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Home » Should family law solicitors offer a free initial consultation, or is it just a commercial ploy? 

Should family law solicitors offer a free initial consultation, or is it just a commercial ploy? 

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    While a 30-minute free consultation is traditionally advertised by commercial law firms to get clients to sign with them, Affordable Justice takes a different approach to ensure that clients get the best possible assessment and plan for their case. Feedback from its client base who have come to Affordable Justice after having been through these free half-hour sessions with other firms has highlighted their ineffectiveness in making any positive impact. Instead, women have left with no real confidence that their situation, often mired in domestic abuse and coercive control, is truly understood and solvable. 

    Affordable legal services from the outset 

    As a result, Affordable Justice remains committed to charging women at their usual affordable rate for an initial consultation. Consequently, common feedback is as follows: “I’ve tried a few free half-hours with other solicitors, and you were the first who totally understood and got it when I explained about my controlling and abusive ex-partner.” 

    Solicitor and Affordable Justice director Sue Sedgwick commented

    “While the thought of getting a steer on your legal problems through a free half-hour can be enticing for many, there’s not really much you can do during that time. Most of the women who come to us have complex issues often exacerbated by the gaslighting and manipulative actions of their abusive partners. It is crucial during this initial session that the woman is reassured that the solicitor she is talking to not only listens and understands but can put together a structured road map out of her situation.

    A half-hour session will achieve nothing and would only lead us to have to increase our overall fees to cover the shortfall – which is what commercial firms do,” Sue Sedgwick continued.

    The first step away from coercive controlling behaviour 

    The company prefers to book an initial two-hour consultation, which is paid for by the client at its consistently low rate. During these two hours, the Affordable Justice solicitor can carry out a full assessment of the potential case, give a realistic breakdown of all costs involved, and prepare a detailed letter outlining the company’s clear advice regarding the next steps to be taken. For less than £240, a woman who is often struggling with low self-esteem and confidence, frightened for herself and her children, will walk out with a definite plan, a clear idea of what is required and hope for the future.

    The premise behind Affordable Justice’s unique business model is to ensure those who cannot afford traditional commercial legal fees have access to more affordable services without losing any degree of professional integrity. By stripping out the profit element, we can afford to employ the best qualified solicitors at competitive salaries, so our clients get the most expert advice and representation. 

    Affordable Justice is a family law firm set up specifically to help women who were not eligible for legal aid when the legal aid restrictions were put in place back in 2013.