Ian Walker value for moneyOur Charges

A fundamental part of our mission statement is to be transparent about our charges.

Unlike most Solicitors firms we have always been happy to publish all our hourly charge rates on our website. We understand that potential clients need this information when shortlisting potential solicitors to act for them.

Fixed fees and hourly rates – you choose

Most work that we undertake is based upon our standard hourly rates.

We also recognise that some clients would like to have greater certainty over the charges for legal services. We are happy to offer fixed fee arrangements to meet this demand. We recognise that charges simply based upon hourly rates are not for everyone and that clients want budget predictability.

We are happy to offer a choice.

An outstanding service

We also offer our clients an outstanding service. This is not empty words. We offer our clients a Service Level Guarantee. We will tell you more about this when we meet you.

In order to provide an outstanding service, we have invested in technology which includes which allows us to offer a secure cloud where clients can access their case documents.

We have also adopted the Settify client engagement tool – which is available on our website. This assists both our clients and us to prepare for meetings – so that they are more productive.

You should also read our Fair Charging Policy

How our charge rates compare

When we last surveyed the charge rates of other law firms in Devon and Somerset in Summer 2017 we found that Partners with Solicitors firms in Exeter and Taunton to whom we would wish to be compared were between £250/£300 +VAT per hour. Our competitors rates will have risen since then.

We have one of the most experienced family law teams in the South West with all of David Howell-Richardson, Fiona Griffin, Kim Stradling and Sandy Powell being former partners and Heads of the family law teams at previous practices. With us they have chosen to focus on utilising their experience for providing advice and representation, without the distractions of management.

All of our lawyers who are more than 20 years qualified are charged at either £280 or £250 +VAT. Our lawyers who are 10 – 20 years qualified are charged at £230 +VAT per hour which is at the lower end of the going rate. There are a range of rates within our team.  If you are unsure about instructing us because our charge rates are not high enough – then we will happily charge more and donate the extra to an agreed charity.

There are family lawyers within the area who charge less, but they are less likely to be part of a specialist team of the size of our team; with the support our team has; or they may be less experienced or without the same accreditation’s.

Openness about charges

We are always upfront about charges. This is right from the very start. Our bills are always fully itemised.

We charge a fair price for our services. We are always happy to discuss charging/charges.

We are always happy to discuss any alternative costs estimates you may have received. Price should not be the most important factor when choosing a solicitor (expertise should be), but we recognise that it is a factor.

Our Charges

Here are our standard hourly rates and basic initial meeting charges:

Team member/Meeting Rates/Fees from: Notes
Ian Walker - Solicitor/Mediator/Arbitrator £280 plus VAT per hour Standard Hourly Rate (When acting as a mediator or arbitrator each client pays for one half of Ian's time in connection with the process)
Lauren Preedy - Senior Associate Solicitor £280 plus VAT per hour Standard Hourly Rate
Bridget Garrood - Consultant Solicitor £280 plus VAT per hour Standard Hourly Rate
Kris Seed - Senior Associate Chartered Legal Executive £250 plus VAT per hour Standard Hourly Rate
Sarah Hindle - Senior Associate Solicitor £250 plus VAT per hour Standard Hourly Rate
Sandy Powell - Associate Solicitor £250 plus VAT per hour Standard Hourly Rate
Kim Stradling - Consultant Solicitor £250 plus VAT per hour Standard Hourly Rate
David Howell-Richardson Consultant Solicitor £250 plus VAT per hour Standard Hourly Rate
Paul Jacobs - Accountant £250 plus VAT per hour Standard Hourly Rate
Fiona Griffin - Consultant Solicitor £230 plus VAT per hour Standard Hourly Rate
Nicole Phare - Consultant Solicitor £230 plus VAT per hour Standard Hourly Rate
Karen Elliott - Consultant Chartered Legal Executive £230 plus VAT per hour Standard Hourly Rate
Julie Cornwell Child Consultant £120 plus VAT per hour Standard Hourly Rate
Paralegal or Trainee Legal Executive £120 plus VAT per hour Standard Hourly Rate
Mediation Information and Assessment Meeting (MIAM) with Ian Walker or David Howell-Richardson From £180 plus VAT For a meeting of up to 1 hour The purpose of this meeting is to discuss your situation and to assess whether mediation may be a suitable way of resolving your dispute. In advance of the meeting you will be invited to complete the Settify client engagement tool. The Fee includes our signing the mediator section of a court application form if necessary.
Free Half Hour Free This is primarily an initial conversation between us (including in person, by phone and skype), so that you can assess whether you are confident in our ability to assist you and whether you are comfortable having us work for you. We will provide you with some broad information and guidance but no advice.
Initial Legal Meeting (one hour meeting including advice) From £200 plus VAT For a meeting of up to 1 hour This meeting is more substantial. In advance of the meeting you will be invited to complete the Settify client engagement tool and you may send to us relevant documents. This will enable us both to prepare, so that you get as much as possible from the meeting. We are able to give Legal Advice.
Pay-as-you-go Legal Advice Fixed Fee based on lawyer hourly rates Please ask for more details In advance of the meeting you will be invited to complete the Settify client engagement tool and you will need to send to us relevant documents. Our fees allow us to prepare for the meeting so that you get as much as possible from the meeting. We are able to give Legal Advice.
Legal Aid Available for children and family law and for family mediation Unless the case is brought by Social Services, Legal Aid is subject to a means test. Evidence of abuse may be needed in non mediation cases

