Family Law barrister Lisa joins pioneering law firm
Thursday 24 January 2008 6:44 AM
A ground-breaking 'virtual' law firm which gives clients easier access to top level legal advice has expanded into Bedfordshire.
Lisa Smith has moved from practising as a barrister in London Chambers to establish a home office in the village of Clophill, between Luton and Bedford, specialising in family law.
And thanks to the unique way Woolley & Co operates - from satellite offices dealing with clients over the phone and via email as much as possible - she is aiming to give people across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire greater access to services covering everything from pre-nuptial agreements to divorce and children matters.
"Working as a barrister can mean that you often come into a case fairly late on making it harder to have that connection with the client. They can find it difficult to fully trust a lawyer who has not been involved from the start," said Lisa, aged 37, who is married with a young family.
"I am very much a people person and wanted to get back to working closely with people and being with a case from the start. I also have young children so wanted a more flexible way of working and to cut down all the travelling that comes with the job.
"I am interested in using the law to solve people's family problems.
"Woolley & Co was a firm I had heard of because of the way they approach practising law. The service is built around the client, fitting in with their working hours, being available out of hours and using technology to ensure the process is speeded up.
"We are often dealing with very delicate issues and people can be embarrassed about going to see a solicitor. I think offering initial telephone consultations, email contact and transparent fixed fee packages puts people at ease from the start and allows them to remain at a distance until they feel comfortable with us.
"In the Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire area, people can think that to get top level advice they need to go into London, which is going to be expensive and can be daunting. Going to the local high street firm may mean they are not dealing with a specialist in family law. With Woolley & Co, people don't need to come to High Street offices. And the case is always dealt with by a senior level, family lawyer.
"In future, I think many more law practices will be working in this way. Woolley & Co is blazing the trail and I am delighted to be involved."
Lisa has been practising family law for more than 10 years. She also ran an online business while on maternity leave.
Woolley & Co was established by managing partner Andrew Woolley in Warwickshire in 1996. He left a traditional law firm to set up a new type of practice. It stripped away layers of administration and used emerging technology, notably the internet, to streamline dealings with clients. Documents can be emailed to save time and fixed-fee services can be bought directly from the award-winning website at www.family-lawfirm.co.uk
Last year it was given a BT-backed award for its innovative use of technology and is completing a second print run of its guidebook Surviving Family Conflict and Divorce, due to high demand.
Woolley & Co now has legal experts in Coventry, Nuneaton, Derby, Burton on Trent, Cirencester, Chippenham, Gloucester, Redditch, Northamptonshire, Dorset and Norfolk.