Having Integrity in all that we do. This means being honest and principled. This means being honest and realistic with you when giving advice. This means being honest in our dealings with the Court and other professionals.
This means protecting client confidentiality but being principled to breach confidentiality when a child protection issue arises within mediation. It means maintaining neutrality and confidences within mediation.
This means charging a fair price for what we do and it means referring on work which would be better dealt with by other professionals.
This means treating people with respect. But respect goes further.
This is fundamental both being a Solicitor and a Mediator.
Being solution focused. Whether instructing us as Solicitors or Mediators you are doing so because you have a problem and you want to find a solution to it. It is easy to get bogged down in process and side-tracked by niggles which are ultimately irrelevant and which can be costly.
We focus on the bigger picture. We work with you to identify the problem, to understand what you want to achieve and we work with you to identify solutions which are realistic. We then work out a plan to assist you to achieve what is realistic. Events may require plans to be rethought, but we will always be focused on achieving the best realistic outcome possible.
This means we may sometimes have to give you advice or information which is unpalatable or uncomfortable.
Maintaining good relationships with other professionals makes life easier generally, but it also helps us to work with others to achieve solutions.
Being child centred. Children are precious. Their welfare and voice should never be forgotten or ignored. This almost goes without saying, but in our view this principle should never be left unsaid.
Showing Commitment. We are committed to do our best for you. We always try our best to do what we say we are going to do.
We are committed to high standards in what we do and to working at least to the level of best practice.
Being creative. What worked yesterday might not work today or tomorrow and might not be the best solution anyway! We value the ability to “think outside the box”, to think laterally. We like mediation and collaborative law as dispute resolution processes as they allow us to explore a problem and possible solutions in ways which are impossible in a legalistic mind-set.
There is no such thing as perfection. Everything could always be done better in some way. We don’t claim that that what we do cannot be improved upon. We are therefore always open to new ideas.
Our founder Ian Walker trained as a Family Mediator very early in his career and when family mediation was very far from the mainstream of family practice. He brought Collaborative Law to Devon. When the next idea comes up we will look at it very carefully to see if it could make us better at what we do. (Although we don’t like every new idea; for example we are not keen on the idea of arbitration in family cases).
Being respectful. It is not very nice when someone is rude to you. We all try to teach our children to have good manners; yet do not always practice what we preach! There is no need to be rude, and it generally makes it harder to get what we want. We are all stressed or under pressure in some way. Getting on with people and respecting and embracing our differences is very important. It is far too easy to be rude or impolite to others.
We find that you get more out of people (whether personally or professionally) if you behave towards them in the same way that you would expect them to behave towards you.