Resolution Accredited Specialists
On the bottom of my letterhead and on my publicity materials, and this website, is the logo saying that I am a Resolution Specialist. I am entitled to use this because of my membership of the Resolution Specialist Accreditation scheme. In fact, I was the first Solicitor in Exeter and East Devon to achieve the accreditation standard.
The other day looked through my box of cuttings and certificates and found a few things about (myself and) the Resolution Accredited Specialists scheme.
To start with, here is a press cutting from Exeter’s Express and Echo from Wednesday May 17, 2000. At that time I was working for Tozers (where I later became a partner). I am a little bit younger in the picture…
So there you go, I was the first family law specialist in Exeter to become a member of the accreditation scheme.
Resolution and the SFLA
At the time, Resolution was called the SFLA or Solicitors Family Law Association. The name was changed about 8/9 years ago because SFLA was, I suppose a bit of a mouthful. As a name Resolution emphasizes what good family practitioners are trying to achieve, but there is always something to be said for a descriptive name ( You can’t really get more descriptive than “Ian Walker Family Law and Mediation Solicitors”, but its not as snappy as … well, I couldn’t think of anything really snappy!)
A brief explanation of Resolution is below, which was taken from their website;
Resolution, which was formerly known as the Solicitors Family Law Association (SFLA), [was founded in 1982 and] is an organisation of 6,500 family lawyers and other professionals in England and Wales, who believe in a constructive, non-confrontational approach to family law matters. Resolution also campaigns for improvements to the family justice system.
Resolution supports the development of family lawyers through its national and regional training programmes, through publications and good practice guides and through its accreditation scheme. Resolution also trains and accredits mediators and is the only body providing training and support for collaborative lawyers in England and Wales.
Resolution is an excellent organisation, and I can see no reason why a Solicitor who practices Family Law should not be a member. In fact I would discourage anyone from instructing non members for family problems.
SFLA Accredited Specialists
Resolution publish a magazine for members called “the Review”. Below is the April 2000 edition with the then Director of Accreditation explaining that the standard required for membership of the new accreditation scheme was deliberately high. At the time, the Law Society had launched its initial Family Law Panel. The standard to gain membership was criticized by many for being too low. SFLA decided to have their own, harder scheme. The Law Society then responded with the Advanced Tier membership of the Family Law Panel, which is considered to be equivalent.
I am included on the final page of the list. I am the only entry in Exeter. A PDF of the full list is below. There are a few in Plymouth and a couple in Taunton and Yeovil, but I am the only one in Exeter and surrounding area.
The particular specialisms are not listed, but at that point, mine were Private Children Law (not Social Services cases; I was already a member of the Law Society Children Panel, which really is the Panel for Social Services cases) and Ancillary Relief I or “small money cases” (I remember writing letters complaining about the title!); Essentially financial cases for normal families (as opposed to “big money cases”; multi-millionaires; of which there are less in Devon, and everywhere else. I later swapped to Domestic Abuse specialism (I have always acted for victims of abuse) as that was important for a Legal Aid contract tender process(but that is a another long story). Suffice to say that Divorce is still very much part of what I do.
2000 is a long time ago, and since then quite a few (but less than you might think) have followed in my footsteps. In fact there are only 29 Accredited Specialists within a 15 mile radius of Exeter at the time of writing. I know them all. The Resolution scheme is a good scheme, and I can thoroughly recommend it.