Breach-of-Contract Lawsuit Against Global Payments

Global Payments Inc. may be on the hook for more than $135 million following a jury verdict in a breach-of-contract lawsuit filed by an independent sales organization against the Atlanta-based processor.

A jury in the Superior Court of DeKalb County in Georgia found that Global Payments breached parts of its merchant-service agreement with Frontline Processing Corp., a Bozeman, Mont.-based ISO. The jury on Sept. 23 awarded the ISO more than $24 million in direct damages and $109.8 million in consequential damages. It also awarded Frontline more than $1 million to cover its costs and attorney fees. Judge Linda W. Hunter signed the judgment Sept. 30.

Global Payments intends to appeal the decision. “We believe this case is completely without merit and will appeal it immediately,” says a statement from the processor to Digital Transactions News. “The outcome is inconsistent with the facts and well-settled law, and we fully expect to prevail on appeal. We will not stop until this gross miscarriage of justice is reversed.”

Frontline filed the suit in 2015 after Global Payments withheld funds to cover its legal costs in a lawsuit the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau brought against the processor and two ISOs, Frontline and Pathfinder Payment Solutions Inc., for allegedly providing payment services to malicious merchants. That case was dismissed in 2017.

Pathfinder was dismissed by the DeKalb County court as a plaintiff in 2018 when it could not provide an attorney to represent it, says Joe Gleason, Frontline co-counsel and partner at Atlanta-based Gleason Law LLC.

The dispute between Frontline and Global Payments actually preceded the CFPB action, Gleason tells Digital Transactions News. In 2013, Frontline and Global Payments were negotiating to extend their contract, but Global Payments wanted to add terms that Frontline was not willing to agree to, Gleason says.

In 2014, after shopping around, Frontline agreed to a similar deal with First Data Corp. and told Global Payments it would stay if it could match First Data’s pricing. “Global did not match the pricing,” Gleason says.

Under Frontline’s agreement with Global Payments, merchants that Frontline refers to the processor are portable. Global Payments would not allow that, Gleason says, making it one of the breach claims.

“Then the CFPB case comes along and becomes a convenient excuse to destroy Frontline by withholding Frontline’s funds, by withholding merchant-reserve funds, by locking Frontline out of Global’s computer systems,” Gleason says. That effectively cut Frontline out of the picture, he says, placing Global in direct dealings with the referred merchants, another breach allegation.

“In our view, the breach-of-contract cases did not start with the CFPB lawsuit,” Gleason says. “Instead, it was just one more step.”

Frontline contended that neither the merchant-services agreement nor referral agreement the ISOs had with Global Payments allowed the processor to “deduct as expense or withhold from compensation owed to Pathfinder or Frontline Global’s legal fees incurred in defending itself in the CFPB action.”

Counsel fee not fixed for claim which left protocol

Counsel fees for a case which dropped out of the pre-action protocol do not need to be fixed, a senior costs judge has ruled.

Master Brown, sitting in the High Court (Senior Courts Costs Office), rejected an appeal from the defendant in Dover v Finsbury Food Group Plc to restrict costs to the fixed £150, instead upholding a decision of a costs officer to award £500. He held that the relevant provisions permitted recovery of counsel’s fee for advising in conference as a disbursement.

The personal injury claim was started under the pre-action protocol for low-value personal injury, but settled for £70,000 after leaving the portal.

In their points of dispute, the defendant disputed any entitlement to payment of counsel’s fee, contending that no such fee was payable under the relevant provisions in a claim which exited the protocol. It was submitted the costs were deemed to be included within the fixed fees.

Master Brown cited Qader, where Lord Justice Briggs (as he then was) described the protocol as providing an efficient modern framework for resolving modest PI claims, but not designed for resolving large claims or complex disputes. The judge in Qader ruled that PI cases that leave the portal and continue on the multi-track were not subject to fixed costs.

The defendants argued in Dover that the detail of Civil Procedure Rules did not permit recovery of specialist or counsel advice if incurred after a claim has exited the protocol. Master Brown said this reading of the provisions was ‘strained’ and there was no such restriction.

The judge said it was clear the government, when it adopted the rules, was concerned that without the provision of such costs, claims would be under-settled. Hence, specialist and independent advice (if reasonably required) would be payable by, in effect, a ring-fenced payment in the form of a disbursement.

He added: ‘In cases which exit the protocols on the grounds that the value exceeds £25,000, it is difficult to see, given the likely added complexity associated with them that it must have been intended that costs of any independent advice required would be so limited.’ The defendant’s appeal was dismissed.

Penn Law Launch New Project on the Future of the Legal Profession

The University of Pennsylvania Law School’s new Future of the Profession Initiative aims to position students and alumni for the legal profession of the future, while also helping improve access to justice.

