Category: Merrick News

Student Maisy Buchanan spent the week on work experience with us and wrote this fabulous review. Thanks Maisy and good luck with your studying.

In June, I spent the week at Merrick Solicitors as part of my Year 12 work experience. I thoroughly enjoyed it and on a personal level was introduced to many great people who made me want to pursue my ambition with law even further.

The experience has really opened my eyes to the hard work and determination that is paired with being a lawyer;  furthering my knowledge about law but also pushing me to pursue my dreams of becoming part of the Bar.

Throughout my experience, I learned about client/solicitor relationships involving confidentiality and discovered the legal challenges for those who are pursuing a divorce, whether it involves children or finances. By familiarising myself with case progression in Family Law, I have managed to grasp and understand key terminology and abbreviations.


My understanding was aided by the helpful solicitors at Merrick, who were always up for answering and explaining any issues or questions I could not quite comprehend, and also helping with my educational studies. Keira supplied great answers for my EPQ which I’m currently completing on capital punishment.

Overall, I not only received a vast amount of knowledge on Family Law, which I hope to carry on with me to university next year, but also an understanding of the way in which a well organised and welcoming law firm runs and what it feels like to work in this perfect environment.

I have really enjoyed my time and the positive attributes I have received and can only thank those who have made my week of work experience one which I will remember. I have gained so much and it has solidified my ambition of joining the bar or even being involved in law in another role.

Thank you all so much and especially to Amanda and Heather who allowed me to shadow their work and I look forward to the possibility of working alongside them in the future.

Maisy Buchanan

Merrick helpline staying open during cost of living crisis

Since early in the pandemic, Merrick has run a free helpline offering legal advice on divorce, domestic abuse, separation, children and other relationship issues.

While, thankfully, many aspects of daily life now look a lot more normal, the pressure on families has unfortunately not gone away.

The threat of Covid-19 may have lessened. However, the current cost of living crisis is another major concern that is impacting families across the UK.

Few are immune from the stress that soaring inflation, energy and food prices are causing. Those pressures can impact on relationships as well, placing a further strain on couples.

That’s why we’ve decided to keep our helpline open. We want to ensure we’re able to offer a helping hand to those that need it. We’re available on freephone 0800 285 1413 seven days a week, 8am to 8pm.

As well as offering initial legal advice, we can often signpost to other ways of getting support.

We’ve also put together this list of just some of the places you can get help online with financial issues.

Online help

Debt charity Step Change has useful advice on its web pages and also handy links to the range of government support that has been made available. Through the same page, visitors can access Step Change’s free debt advice either through online tools or by talking to an advisor.

If you’re in debt to your energy supplier, you might be able to get a grant to help pay it off. The Citizens Advice site has a list of energy suppliers offering grants to their customers:

One of the most passionate advocates for the Government to do more to help out families struggling to meet their rising costs, is TV Money Saving Expert Martin Lewis.

As you might expect, his website includes a myriad of good advice from how to check whether you’re actually receiving all the benefits to which you are entitled to saving money by using your microwave rather than your oven.

Tried everything on his list? Then sign up for his weekly email which delivers fresh advice on ways to save.

Single parents 

Single parent charity Gingerbread points out that while coupled parents can share the financial burden of parenting, single parents do not have the same flexibility.

As a result, many single parents are taking on multiple jobs to make ends meet. Evidence shows that, due to childcare costs, working more hours often actually increases the risk of falling into problem debt.

Gingerbread has lots of user-friendly advice on all sorts of issues affecting single parents. This includes stretching the family budget and ensuring you are getting the necessary support.

Financial strain leaves many feeling anxious and fearful – and that can put pressure on relationships.

We often tiptoe around conversations to do with money and what support people can seek when they need it. Relate, the relationship people, have some suggestions on how to open up what may be a difficult conversation with family or friends about your finances.

Relate’s advice is to ‘feel proud of yourself for even thinking about having a conversation with others in your life. It’s a big step’.


→ We previously published this list of helplines.




Solicitor Molly back with the team at Merrick

Solicitor Molly Souter has returned to Merrick – the firm where she first got a taste for family law.

Molly re-joined the team late last year and is enjoying using the experience she has gained to help clients make a fresh start.

Molly said: “What I have always liked about Merrick is they do things differently. We have that personal touch; it’s more than just having a call with a client and advising them.

“We’ll find out how they are. I like the caring side of it, making sure they are OK emotionally. The easier we can make it, the better for the client.”

Merrick solicitor Molly Souter

Molly was on placement with Merrick in 2016 after graduation, she then went on to study her LPC (Legal Practice Course), completed her training and gained experience elsewhere in the North West.

Molly said: “I always preferred the personal side rather than corporate or commercial law

“When I came to Merrick, I realised just how much impact divorce has on people. Because it’s such a real problem in people’s lives and ends up happening to a lot of families, it’s always an ongoing issue.”

Unique service offers

The Merrick team is continuing to roll out its unique offer of three service levels – Prestige, Benchmark and AccessUs.

Molly said this was another point of difference to many other firms.

She said: “We provide different service levels based on a client’s financial circumstances. Access Us is like a Legal Aid rate (which isn’t available for most cases of divorce) and enables us to help people where money is tight.

