How many strings can you fit on a bow?

How many strings can you fit on a bow?

Language is a funny thing. The answer is of course one, but when you acquire a new skill, it is said that you have “added another string to your bow”. I had one of those moments today. I was already on the Law Society Children Panel and The Law Society Family Mediation Panel, as well as being a Resolution Family Law Accredited Specialist and a Resolution Collaborative Family Lawyer….and a Civil/Commercial Mediator accredited by the ADR Group.

Well today, I have joined ADR Net and their Civil & Commercial Mediation and the Family Mediation Panel and Hybrid Family Mediation Panels. I am not sure about another string to the bow; my bow is more of a guitar! I am not just “trying to blow my own trumpet” (I don’t have a trumpet), but drawing readers attention to the fact that I am both a civil and a family mediator. I think this is important to both areas of practice. Firstly, as a family mediator, I like to think that I am empathetic and attentive and have an easy style, which I use to try to put clients at ease; I like to think this makes me better able to mediate civil disputes, such as probate/inheritance disputes, Neighbour disputes and partnership disputes, which often revolve around relationships. I am used to emotion and distress, in a way that a mediator from, say a commercial law background probably isn’t. But secondly, the commercial mediation model is perhaps better able to deal with more complex divorce finance cases than the traditional model of family mediation.

Equally my skills as a Child Panel Solicitor and a Domestic Abuse specialist Solicitor , means that I am more attentive to abuse and potential abuse, than say a mediator who comes from a pure finance background or a non law background.

Throughout my career I have tried to build complimentary skills, and avoid becoming specialised to the point where you become one dimensional.

Hopefully I have the balance right. One way or another, I know most of the senior family Solicitors in Devon to a reasonable degree or more. I think, that I can say with reasonable certainty, that I really don’t think that anyone is a member of more panels or accreditation schemes than me! Depending on how you count them I am on between  4 and 7 ! I am very sure that there is nobody in more schemes in Honiton, East Devon and Exeter. If I am wrong, I will be happy to be corrected.

Does this make me a better lawyer? That is a complex question. Being a practitioner is not the same as being an academic. Yes there can be lots of law, but there are a lot of soft skills needed to be good at the job and a lot of managing processes. We bring our personalities in to what we do. Different lawyers will work better with different clients. What I can say, is that having more panels than most, gives evidence of a breath of skills and experience. If you need a Solicitor or a mediator, the best way to find out if I am the right one for you is to give me a call. I do offer a free half hour options meeting. What  matters most to me is helping clients to achieve reasonable outcomes, whether to their divorce, or contact or residence (access and custody) dispute or social services or domestic abuse case. More important to me than all of these panels and accreditation’s is that I am a dad and I like children and I believe that children are entitled to be able to enjoy their childhood and their relationships. Parents can get into a mess. I get most satisfaction, whether as a Solicitor or Mediator, is helping parents get out of those messes and to find solutions to problems which best meet the needs of their children.

How well do I succeed , well “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”!!


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