be. It is far more common for a personal representative to be held responsible for minor infractions as a result of careless filings, such as in Usher & Anor v HMRC (2016). In this case two unrepresented executors incurred a £5,000 fine from the HMRC by mistakenly failing to disclose income on an estate. Despite having no malicious intention, the two representatives were held liable for both the fine and the tax on the undeclared income.

Both of these cases, among many others, show that the obligations that come with administering an estate are not to be taken lightly. In any case, however minor, proper legal advice and representation should be procured to ensure that the process can move forward with minimal risk and provide peace of mind that you will not find yourself liable for costs that you did not anticipate. Probate professionals have the benefit of indemnity insurance, and a wealth of knowledge to avoid getting into situations such as the ones above, and this provides a level of protection that could prove invaluable at a very important time.

For queries or information on how the Private Client team at Meadows Ryan can assist you with your duties as a personal representative, please contact Jag Shah.

The rise of “grey divorce” in 2018 – why it’s happening and how to cope

Over the past 20 years, there has been a marked and steady rise in the number of older people who seek to get divorced – “grey divorce”. The trend continues in 2018 and here we examine the reasons for this and what those concerned can do to help them cope with the prospect effectively.

Why grey divorce is on the rise

There are several reasons why grey divorce is on the rise. In the first instance, grey divorce is now deemed acceptable by society and has little or no stigma attached to it. In days gone by, it was the case that many married couples who were experiencing difficulties would enter into an “Irish” divorce and this meant separating but not going through with the legal proceeding.

Life expectancy is also playing a role in the rise of the grey divorce. People are living longer, which means couples can be together longer and thus statistically more likely to end up parting company.

The third main reason why grey divorce is on the rise is that subsequent marriages, that is to say a second or third marriage tends not to last as long and to end up in divorce.

Here is a look at the statistics:

“In England and Wales, divorce is in decline – our most recent 10 years of data show a 28% fall in the number of divorces between 2005 and 2015. But older people are bucking the trend. In the same period, the number of men divorcing aged 65 and over went up by 23% and the number of women of the same age divorcing increased by 38%.” Office of National Statistics

How to cope

What may act as some kind of comfort for those who are experiencing grey divorce is that there is now more support and advice around than ever before to help them cope with the procedure. For instance, legal experts like Withers Worldwide offer a range of services such as legal mediation or help navigating complex cases that may involve post-nuptial agreements or factors such as overseas trusts.

Other forms of support come in the form of forums or services like the ones offered by divorce support groups. Talking through the experience and the surrounding factors is one of the best ways of coping with the related stresses, strains and processes. This coupled with a healthy lifestyle and plenty of rest will help those going through a grey divorce to understand what is happening and how to deal with it.

10 things to consider when choosing a conveyancing solicitor

Picking the right conveyancing solicitor can be like picking a needle out of the haystack. Do you rely on recommendations from family or friends or pave your own way and select one yourself? Do you go for the cheapest fees? Or do you find the one with the best rating on yelp?

Our 10 things to consider when picking a conveyancing solicitor will give you all of the information you need to make the best choice.

Are they on your mortgage lender’s panel?

Picking a solicitor that is not on your mortgage lender’s approved panel of solicitors can lead to unnecessary complications or even a refusal to lend. Make sure that your appointed solicitor is on the panel of the bank or building society you’re using for your mortgage. If they’re not ask them to register with that lender. Registration can take time and, in a time dependent market this can cause issues.

Fees

Solicitors will all charge fees, these can be wide ranging, depending on location and reputation. Ordinarily a house purchase will be a trying time on your finances so make sure that you budget for your conveyancing costs. The cheapest conveyancer is not often the best solicitor so be cautious if the price is significantly lower than you expected.

Recommendations

A great way of evaluating a solicitor is to check what the previous clients have to say about them as a conveyancer. If a conveyancer has outstanding reviews from people that they have taken through the process you’re likely to be in safe hands. To find out more about how solicitors help during the house buying process you can get additional information here: https://righttobuy.gov.uk/apply/whathappensnext.

