How I Work
‘The first time I spoke to John I put the phone down thinking I’d just spoken to a friend, not a solicitor that I had never met.’MW, October 2013
The greatest professional compliment I could hope for.
I don’t always agree to take on clients. I need to know more about the individual situation before I can know if I can help or not. In some cases, there is simply nothing I can do, in others a few pieces of advice on the phone is enough. Some require full instruction and even representation in the tribunal or the court. Unless I feel I am the right person, who can offer the right advice I will not take your case on.
Every new matter starts with a free consultation and initial discussion. I ask everyone to fill in a new case form to give me the basic details, and it is followed up with a chat. We can then agree a way forward.
Your case is unique, and for every case I take on I put forward a case plan. I try to work on fixed or capped fees so far as possible. It avoids a nasty surprise at the end of a case. My hourly rate is kept low compared to most solicitors as I keep my overheads low and work mainly by phone, email and Skype.
I encourage everyone to email me. It keeps your costs down– it is really shocking how time and costs quickly builds up with telephone calls! However, it also makes sure that you can I get the clearest account of what the issue is, so that you can get the most helpful advice. By putting it in your words there is less room for any misunderstanding. I follow up by email too. That way we have good records of what has happened.
I am always pragmatic, and I never promise success! My personal philosophy is that by working as a team with parents, young people and carers we can strive to get the right result. Achieving your goals and aims is important, but also is being realistic. I would always prefer a negotiated settlement is possible. Agreed outcomes are less stressful, costly and often quicker. It also makes working with the other side at the end easier for you and your child.
I am also a trained mediator for children, family and education cases. This does make a difference to negotiations. Mediation is not simply giving in! The skill of a mediator employed in negotiation can be very helpful in ensuring that outcomes are genuinely realistic and achievable.
Sometimes it is not possible to reach an agreement. If we have to battle it out in a a tribunal, court or meeting, then you need to know I will will help you to put the case in the strongest possible terms or make the case for you. Every case is unique, there is no ‘one size fits all’.
I can never guarantee a successful outcome, I only wish I could. However, what I can say is that working together, having clear and focussed aims and good open communication is likely to get the most positive results.