How to Choose the Best Family Lawyer
G’day everyone. [It’s] Stephen Page from Page Provan Family and Fertility Lawyers.
You may wonder why I’m holding a bottle of milk. Well, of course it’s a prop, but the point of it is, how do you distinguish between one law firm and another? How do you distinguish between one lawyer and another?
And the reality is, well, milk comes in all different types, and we know that it can be turned into cheese. It can be turned into yoghurt, it can be turned into lovely cheese like Rochford, for example, and Bree. These are all specialty products. Why I say that is when you go and see a solicitor, who do you know you’re going to get? You might be just getting one of these, as opposed to what you really want, which is something that specialises in your area.
In our firm, Page Provan Family and Fertility Lawyers, both Bruce Provan and I are accredited family specialists, and I’ve just recently been told that I have been an accredited family law specialist for 25 years. And you’ll see on our website, a photo where I get an award for that or a certificate for that. Bruce hasn’t done it quite as long. He’s done it since 1999.
So certainly something not recent. And I’m very proud to say that we’ve recently hired Jitesh Billimoria as our special counsel. He’s been a Queensland Law Society accredited family law specialist since 2016. So for the last five years, so again, hasn’t just come into it. He’s certainly again, not like this standard bottle of milk.
This is our area of specialty, and you might go, “Well, what does it mean to be an accredited specialist? There mustn’t be anything in it. When you go to a lawyer who says they’re doing family law, they’re like any other lawyer. Does family law?” No, they’re not.
The first thing is, of course, to say that you specialise in an area when you don’t is a breach of Australia’s consumer laws to engage in misleading and deceptive conduct. And I know I’m talking technical, but let’s talk about what the process is to get accreditation. The first is that you must apply, so you just don’t get it on the back of a Wheatbix packet. You’ve got to apply to the Queensland Law Society, or if you’re in a state, the appropriate law society there to apply, you must have done at least five years, full-time practice or equivalent. And it must be at least 25% of your practice area.
Again, they don’t just hand it out. You’ve got to have referees, the referees get contacted to make sure that you’re suitable, and then they do a verification cheque of any complaints that have been made against you, to make sure that you are a fit and proper person to get there, to be an accredited specialist. Once you’ve cleared those hurdles, then the real fun starts. You must do an assignment. You cannot consult anyone else.
You must do it. It must be your own work, and you’ve got a very short time frame in which to submit the assignment. You must do an exam and on top of the exam, you then do a mock client interview. So they have someone who is an actor who says they’re your client, and you go through a scenario and you’ve got to give them advice and everything is recorded, and you must pass each and every one of those steps. If you fail one, you don’t get there.
It’s rigorous. About 70% of applicants don’t get there. 30% pass or thereabouts. So this is the commitment we have. We have a commitment to be different, to be specialised, to look after this particular field of family law, and we take it very seriously. Every lawyer in our firm is either a Queensland Law Society Accredited Family Law Specialist, or aspires to be. Thank you.