Janice explains what new clients can expect from DMC when attending an initial family or matrimonial consultation.
The initial consultation (what I know)
I have had countless initial consultations with new clients since I started practicing as a solicitor. Over the last 18 years I have seen thousands of clients in the throes of emotional, family or matrimonial distress. Every time I meet someone I remind myself that whilst this is not my first rodeo, it is normally the first time a client has been in this position. In fact, for many of my clients, it is the first time they have sat down opposite a solicitor and I appreciate that many people find that a scary place to be!
I know that some clients arrive by recommendation, some by using the internet or phone book and some just by chance but each client I see has taken the time and made the effort to make the appointment in the hope that they find someone who can help them.
Your first consultation (what you should know)
I personally always tell my clients, and in fact remind myself in doing so on each occasion, that we are about to discuss very often the most intimate and delicate details of their lives. It is therefore so important to put people at their ease. For some in my practice it is a cup of tea, for others a glass of water, for some a gentle joke or story. For others it is a case of just getting down to business. Regardless of how each new client interview develops, it is important that there is an atmosphere where both parties are free to talk, advise, ask questions and seek information.
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” Lao Tzu
An initial meeting like this takes an hour but all of my matrimonial department know that it has perhaps taken that person a week, a month or even a year or more to take that seat. I realise that some clients have a clear idea of what they want to achieve when they arrive for their first consultation. Others want to simply find out their options and then take some time to consider their options before moving forward. In all my first interviews I like to try to make sure that the first visit is as painless and helpful as possible so that at least on the next occasion it may be that little bit less “scary”.