Family lawyers are in business to make a living out of the car crash that clients in a relationship have made of their lives. For our clients it is their future. Professional integrity demands that the latter is the priority. Outcomes are unpredictable; it is very difficult to provide any client with an estimate, let alone a quotation for the cost. If we do then it has to be unduly pessimistic (there will be unpredictable twists and turns) or broken down into so many elements that it becomes unintelligible. So we charge by time costing; the longer it goes on; greater income. There is no immediate incentive to settle, persuading a client away from a course of action, which by reason of heightened emotion, non-disclosure etc. the client wishes to follow. We try to assist our client towards a better future. In precarious circumstances we advise on the risk and cost of fighting a case to the bitter end, against the advantages in time and cost of a settlement. Professional integrity is advice, at the outset that the more you agree the less you pay the lawyers, but what is the logic and how do you get there?'
The full version of this article appears in the August 2013 issue of Family Law.