Our launch party on Friday 26th July 2013 was a great success. There was a good turn out from several solicitors, barristers and their clerks, mediators, Julia Upton (Chief Executive of MK Community Foundation), CAB staff, family members and even the odd client!
Leo spoke about the many members of her family who were (and are) also solicitors including her grandfather and father who ran a practice in Bletchley for 60 years until the late 80s. Her sister Esther Marchant also attended who is a Private Client Solicitor with Healds. Siobhan spoke about her background, having come from Aylesbury and worked for a leading law firm there. Also about our time with CAB and how we grew the Family Law Unit, and the amount of help and support they have given us to set up practice in Acorn House. She spoke of our aims and objectives as a firm specially to provide clients who no longer qualify for legal aid with a quality and cost-effective service.
We then had a video from Ben Thomas one of the Managers from CAB who spoke of our success with the Family Law Unit. He was particularly pleased that we had been able to set up our own practice, and that we are in a good position to continue supporting their clients as we are located just down the corridor!
Mary Banham-Hall, from Focus Mediation, then gave an illuminating talk about the difficulties many family practitioners are facing in the current climate. Specifically that rather than the legal aid cuts encouraging more clients to use mediation, it has had the opposite effect of increasing the number of court applications! She also felt that the message was not getting to the public that legal aid is still available for family mediation, and encouraged family law professionals to work in a more combined approach.