We cannot give you advice without meeting you.

How do we keep our hourly charges competitive?

We can keep our charges so competitive because:

  • We keep our overheads as low as we can. (but we have invested in software and technology and in a top level family law library and legal practice support service).(For example we have partnered with legal software innovators Legl and SettIfy)
  • We have avoided basing our administrative hub in a city centre.
  • Our administrative hub based in a business centre in modern offices on the edge of Exeter (good parking, IT, super-fast broadband, good catchment: cheaper than city centre alternative) and we use our other offices purely for client meetings. This allows us to cover a wide area without the costs of a traditional branch network.
  • We keep our non legal team as lean as possible.
  • We have outsourced admin/support tasks where this saves us money. Our finance manager is a management accountant, who makes sure we keep a careful eye on that side of things.
  • We are a team, so can deal with work efficiently between us

In 2020 we were named the Modern Law Boutique Law Firm (11 + employees) 2020 at the prestigious Modern Law Awards 2020. (Judges included Simon Davis – President of the Law Society and Michael Napier QC (who was responsible for building Irwin Mitchell into a national firm). This recognises what we are trying to achieve as a modern legal practice.

Our growing family law team is now the largest in Exeter and surrounding areas. Our team is bigger than most Devon/Somerset/South West  family law solicitors and is one of the most experienced tam of family lawyers in the South West.

We use the same top level specialist family law library and legal practice support service that is used by many leading family law solicitors nationally.

But how we charge is not just about Charging rates. It’s also about avoiding unnecessary work. We are open and transparent about what we charge.

It is very easy for Legal Costs to spiral out of control.

Our philosophy

Our philosophy is to identify the overall outcome that you want to achieve. We will then assist you to achieve a realistic outcome that achieves as much of what you want as possible, but which does not lose sight of any relevant children.

We try to avoid futile side disputes and focus on the main issue.

We are committed to the use of Negotiation and Mediation and Collaborative Law where it be most effective. If going to Court is the best option, then our aim will be to progress the case to a Final Hearing as soon as possible.

Initial Meetings

If you are eligible for Legal Aid, then we will want you to be able to successfully apply for Legal Aid at our initial meeting. We are contracted with the Legal Aid Agency, both for Family Law and Family Mediation.

If you qualify for Legal Aid and provide us with the correct evidence, then initial meetings are Free.

If you are not eligible for Legal Aid, then we do make a modest charge for an initial one hour long meeting.

We will send to you our full terms and conditions, charging details and other important regulatory information before our first meeting, so that everything is clear, including how we will look after your data.

We have no hidden charges.