Heritage Park Family Law Ltd Info
Heritage Park Family Law Ltd - Barrister Chambers in Ampthill, Bedford: Review
Today we're going to highlight the firm Heritage Park Family Law Ltd. Since the explosion of the internet, we are now a good few decades away from people being forced to use the law firm on their local high street. This has allowed the number of specialist practices (which before could have been starved for clients, especially in rural areas) to balloon.
There are now specialists for Immigration, Motor Offences, and even really niche areas of law such as employer Regulatory Defence. Heritage Park are obviously specialising in Family Law. If their name wasn't enough of a giveaway, the first line of their website:
This sounds great. But if you've been looking around for family law legal services for a while today, you'll have already noticed that all firms (specialist or not) make great claims about themselves and their abilities. So what can you do to tell them apart?
First big difference is to determine whether the firm actually has some real experience, not just implied. In the statement above this firm states 'specialists in family law since 1994'. On the face of it this will make most people imagine a good 30 plus years of experience. However it should be noted that a date stated on a website is not always a clear indication. Some firms say 'established in 1881' but that doesn't mean a 150-year-old solicitor is sat behind a desk somewhere. You can get a 1-year-qualified solicitor from a 150-year-old law firm.
Luckily there are independent sources to check whether a firm has actual experienced, qualified staff. The most common port of call is The Law Society of England & Wales' website. It is a great resource providing a wealth of background information on any firm registered with them. Heritage Park is listed on the other source we recommend, the website of the Bar Standards Council for reasons we'll come to in a moment.
The bar standards council website doesn't provide nearly as much useful data as the Law Society, but it at least provides the information we're talking about here - which is the qualification dates of legal professionals. As you can see on the information page for this firm the main barrister, Lisa Smith, entered the profession in 1994. So on this occasion the person actually handling your case should have 30+ years of experience under their belt.
What's the difference between having a solicitor or barrister handle your case? Quite a big one actually. A solicitor may not be able to represent you in court while a barrister can. If your family law matter is unlikely to require an actual court action - then that doesn't matter. However if it does and you are with a solicitor that can't represent you in a court - that means they may have to hire a barrister to join the case and perform that function.
To Heritage Park's credit, they have asterix'ed this statement and put a clarification later on. Certainly a lot of firms will promise free initial discussions on their website. Whether any of these firms actually have a qualified, legal professional take your call is not always stated. Make sure to get some clarity about who you are talking to no matter which firm you contact. Some may offer a free 15 minute consultation with the person who might handle your case. Some charge a fee for this service.
The firm have provided a Frequently Asked Questions section on their site for you to get familiar with the basics before calling and have a jargon sheet covering the main terms you will hear too.
This is much rarer than you might think. In these days of options and everyone wanting things instantly on their own schedule - it may seem odd to hear that many law firms have not changed their opening hours at all. In fact, we would say the majority we know of still work 9am-5pm Mon-Fri. So when you see Heritage Park offering out of hours appointments - that is something helpful other firms may not be offering. It's odd to imagine opening hours being a selling point, but when it comes to the worry of a court case - access to your legal team does become a consideration.
The main source people turn to when investigating any new firm is of course the public review boards such as Google, Facebook, Trustpilot and so on. While many firms have testimonials on their website, the comments on independent forums usually have more impact:
"enormously patient throughout a long and difficult divorce process"
"went above and beyond to deliver our requirements"
"professional, affordable and showed compassion for our situation"
These are some snippets from various online sources. As you can see the majority are positive. When it comes to online reviews though there are two things you need to remember. For law firms there may be far less reviews than you expect. Many amazing firms with a long histories have only a handful or even zero reviews. That should not be held against them as it's simply people are not as keen to discuss their private lives compared to a pizza or toy store.
Also, be aware that Google has changed how you search for business displays and reviews. You sometimes need to search for the firm name and city they are in to see that information pop up - e.g. 'heritage park family law bedford'. On that subject of navigation, note that the firm's official website is the full name www.heritageparkfamilylaw.com and currently the .co.uk version redirects you there. But variants such as www.heritagepark.co.uk and others all seem to be owned by other firms. It's very important to keep aware of where you are on the web.
General Notes: Usually if Legal Aid is possible we've mentioned it above, but you can always ask. We haven't looked in depth at their recruitment program so are unaware of any job vacancies available. For a career with Heritage Park Family Law Ltd it's best to visit the website (www.heritageparkfamilylaw.com), check opening hours, and find the correct phone/email contact details. Simply emailing a CV to reception looks lazy. Each law firm's Law Society and/or SRA number should be on their site, usually at the bottom of each page.
This Heritage Park Family Law Ltd article is rated
4.5 / 5 based on 30 reviews. †
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