Month: January 2019

Heather’s brief is to help Merrick grow

Heather Waight has joined Merrick Solicitors as practice manager with a brief to help the company grow.

Heather, who has 15 years of experience in office management roles, is now responsible for areas as diverse as the law firm’s legal compliance, IT systems, recruitment procedures and staff welfare.

She took on the role after previously working for international executive searchers, a debt recovery agency, solicitors and civil engineers.

She was attracted to the role at Merrick by a belief she could help the business continue to evolve.

Evolving business

The Manchester-based company is renowned for its work in complex high net worth cases.

But principal Amanda Merrick is also keen to ensure it can help cover the gap left by the demise of legal aid for most divorce cases. In response, last year it launched #AccessUs, a high-quality, case-managed service to deliver advice where there is a case to answer and limited resources to meet it.

Heather said: “I like to feel that I’m helping a company to get to where it wants to go.

“I met Amanda and was sold on what she was trying to do. It’s very difficult not to be swept up by her enthusiasm and passion for the law.

“I’ve not been here very long but it already feels like more than just a workplace. You really, really want to do your best.”

Grow the team

Merrick has a clear strategy to grow its team and client base. It continues to look out for the best available talent in the world of family law.

While Heather gets to grips with ensuring internal office systems are slick and effective, she’s clear on why Merrick continues to attract new clients.

She added: “So many people come through recommendations. They’ve been advised that if they want good advice to get in touch with Merrick. Amanda is very upfront with everyone, she tells you what you need to know.”

Click here for more about Merrick’s service offerings



A new year but always focussed on clients

Last year marked the start of major changes for Merrick and in 2019 we’ll be doing more of what we believe it means to be a firm of family lawyers in today’s world.

The legal profession is undergoing a good deal of upheaval. From challenges to its long-established services, to the pace of technological change and the continued lack of availability of legal aid that means funding for clients is only infrequently available.

Our response to this has been rooted in both the traditional and a fresh perspective to ensure our service continues to add value.

First and foremost, we’re about helping people when they need it most; it’s why we exist. We call it #LawforGood.

Family is fundamental to our lives. Problems with our closest relationships can impact all areas of our lives from financial to social and everything in between.

It’s because no aspect of life is untouched by family issues that the expertise we can offer people is so important.

Out of reach

The withdrawal of legal aid for most cases has had a negative impact for many in failing relationships. Without that financial assistance, many believe qualified legal help will be too costly and out of their reach.

Because of this there’s been a large increase in people representing themselves to save on costs. This puts them at a distinct disadvantage when they find themselves dealing with all the complexities of the law.

Such is the concern of one judge that in October he used a documentary to highlight the difficulties faced.

His Honour Judge Stephen Wildblood QC, the most senior family court judge at Bristol Civil Justice Centre, spoke as part of a BBC investigation into the pressures on the family court system.  He stressed the challenges of litigants in person going into a courtroom full of barristers, experts and other professionals.

#AccessUs one of the initiatives we launched in 2018, is designed to help.

If there is a case to answer and limited resources to meet it – we believe people should still be able to access qualified legal support. After witnessing the eagerness with which it has been taken up, we hope to expand it so that the profession embraces this social enterprise in the same way.

By offering comprehensive support at a price to fit stretched finances we’re doing all we can to ensure people have access to the help they need at a crucial time in their life.

High net worth litigation

While we’re excited about #AccessUs, we’re also delighted that our reputation for dealing with complex and high net worth litigation continues to be recognised.

We were named Divorce Law Firm of the Year in England in the Global Law Expert (GLE) Awards 2018 for our client services.

And we’re grateful to all those who kindly recommend our services. Rest assured this will remain a strong focus for us in 2019.

We also believe in a holistic approach. Getting divorced or separated is one of the most stressful life events. It’s not uncommon for people to feel disoriented and a little lost.

Self-care such as eating healthily, exercising and getting enough rest can often be forgotten about in the pressure of the situation. We launched Merrick Life in recognition that sometimes people need more than family law advice.

A helping hand in lots of related areas such as health and well-being or adapting their role as a parent to fit new circumstances is all very much appreciated.

We’ve connected our readers to a lot of experts in the last year. We believe this is of benefit and we want to continue developing these relationships in 2019.

The feedback from both clients and our family of experts has been very encouraging. In 2019 we will build on this platform to ensure it helps those who reach out and connect with it. Watch this space.

2018 was the year we laid the foundations of our purpose and the vision that is #LawforGood.

In 2019 we will bring that vision and purpose to life.

Our thanks go to everyone who has been part of the journey so far; without you we wouldn’t be where we are now.

And to the team – #YouGotThis





Never a bad day to seek legal advice

The start of a new year is often a time for review and reassessment.

The break from the regular routine over the festive period gives many the time to ponder their life and their priorities. Spending long uninterrupted periods with family can unfortunately bring to the fore issues that remain hidden at other times of the year.

And some in failing relationships resolve to act.

As such, the first working Monday of the new year has become labelled ‘divorce day’ by the media. Many in the legal profession are keen to distance themselves from the negative connotations of this.

Our view is quite simple. If your relationship is in trouble, whether it’s the first day of a new year or the last day of the old one, there’s never a bad time to seek out professional legal advice.

Amanda Merrick said for an individual contemplating divorce or just wanting to know what their options might be – it is important they empower themselves with information and take legal advice as soon as possible.

She said many clients attend a first appointment having mistakenly pre-determined that separation will leave them homeless, financially adrift or never able to see their children.

In most cases none of these propositions bear any resemblance to what actually happens.

Primary concerns

Put simply – having enough money to live and the future of any children are primary concerns in most break ups.

Amanda said: “It can be worth considering some form of counselling. Or, if there is a specific issue, another dispute resolution service, such as mediation.

“Relate is, perhaps, the best-known provider of counselling services for couples. But the NHS offers a similar service if one – or both partners – has a mental health problem, such as depression, that is affecting the relationship.”

But Amanda also urges people to prepare themselves if the relationship is beyond this point.

She said: “It’s never easy trying to establish a co-parenting relationship whilst in the throes of a separation. But if you have children that’s what you must strive to achieve for their benefit as soon as possible.

“The family court has wide-ranging powers to deal with children issues, but it cannot resolve any emotional stuff between the two of you caused by the relationship breakdown. Try not to lose sight of the real objective – damage limitation for your children.

“Whatever forum you use to resolve any financial issues, a full and frank exchange of information is likely to be required going back at least 12 months.

“Draw up as soon as possible a list of everything you know about your other half’s financial circumstances. Also making a start on getting all your relevant paperwork together helps to ground you in the facts.

“This can be particularly helpful should emotions subsequently take over and cloud your recollections.”

Want to know more about how Merrick can help? Click here.