Ask your family and friends

At some point they our friends and family are likely to have been through the house buying process. Having a family recommended solicitor gives you a good idea of what expectations you should have. Likewise, if they have had a poor experience you know you can discount them from your list.

Check their credentials

Experienced solicitors are likely to be far better equipped to handle your conveyancing than a practice that is made up of legal juniors. Don’t be afraid to ask your solicitor what experience they have and what qualifications they hold. Woodgrange Solicitors advise that a good legal practice will always be able to demonstrate their capability to handle your conveyancing.

Don’t take an estate agent’s recommendation

Estate agencies currently face a vast number of financial challenges, one way they negate this is by having an agreement with solicitors. Often times an estate agent will recommend a conveyancer. This is normally because they have a financial agreement for every client they pass over. This can lead to you receiving a poorer service than if you had sought out your own conveyancer or solicitor.

Local knowledge could play a role

While you may be tempted to hire a conveyancer in a different location because they offer attractive rates, this may also have repercussions. Hiring a conveyancer from your local area puts them at an advantage because they specialise in that location. A local conveyancer will be abreast of local developments and news that could potentially impact your property purchase. Hiring a local solicitor could significantly speed up the completion process.

Find out your solicitors fee structure

Tying back to the original fee point, you should find out how your conveyancer’s fee structure operates and whether they charge a fixed fee or if they charge a percentage of the property value. Some conveyancers like estate agents will charge a percentage of the value of the property you’re purchasing which could drive up fees compared to traditional fixed fee conveyancers.

Make sure they provide a full breakdown of their fees

A reputable conveyancer should always provide a full breakdown of costs so you’re in no two minds about the services you’re paying for. Approaching a solicitor to manage your property sale or purchase should be transparent and clear from the very beginning.

Communication

The property buying process can be convoluted and confusing, especially if you’re a first-time buyer. A conveyancer that communicates with you as the process unfolds is definitely one you should seek out. Chasing solicitors as well as all of the other hassles that come along with buying a property is additional and unneeded stress. Good conveyancers hold your hand every step of the way. To find out more about the conveyancing process this article by money supermarket gives a clear and concise breakdown: https://www.moneysupermarket.com/mortgages/first-time-buyers/guide-to-conveyancing.

Choosing the right solicitor could be the single most important thing you do along the house buying journey. A well-qualified, communicative and informed solicitor can relieve you of any additional stress and allow you to concentrate on other things like choosing a removals service and getting set up in your new house.

 

Benefits reforms subject of Finders International event

Finders International is running another of its popular deputyship development days for the public sector in June.

The development days give people from different organisations and industries the chance to get together and exchange ideas. The fourth such event will take place at the Hippodrome in Thorp Street, Birmingham, on 14 June.

Delegates will discuss the forthcoming benefit reforms and the implications for their clients.

Changes to welfare benefits in the last few years have had a profound effect on individuals, especially those who have been on long-term disability benefits. Council officers have already reported an increase in time spent supporting their clients at benefit reviews and tribunals.

Implementing Universal Credit also raises serious issues for local authorities managing the finances of vulnerable adults. Challenges officers and those applying for universal credit experience include the need for a separate email address, the time spent waiting for claims to be processed, and that payments are made with no National Insurance number quoted.

Delegates at the June event will get tips and advice on how to complete assessment forms successfully. Tackling reconsiderations and appeals regarding the Employment and Support Allowance will also be discussed so that officers can ensure they get the right decision and what steps to take to challenge a decision they disagree with.

Those at the event will also hear about how to get advice and ensure that they get expert advice at the earliest opportunity. Other subjects covered on the day will be the process of making gifts for a person who has a Court of Protection order in place and issues around tenancies and the loss of capacity.