Can a law school, with the help of alumni attorneys and entrepreneurs, figure out how best to train the next generation of lawyers and improve the profession as a whole?

The University of Pennsylvania Law School is banking that it can. The Philadelphia school has launched what it calls the Future of the Profession Initiative, which aims to pursue innovations not only in how new lawyers are produced, but how law is practiced and who it helps. Unveiled Tuesday, the initiative is debuting with a slate of programs that include an executive education academy for alumni who are five years out of school, a podcast centered on the changing profession, an innovation competition and a symposium in February that will bring leaders from across the profession together to discuss the future of law.

“Change in the legal field is accelerating as technology evolves, new entrants join the industry, the practice of law becomes more globalized, regulatory frameworks governing lawyers shift, and attorneys approach their careers differently,” said Penn Law Dean Ted Ruger in an announcement of the initiative. “As a result, law school applicants, students and graduates are thinking in new ways about how they imagine their careers, underscoring the need for a solution that promotes innovation, thought leadership, and enhanced interdisciplinary education and engagement.”

Defining the mission and scope of the initiative is an ongoing challenge for its founders, which includes Jennifer Leonard, the law school’s chief innovation officer and the initiative’s executive director. That’s due in part to the fact that the initiative is a work in progress and its focus and programming will change over time. Some of its projects will prove successful, while some will fail—a reality that its leaders say they are comfortable with. But at its core, the initiative is intended to bring all of the law school’s innovation efforts under one umbrella, tap into the university’s larger innovation resources, and identify ways to help Penn Law students and alumni develop professionally throughout their entire career.

But the initiative has larger, profession-wide goals as well, namely improving access to justice through innovation. The focus isn’t solely on technology, which helps differentiate Penn’s program from some existing innovation centers at other law schools.

“This is designed to set us up for the next 50 years of the changes that we’ll see in the future,” Leonard said in an interview Monday. “That’s why we named it what we did: We want it to be broad enough to be nimble and adapt because certainly the changes we see today will be different from the changes we’ll see five, 10, and 15 years from now. This initiative will be structured in a way that allows us to adapt to those changing conditions.”

The initiative will kick off with a number of defined projects, which will be added to and subtracted from depending on their levels of success, Leonard said. Among them is the Five-Year-Out-Academy, in which Penn alumni who graduated five years ago can return to campus for a free week of executive education, including instruction on legal project management, negotiation skills, well-being for lawyers, law firm finance, cross-cultural competency, leading teams, strategic decision-making and client-centered design.

The school will also host a symposium in February with a broad range of legal thought leaders to discuss the future of the legal profession and create an upper-level interdisciplinary seminar course called “Innovation in Legal Services: Design Thinking to Optimize Client Service.” And the new Dean’s Innovation Competition will offer awards to entrants who identify new ways to deliver client services and close the access to justice gap.

The initiative and the first wave of projects were conceived with the help of an advisory board drawn from Penn Law alumni with a broad array of legal experience. They include Legal Services Corp. president Jim Sandman; Pro Bono Net’s Claudia Johnson; and Burford Capital managing director David Perla.

Perla said he wanted to be involved immediately, in part because the school’s reputation for fostering entrepreneurship for the greater good means the initiative already has many campus resources to draw upon. And the makeup of the advisory board ensures that many different perspectives are represented, he said.

“They picked people who did all sorts of different things with their degrees, most of whom no longer practice law,” he said. ““In some ways, we’re asking, ‘Can we make law better?’ And that’s really exciting to everyone.”

Legal aid as important for economy as hospitals and school

Increasing access to justice can be a ‘win-win’ for businesses, IBA-World Bank report claims

Improving legal aid services is as important for economic growth as providing functioning hospitals, schools and roads, the International Bar Association (IBA) and World Bank claim.

The jointly produced report, A Tool for Justice: A Cost Benefit Analysis of Legal Aid, looked at more than 50 cost and benefit studies of legal aid programmes and found that increased access to justice can be a “win-win” for businesses, the economy and society at large.

The report, launched this week at the IBA conference in Seoul, South Korea, argues that failing to provide adequate legal aid does not save money, but simply shifts the financial burden to other areas of government spending such as healthcare, housing, child protection and imprisonment.

For example, the report cites a study in Canada which estimated the costs of unequal access to justice on public spending in other areas (employment insurance, social assistance and healthcare) to be roughly 2.35 times more than the annual direct service expenditures on legal aid.

The latest comments from across Legal Cheek

“Unaddressed legal needs affect individuals, their families, the justice system, the economy and society as a whole,” commented Lucy Scott-Moncrieff, a member of the IBA Access to Justice and Legal Aid Committee. “As a profession we must continue to champion legal aid programmes and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to access justice.”

