What will happen at my initial appointment?

The initial appointment is the place for you to explain what you think your legal problem is and what your desired outcome is (and for us to give you options and preliminary advice).

What if I think negotiation will satisfactorily resolve my matter without going to court?
  • Our experience is that more than half of all Family Law matters resolve by negotiation without having to issue Court proceedings.
  • If we can resolve a case on terms that are satisfactory to our client then we will endeavour to do so, whether it is before or during Court proceedings.
  • We are certainly not a ‘litigate at all or any cost’ Firm but we believe that at the end of the day, historically, Courts were set up to determine unreconciled disputes between parties that could not be negotiated.
  • We make assessments early in the piece, which we review in consultation with you from time to time as the matter unfolds, as to whether negotiation, mediation, conciliation or Court proceedings are the most effective (including cost effective) way to proceed.
I am unhappy with my present lawyer, what can I do?
  • You have the right to change Lawyers at any time.  Speak to us and then you can make a decision as to whether you ought to change Lawyers.  We can facilitate the transfer of the file to us providing that your fees have been paid to the other Lawyer or arrangements made for them to get paid.
  • We generally don’t provide second opinions where you have an existing Lawyer.  The reason for this is that many matters are complicated and it is risky for you for us to venture a second opinion in circumstances where we do not have all of the information and documents available to us.  Ill-considered advice is probably more dangerous than no advice at all.
What do I bring to the initial appointment?
  • Don’t bring a huge bundle of papers to the first interview – it is usually sufficient to bring a one page summary of all of your and your spouse’s assets and liabilities, including ownership details, with your best estimate of values and a relatively recent printout of your and, if possible, your spouse’s superannuation entitlements.
  • We can then tell you what specific further documents are required which will save having to read a whole lot of documents that may be of no, or marginal, relevance in the early stages of the matter.
Does the firm practise in all areas of law?
  • David Burrell & Co is a niche Firm practising only in Family Law matters involving issues to do with financial matters or children’s matters arising out of marital and defacto, including same sex, relationships.
  • We have, however, excellent contacts in all fields of law and we are happy to refer you to established speciality Firms for other legal matters.
How can I reduce what I spend on legal fees?
  • Lawyers essentially charge for their time and tasks including meetings, telephone calls, Court appearances, reading and preparing letters and documents.  The less we have to do, the less you will be charged.
  • The rider to that simple statement is qualified by what you do needs to be done with our guidance.  The client who provides bundles of documents not required (e.g.  Lands Titles Office or Company searches that are wrong or incomplete or lengthy notes on topics or issues that are unhelpful) will almost certainly run up higher than usual costs.
  • Never think that a quote of a low hourly fee necessarily results in a lower bill.  A lawyer who is a competent and experienced specialist, who may charge a higher hourly rate, is more likely to be quick and economical and to have come across and dealt with unusual or complex Family Law issues before and less likely to have to research the law on ordinary matters and less likely to need to engage Counsel (Barristers) for advice or to settle documents.
  • We provide our clients with a number of client fact sheets designed to help reduce costs.