Feedback from previous events says council employees are aware that deputyship is an unusual, specialist job. The value, therefore, of the deputyship development days is that it brings together people in the same boat.

David Lockwood, a former local authority deputy and Finders International’s public sector development manager, said: “The event is open to all local authorities where staff act as a deputy under the Court of Protection. It’s also for people in the private sector who act as deputies too. We offer a unique opportunity to bring all those who deal with deputyship under one roof, providing a supportive and collaborative environment for those workers.

“Many councils have had to cut the support and advice they give in respect of benefits. For many council officials, accessing expert advice is difficult to find and we are trying to ensure that we point them in the right direction. Hopefully, many local authorities and businesses in the Midlands will be able to send delegates along.”

If you would like to come along to our event, you can register on the Finders International website here.

 

What does the future hold for whiplash claims in the UK?

On the UK’s personal injury claim landscape, 80 per cent of all claims are for whiplash injuries. Such is the prevalence of whiplash claims in the UK that it is known as the world’s Whiplash Capital; when compared to other countries, such as France and only a 3 per cent occurrence of whiplash, the UK’s whiplash problem becomes even clearer. Experts have estimated that whiplash claims in the UK is directly responsible for car insurance premiums rising by an average of £93, prompting Government to bring the issue up for review, with a view to curbing the exponential rise of whiplash claims. Here are some issues that may arise in the near future with regard to whiplash claims.

Are whiplash claims on the rise?

The prevalence of UK-based compensation claims for whiplash injuries has been speeding towards a problem for a long time, and the issue has finally impacted, with insurers and policyholders ultimately paying the price. Car insurance policy premiums are at an all-time high, costing the average driver approximately £800 per year, which is an increase of 14 per cent in the space of two years. The rampant use of legal action over minor and even contrived injuries has led to the many bearing the brunt of a problem created by the few, and the Government deciding to reform the process of claiming compensation for whiplash injuries, which is being instigated this year.

What is whiplash?

Whiplash is actually a bit of a blanket term, and is used in relation to an injury to the muscles, nerves, discs, bones or tendons in any part of the back or neck. Accidents that involve abrupt impact or braking often cause passengers’ heads to be jerked in one direction and then back again with considerable force, which leads to inflammation, swelling and pressure on the nerves. While this tends to be the extent of whiplash injuries, severe cases can see damage to the neck bones too.

The problem is that whiplash injuries can be difficult to ascertain the seriousness of. In many cases, the injuries heal themselves within about six or nine months, but for the unfortunate few, permanent injury can be sustained.

Complications caused by whiplash

Anyone who believes they may have incurred a whiplash injury should immediately seek medical attention. Whiplash symptoms can worsen with time if left untreated, so an initial medical assessment is important. The common symptoms of whiplash include stiff or painful neck, diminished mobility, headaches and migraines. The intricate nature of whiplash injuries and the vast number of muscles, nerves and tendons that could have suffered because of it, make it a complex injury, and one that could cause long-term problems if not seen to early on.

If no expert help is sought following a whiplash injury, the likelihood of the damage developing into a more chronic condition is higher, and if a serious injury, such as a herniated disk, goes unnoticed, the long-term effects could be very serious. A doctor or chiropractor can examine existing injuries and devise a recovery plan to help rehabilitate the person and prevent the condition from worsening. Treatments like massage can help to ease muscle tension, while more specific physiotherapies and chiropractic manipulation can be used to treat more severe injuries.

The hidden symptoms of whiplash

People who have suffered from whiplash injuries often do not recognise other symptoms as being connected to their initial injury, at times preventing them from realising the extent of the damage. Headaches and migraines are one of the lesser known symptoms of whiplash, and are often considered a secondary symptom, in that they are directly brought on by the initial injury and the tensions and stresses caused by it.