The report further claims that around 5.1 billion people — roughly two-thirds of the world’s population — lack “meaningful” access to justice, the result of which can lead to people becoming trapped in “vicious cycles of poverty, inequality and marginalisation”.

Georgia Harley, senior governance specialist at the World Bank, added: “Legal aid is undeniably good economics. Strengthening legal aid and related services increases access to justice and ensures that the rule of law is upheld. Most importantly, improving legal aid programmes saves government money and strengthens the economy in the long term.”

The report’s release follows the Labour Party’s pledge to provide free legal training for 200 lawyers specialising in areas such as benefits, debt, housing, employment and immigration.

By on

2020 Global Awards – Trophy Example

2020 Global Awards – Example Profile Page

Unusual to hire “junior junior” barristers to help with big cases?

Rookie Richard Howell once worked for Dominic Cummings on the Vote Leave campaign

One of the lawyers defending Boris Johnson in last month’s landmark Supreme Court case on the prorogation of parliament was only just finishing off his barrister qualifications at the time.

Richard Howell, who officially joined Brick Court Chambers last month after completing pupillage, was part of the government’s legal team alongside Sir Eadie QC and two heavy-hitting juniors. He had previously played a key role in the successful Vote Leave campaign to leave the EU, working closely with Johnson’s top advisor Dominic Cummings.

Former government lawyer Carl Gardner said that instructing a newly qualified barrister in such a high profile case was “surprising” and raised questions for the Attorney General’s office.

But the Attorney General’s spokesperson said that it was not unusual to hire “junior junior” barristers to help with big cases.

Howell, who was called to the bar in 2018, is listed in both the High Court and Supreme Court judgments in the prorogation case as one of four government counsel. The others were Sir James Eadie QC, David Blundell and Christopher Knight.

Eadie is First Treasury Counsel and handles the government’s most complex and sensitive cases, while Blundell and Knight are both on the Attorney General’s panel of preferred lawyers for government work.

The government can instruct “junior juniors” to do low-grade work without needing to recruit from the preferred panel. The Attorney General’s office told Legal Cheek that there was nothing particularly unusual about retaining a junior junior, but confirmed that the Attorney General had personally signed off the legal team.

Although new to the bar, Howell (pictured below) boasts an impressive CV. He graduated from Oxford with a first in history in 2014, took a distinction in the GDL in 2015 and an outstanding BPTC grade in 2018. In between, he worked as a researcher for the Vote Leave campaign and was said by insiders to be the brains of its research operation.

Patrick O’Connor QC had told The Lawyer “on what I have been told, the process of this appointment to the Prime Minister’s counsel team, in such a sensitive case, is surprising, and calls for explanation”.

Gardner told Legal Cheek “I think people are right to be asking questions about this, and that the Attorney’s office should answer them”.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s Office said: “As with any case of this magnitude, the Attorney General agreed the composition of the counsel team for Miller v The Prime Minister. As a junior junior, Richard Howell was supervised by First Treasury Counsel Sir James Eadie QC and other more senior members of the counsel team, David Blundell and Chris Knight”.

The Brick Court website says that “before coming to the bar, Richard worked for a year in politics, providing policy advice and assistance to cabinet ministers, MPs and peers”.

This is a modest description of what many say was a key role in the Vote Leave campaign.

Howell is described in the book All Out War, a well-reviewed account of the EU referendum campaign, as a “whizzkid” researcher nicknamed “Ricardo” by Dominic Cummings and other Vote Leave figures.

According to the book, Howell drafted part of Vote Leave’s application to be designated as the official Leave campaign by the Electoral Commission. Howell reportedly spotted a glaring error in the application form the night before submission — which might otherwise have allowed the Nigel Farage-backed Leave.EU group to become the official face of Leave.

Last year, Dominic Cummings mentioned Howell on his blog as one of Vote Leave’s key figures.

Howell officially joined Brick Court in “September 2019”, and was reportedly still completing his pupillage when instructed in the prorogation case. His practising certificate dates from 23 September 2019, according to the barristers’ regulator — one day before the Supreme Court handed down its judgment.

Brick Court Chambers has been approached for comment.

Clyde & Co Revenue Tops £600M

Clyde & Co’s revenue has jumped 11% to exceed £600m for the first time.

What’s A Lawyer Now? Law’s Shift From Practice To Skill

During a recent visit to the National University of Singapore Law School (NUS), I asked a first-year student what being a lawyer meant to him. His response was thoughtful and prescient: “I regard law as a skill. I plan to leverage my legal training and meld it with my passion for business, technology, and policy. For me, law is not about practice.” Out of the mouths of babes!

