A community interest company which offers support to separating parents through its websites OnlyMums and OnlyDads, has launched a family law panel which it says could become “the place to go as the starting point for family law matters”.
The company claims to be the leading national on-line signposting organisation supporting divorcing/separating parents in the UK, and says it receives thousands of emails and questions from parents at different stages of the separation process, many of whom are looking for legal advice and support.
Bob Greig, co-founder of the websites, said 10 firms were already on board, including Mills & Reeve, Stephensons and Anthony Gold. He said that around 60 referrals had been made in the first few days of the panel’s existence.
The company, based in Totnes, Devon, is a not-for-profit organisation and all the solicitors involved must be accredited by Resolution.
Law firms will be charged £600 per year for each office which belongs to the scheme, to cover the cost of marketing, advertising and running the company’s websites.
The number of panel members will be limited to three in each town, apart from the big cities. London will have up to 24 members, Birmingham and Manchester up to five. To avoid unnecessary overlap between areas, there will not be a listing in towns and settlements with a population of less than 20,000.
“We’re a grassroots organisation and many of our mums and dads don’t know where to turn,” Mr Greig said. “They’re not in solicitors’ offices giving instructions.
“A free initial diagnostic conversation is what all our clients are looking for. There’s no time limit on it, but clients must know what their options are, including McKenzie Friends, mediation, barristers and solicitors.
“We’re passionate about giving people options so they become empowered and make better decisions.”
Mr Greig said one of the most important things the company would be looking for in deciding which firms are invited to join the panel was their use of social media.
“Social media shows a modern outlook and a willingness to reach out,” Mr Greig said. “Firms must use it freely, and be less conservative and more daring.
“I’ve got two teenage daughters who use social media for everything. In five or 10 years’ time, that is how they will find solicitors.”
The company has a 24-hour legal helpline to help manage requests for advice, and uses Twitter and Facebook to thank firms and promote their articles and news.
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