“That’s not something I’ve seen other firms do. We are also much more engaged with things like lifestyle and life after a divorce with our well-being and advice platform, Merrick Life. It’s looking to help the person through it all.

“That’s what appeals, and what makes Merrick stand out for me.

“For some clients we are the only people they can talk to. They do feel very isolated, and we become one of the few people they can trust. This includes seeking advice on life post-separation and Merrick is very well-placed to help clients in this way, too.”

Principal Amanda Merrick said: “We’re delighted that Molly is back and a fully-fledged member of the Merrick team.

“She is making a real difference in helping our clients. Molly understands what an impact divorce has on all aspects of people’s lives and is very keen to use her knowledge and training to do her best for every client.”

→ Meet more of the Merrick team.




Award shortlisting for innovative Heather

We’re delighted that Merrick’s Practice Manager has been recognised for her innovation in helping clients.

Heather Waight has been shortlisted in the inaugural Innovation Awards run by legal software supplier Zylpha.

The awards acknowledge the legal practices and lawyers that have used Zylpha’s digital document bundling software most extensively and creatively within their practices, often transforming previously unwieldy manual document bundles.

Heather oversaw the introduction to the digital system during the first lockdown. She has been shortlisted in the Outstanding Individual Achievement category.

The production of court compliant document bundles is an important part of our case management. Most hearings and conferences are still being conducted remotely.

Working this way helps the environment by reducing stationery, photocopying, paper file storage and courier costs.

The category winners, who will be announced in January, will each receive an award.

Well done, Heather!

As we head towards the Christmas and New Year break we want to remind anyone who needs it that our free helpline remains open.

With Covid infection levels once again on the rise and many people concerned about limiting personal contact with others, our helpline is available for those who need legal advice on divorce, separation, children and other relationship issues, including domestic abuse.

The helpline – 0800 285 1413 –  is open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm to give you access to the expertise and support of our team.

Merrick march on for charity fund-raiser

Team Merrick powered their way through the 10-km Manchester Legal Walk to raise more than £440 for vital advice services.

The event was organised by the North West Legal Support Trust (NWLST). This grant-making charity raises and distributes funds to support free legal advice services and access to justice across Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire and Greater Manchester.

The charities backed by the NWLST help to support the poorest, most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of society. They provide free legal help to people facing problems such as homelessness, debt, employment, family issues, mental health problems, discrimination and injustice and they desperately need funds to support their work.

The need for free legal advice centres has grown in the past few years. The recession, and more recently the impact of Covid-19, has increased poverty and reduced support services. Meanwhile, funding for the advice centres themselves has reduced.

Access to justice has always been an important issue to Merrick’s Principal, Amanda, who was therefore keen to get her team involved in the walk. Whilst talking with two first year Manchester University law students during the Oxford Road part of the walk, Amanda said ‘everyone should be entitled to legal advice – that’s why we’re doing this’.

Amanda was joined on the walk by Merrick’s Mollie O’Connor and Keira Hand (plus Amanda’s partner, Dave, and four-legged supporter, Barney).

Mollie took on the main role of organising Merrick’s involvement in the walk and particularly enjoyed exploring the city. Mollie is a keen walker in her spare time. She couldn’t turn down the opportunity to raise some money for a good cause whilst doing something she loves.

We’re still fund-raising

Keira enjoyed the gathering at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce at the end, not only for the celebratory red wine but also for the socialising and networking, particularly with students.

“It’s really not that long ago that I went to these events as a student to seek advice from qualified lawyers,” said Keira. “It felt good to have the tables turned and to be able to give something back.”

The walk began at the Manchester Civil Justice Centre and took participants past Castlefield, Manchester University, Chinatown and Canal Street (to name a few). After completing the walk, Team Merrick celebrated with complementary drinks courtesy of the University of Law.

Merrick would like to thank their sponsors who helped to secure vital funds for this important cause.

There’s still time to get our contribution over the £500 mark – and assist more people!


Stepping out for vital legal services

We are taking part in The Manchester Legal Walk, a sponsored 10k around the city to raise money for local advice services.

It’s an annual event – sadly ruled out by Covid last year – that raises funds to ensure people most in need get legal help they might otherwise be denied.

Advice agencies do a fantastic job. They prevent homelessness, resolve debt problems, gain care for the elderly and disabled and fight exploitation for some of the most vulnerable in our society.

The need for free legal advice has grown in recent years so we’d really appreciate any donations to help us support a really worthwhile cause.

The event is organised by the North West Legal Support Trust, which covers a wide area that includes Cumbria, Lancashire, Merseyside, Cheshire and Greater Manchester.

We’ll be stepping out on Wednesday September 29 – wish us luck!

Anyone who wants to help can donate here:

Are you a family lawyer with 12 years plus pqe? Then we have a tremendous opportunity for you to join our innovative family law practice based in Manchester.

Handling often complex HNW cases you will require a strong family law background and an ability to apply legal principles to a client’s circumstances both sensitively and commercially.

Detailed experience of divorce, financial remedies and pre and post family agreements are essential whilst a practical understanding of trusts and Children Act work would be beneficial.

The business is focussed, and hardworking and our team are all passionate about family law. At the same time the culture is relaxed, collegiate and supportive.

It all adds up to a great working environment, culture and quality of work. There’s a competitive salary for the right person.


Please apply in strictest confidence with a CV and covering letter to