It is also common for people with whiplash injuries to put off seeking help for what are deemed lesser symptoms, such as stiff necks and loss of mobility, under the assumption that the pain would clear up by itself. However, this can cause more harm than good, and an untreated injury can go on to become a long-term issue, impacting other facets of life, including quality sleep, ability to concentrate at work and general comfort.

Fact vs fiction

Because of the complexity of whiplash injuries and the difficulty faced in trying to determine the long-term impact of them, large compensation amounts being paid out to people whose injuries were not as serious or chronic as they implied has gained prevalence. Fear that further increases in such claims will only hike insurance premiums up yet again – and cause unnecessary problems for victims with legitimate claims – has seen a growing insistence that politicians review and reform the claims process for whiplash injuries in the UK. However, such efforts have been bogged down by other issues that have taken precedence, including Brexit.

The solution

Last year the Government declared that they would be ‘Reforming the Soft Tissue Injury (Whiplash) Claims Process’, in an effort to quash the ever-increasing claims, and the subsequent hiking of insurance premiums by implementing changes to the process followed to award and calculate compensation amounts. A fixed payout amount is being introduced for complainants whose injuries last less than two years, which is hoped to regulate the amount of money being distributed in this way. Additionally, the Small Claims Track Limit is being increased from £1000 to £5000, in an effort to reroute the majority of cases through small claims court, and therefore reducing both the amounts awarded to victims, and the amounts spent on legal fees, which often cause even more money to be spent in such cases. It is hoped that this will help to stabilise insurance rates too.

What this means for claimants

Part of the purpose of this reform is to repel false whiplash claims, but this should not dissuade genuine victims from filing for compensation. However, the reform means that claimants may have to take a different approach to filing their claim. The input of a reputable legal expert should be the first port of call, to give an indication of the viability of the case and how to  make a claim for whiplash injury, but it is likely that the majority of such cases will be continued in small claims court.

 

Will there be a rise in sexual assault and harassment compensation claims in 2018?

The past 12 months have been characterised in the legal world by a surge of new attention centering on the issue of sexual harassment, both in and out of the workplace, exposing it as a problem far wider spread than society initially believed it to be. The recent exposure of the rampant harassment culture in Hollywood has been responsible for bringing sexual harassment and assault to the forefront, leading to employers, organisations, groups and communities to review their current approaches to investigating such claims and taking necessary action. Here, the specialist team at LegalExpert.co.uk examine the changing perspectives on sexual harassment and assault, what this means for the legal industry and what steps are being taken to combat it.

The figures

Recent statistics have given some indication of just how common a problem sexual harassment is. It is not clear whether this apparent surge in sexual harassment claims is down to the actual rate of incident increasing, or just the number of people coming forward about their experiences, but they paint a troubling picture.

Statistics show that 57 per cent of women and 59 per cent of transgender people have been victims of sexual harassment, while 44 per cent of men report being subject to the same treatment. This means that the majority of the population has been affected by sexual harassment, and this information is only now coming to light.

Studies have also examined the lasting impact experienced by victims of sexual harassment, revealing some alarming facts. 44 per cent of people who reported being sexually harassed said they went on to suffer from depression as a result, while 41 per cent experienced feeling of social anxiety and one-third said their experiences of sexual harassment had made them suicidal. This gives some insight into the long-term reality faced by victims of sexual harassment, and the seriousness with which this issue must be addressed.

The backlash

A cultural movement of a magnitude rarely seen this decade set the ball rolling for the new wave of focus on sexual harassment. Tipped by the the exposure of allegations against movie moghul Harvey Weinstein by the New York Times late last year, the sexual harassment scandal has experienced a significant domino effect, and become a central focus in media and society. From the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements and Oprah Winfrey’s challenging speech at the Golden Globe Awards, this matter has gathered huge momentum, and seen many people coming forward to reveal themselves as victims of sexual harassment.

