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If lawyers and mediators don’t work together to give clients what they want, others will, says guest blogger Mary Banham-Hall.
Mediation is a flexible and effective resource that many lawyers are still failing to exploit to its full potential, yet it is one that can speed up case management, improve the divorce and separation experience for clients, and improve client satisfaction, thus attracting more work. Mediation has the added advantage of attending to many client’s emotional issues.
Mediators can no longer be seen as being in competition with lawyers for legal work. Rather, the competition comes from two other sources: divorcing couples representing themselves as a result of online research, and organisations who claim to be able to provide a pain-free divorce at rock-bottom prices. Both lawyers and mediators need to show how they can help couples by providing a faster, more efficient and affordable service than the service provided by the other options available. By cross-referring work more swiftly and frequently than in the past, lawyers and mediators can work co-operatively at what each does best to give clients what they want. Together they can build public trust and their respective market share.
Some examples of the advantages of a successful collaborative relationship between lawyers and mediators are:
If lawyers and mediators don’t work together to give clients what they want, others will.
Divorcing and separating families want fast, user-friendly and cost-effective solutions to their problems. Lawyers and mediators working together provide exactly that, which will result in satisfied clients using their complementary services more often.
Mary Banham-Hall, solicitor, FMCA, is lead mediator and managing director of Focus Mediation, and a family law consultant at Heald Solicitors. Her new book, Love Lose Live: Divorce is a Rollercoaster is published on 4 February 2016, with a foreword by Lord Wilson.
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Geraldine is Head of LexisPSL Family. She was admitted as a solicitor in 1992 and was in practice for 15 years, most recently as a partner and head of the family team at Hart Brown, a large Surrey firm.
Geraldine writes for Butterworths Family Law Service and is a past editor of the Resolution Review. She has been published in the New Law Journal, the Law Society Gazette and the District Judges’ Bulletin as well as in the national press including the Times and the Telegraph.
When in practice she was a member of the Law Society Family and Children Panels, and an accredited Resolution Specialist with a focus on advanced financial provision and pensions. A past Resolution regional secretary and press officer, Geraldine also contributed chapters to the Resolution publications, International Aspects of Family Law (3rd Edition 2009) and The Modern Family (2012).
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