During her speech, Oprah Winfrey referred to Recy Taylor, a woman who had been raped and subsequently fought for justice during the time of Jim Crow. The way society was at that point meant that justice was never brought against the men who attached Recy Taylor and Oprah echoed the rising narrative that women had long feared speaking up due to the assumption that they would not be heard or believed. Oprah challenged this by saying four powerful words; ‘their time is up’ and it appears that this has resonated with many, leading to a transformation in the way this far-reaching issue is being advanced in 2018.

Figures published at the height of the #TimesUp movement suggest that as many as 81% of women have actually suffered from inappropriate behaviour by others. The issue of historical sexual abuse is also being brought out of the shadows. Official figures show that reports of historical sex abuse alleged to take place between the mid-1970s into the mid-1990s fell steadily over time, but these statistics are compiled from those victims who came forward, and the number of victims who have never revealed their abuse is unknown.

Societal impact

The issue of sexual harassment, and of many victims having suffered in silence for a long time, has struck a chord with society, and revolution is taking place. The exposure of accusations against high-profile figures has seen other people feel empowered to blow the whistle on their own aggressors, and to redefine the societal norms that have allowed sexual harassment to simmer below the surface for so long. One of the main focuses is towards employers reviewing the instance of sexual harassment in the workplace, and making improvements to company culture and policy to ensure that sexual harassment does not take place, and if it does, the victim has they support they deserve to ensure the matter is dealt with justly.

Legal impact

With awareness of sexual harassment at an all-time high, the public are experiencing a new wave of confidence in coming forward with allegations, safe in the knowledge that they will be listened to, supported and dealt with appropriately. It has already caused a huge surge in complaints of sexual harassment, and legal experts expect to see this continue. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) reported a 21 per cent increase in calls in the space of a week following the breakout of the Hollywood scandal, while the final quarter of 2017 saw a 31.5 per cent increase in reports of sexual harassment compared to the same period in 2016.

Legal firms, particularly those specialising in sexual crimes, should be fully prepared to see an increase in the number of sexual harassment cases coming their way, if it hasn’t already happened.

Issues of sexual harassment, both recent and historical, are likely to become a defining characteristic of the modern legal field, and legal experts should be prepared to deal with an influx of new enquiries, as more victims become aware of how to claim compensation for sexual abuse, assault or harrassment. In spite of the terrible nature of such crimes, the increase in victims coming forward is a positive indicator of society becoming more supportive of those affected by sexual harassment, and it is the responsibility of the legal profession to sustain this momentum, and help victims to feel that they made the right decision, for themselves and for others, by reporting their abuse. The longevity and success of the societal movement towards stamping out sexual harassment relies heavily on the right approach being taken by legal professionals at this crucial time.

Pre-nuptial agreements: how to protect your assets

prenup

Recent data from the Office of National Statistics highlights that the marriage rate for women over the age of 65 has increased by 56 per cent in recent years, suggesting that, for some, marriage is as much about financial security as it is about love.

One of the biggest financial concerns facing couples who decide to marry or remarry in later life is the extent to which their existing assets may become part of the new marriage’s matrimonial assets in the event that one party dies or files for divorce.

The decision, therefore, about whether assets should be kept separate or shared with a new partner, should be considered very carefully at the outset. One way of increasing the likelihood of keeping that pre-marital assets separate is through a pre-nuptial agreement.

Despite their somewhat transactional and unromantic reputation, pre-nuptial agreements are becoming increasingly popular in the UK and are often found to provide clarity.

The Supreme Court decision in Radmacher v Granatino [2010] UKSC 42 in October 2010 decided that the court will uphold the terms of a pre-nuptial agreement that is freely entered into by both parties with a full appreciation of its implications unless it is found to be unfair.

There is no doubt that getting married can bring with it a number of financial benefits. However, it is vital to obtain the correct advice from the start so that you are able to identify the key financial issues and avoid any difficulties that can arise from the marriage’s early demise.

To find out more, please contact Christian Abletshauser, Partner, Meadows Ryan, family solicitors (email christian@meadowsryan.com).

Are the British public risking their health to prop up the NHS?

One of the most divisive topics of the decade, the running of the NHS has been at the heart of political, financial and legal debate for many years. With a public so fiercely protective of the services provided, a growing population and creeping privatisation; a recent survey by UK clinical negligence solicitors Your Legal Friend took the temperature of NHS patients – to find how far the pressure on the NHS under health secretary Jeremy Hunt, is being felt.

Of the 2,000 people surveyed, 80% admitted that they would wait a month before chasing an expected follow up appointment and that 9% would wait until they were contacted instead of chasing up an appointment. 86% of those surveyed noted an awareness of the pressures the NHS is under, such as budget cuts or lack of investment. This worrying response suggests the British public are taking on the burden of the pressured NHS, compromising their own health in an attempt pull the cherished national service back from breaking point.

With a £1.4 billion compensation budget this year, it’s clear that the NHS anticipates the cost of reduced services; with the chances of more patients being subjected to mishandled test results, missed follow up appointments and other instances of neglect, borne out of lack of staff or poor organisation. Despite fierce loyalty to the service, the legal profession is preparing itself for increasing cases of negligence, as increasingly privatised services have none of the loyalty the NHS enjoys, whilst simultaneously, few private services have managed to build successful reputation with a public who cherishes the NHS.

The survey also found that almost half of 16-24 year olds would not see an alternative healthcare professional if their preferred one wasn’t available, while that number was closer to 30% for the over 55s. The younger cohort were much more likely to be impatient with NHS staff is pressures resulted in a poor standard of healthcare, with 46% of 16-24 year olds expressing this opinion. Just 35% of the over 55s surveyed said the same. Overall, 40% of those surveyed said they would be impatient with staff is NHS pressures resulted in a poor standard of care. 28% of those surveyed were assured that they wouldn’t complain about substandard care from the NHS.

The NHS receives 480 written complaints a day, according to NHS digital.

 

3 things clients consider when choosing their divorce lawyer

Family lawyers are always in need of not only more instructions, but also instructions of a higher value. In order to know how to attract and convert more customers, you need to know more about them. Possibly the most important thing lawyers can know about their customers is the factors affecting their choice when it comes to choosing their solicitor. This post looks at 5 things customers consider when choosing a divorce lawyer, and how you can easily take advantage of these insights to drive greater profitability.

Specialism

Consumers are more sophisticated than ever before. Where once they may have just used the one high street lawyer for all their legal needs, the internet allows customers to do a bit of research. For high-value or contentious divorces, the customer is likely not just to be looking for “a lawyer” but a lawyer with a divorce specialism, and even a specialism in their particular circumstances. Demonstrating your expertise, skill and past work on your website through strategic content can be an excellent way of demonstrating your specialism in that area. Furthermore, if you are a member of a professional organisation, or have won any awards or recognitions, you should put these trust icons on your website. These are called trust icons for a reason and can be very persuasive when it comes to customer conversion.

Reputation

Testimonials and reviews hold a lot of power when it comes to consumer decision making. After all, when was the last time you bought something online without checking out the reviews? You should aim to implement a process for gathering reviews and testimonials. For example, create a template email asking past clients to review your service on Google. Legal reviews can be difficult, because often clients will focus on the outcome – which may have been out of your control. Try to guide the client by asking them to focus on service. Were you easy to contact? Were you upfront about costs? These are things within your control and can help persuade potential customers that you are good to work with.

Branding

Your website is now your shopfront, and if that shopfront is looking tired, this can be dissuading to customers, particularly those that are facing a difficult divorce and want to feel secure. Having a well-designed, easy to use website that provides clear information about your services puts potential clients minds at ease. You should aim to not only describe your services, but your customer service too. This may be the first time the client has ever dealt with a lawyer, so they want to know what to expect. Similarly, keeping your blog and social channels regularly updated shows that you are active online, and are likely to respond promptly if the call or email you.