Why The Practice/Skill Distinction Matters

The distinction between practicing law and engaging in the delivery of legal services—the business of law–is critically important to a wide range of existing and prospective legal industry stakeholders. That list includes: those contemplating a legal career (not necessarily licensure); law students; the legal Academy; allied professional programs (e.g. business, engineering, computer science); practicing lawyers; legal providers; legal consumers; and the broader society.

Why does this distinction matter? Because law—like so many industries—is undergoing a tectonic shift. It is morphing from a lawyer dominated, practice-centric, labor-intensive guild to a tech-enabled, process and data-driven, multi-disciplinary global industry. The career paths, skills, and expectations of lawyers are changing. So too are how, when, and on what financial terms they are engaged; with whom and from what delivery models they work; their performance metrics, and the resources—human and machine—they collaborate with.  Legal practice is shrinking and the business of delivering legal services is expanding rapidly.

Law is no longer the exclusive province of lawyers. Legal knowledge is not the sole element of legal delivery—business and technological competencies are equally important. It’s a new ballgame—one that most lawyers are unprepared for. Law schools continue to focus on doctrinal law even as traditional practice positions are harder to come by—especially for newly-minted grads.

Law firms have yet to materially change  hiring criteria or to accord equal status and compensation to allied legal professionals. Several large firms have recently announced the launch of ancillary business of law offerings. That requires different workforces, processes, technology platforms, reward systems, organizational structures, capital and capabilities from traditional law firms. It also requires client-centricity and an alignment with business that is generally lacking among law firms.  Translation: it’s easier announced than delivered, especially when the law companies are led by law firm partners whose careers have been forged in different structural and economic models.

Lawyers in the early and middle-stages of their careers are caught in the shifting currents of law’s transformation. Legal knowledge is becoming a skill to be leveraged with new competencies. It is no longer, by itself, sufficient to forge a successful legal career. Most mid-career lawyers  tend to be resistant to change even as the necessity to do so becomes more acute by the day. Older lawyers are riding out the change storm and banking they will make it until retirement.

How did we get here and are legal careers  for most a dead end? Spoiler alert: there’s tremendous opportunity in the legal industry. The caveat: all lawyers must have basic business and technological competency whether they pursue practice careers or leverage their legal knowledge as a skill in legal delivery and/or allied professional careers.

Legal Practice: Back To Basics

What is legal practice? It is rendering service to clients competently,  zealously and within legal and ethical boundaries. Lawyers make this compact not only with clients that retain them but also with society for whom they serve as the ultimate defenders of the rule of law. There are three main elements of practice; legal expertise, judgment, and persuasion. Practicing attorneys are in the persuasion business whether they engage in trials or transactions. Persuasion has several elements: emotional intelligence, credibility, command of the legal craft, and earning trust—of  the client, opposing counsel, and the trier of fact in contested matters.

Legal practice was the presumptive career path of most lawyers for generations.  As law firms grew—especially from the 1970’s-the global financial crisis of 2007–fewer lawyers had direct client interaction. Client skills eroded, and the legal zeitgeist turned inward. The attorney’s supervisor(s) became the client proxy. Most lawyers were unaware of the clients’ objectives, risk tolerance, and business challenges. Legal practice, especially for younger lawyers, often involved tedious, repetitious, high-volume/low-value work. Many lawyers became bored, disillusioned, and unaware of what legal practice means from the client perspective.

Generations of lawyers—especially those in large law firms—were high-priced, well-paid cogs in the law firm wheel. Their principal mission was to satisfy billing and realization goals in pursuit of the partnership gold ring. It was not for them to question the materiality of their work or to assess its value relative to cost or outcome. High salaries created a false positive measure of their client value. They were far removed from the client and worked on discrete slivers of matters. This was their “practice.” The firm—not the client—was the entity to serve and to satisfy. Firms focused on profit-per-partner (PPP), not net-promoter score (NPS).

Legal practice for many lawyers has been diluted. That’s not an indictment of attorneys or a slight to their intelligence, diligence, and ability to make better use of their licenses. Susan Hackett and Karl Chapman describe this underutilization as working “at the bottom of the license.” Too many lawyers are doing just that, and that’s one reason why legal buyers are migrating work once performed by law firms to new provider sources. Optimization of value—deploying the right resource to the appropriate task—is a foundational element of business in the digital age. The legal industry is lagging.

Clients continue to pay a premium for those lawyers—and a handful of firms– with differentiated practice skills. This is a narrow band of practitioners that work “at the top of their license” on the highest-value client matters. Legal buyers are increasingly balking at paying such a premium to others. The universe of high-value, “bet the company” work is a small fraction of legal work. This diverges from law’s go-go decades when lawyers and firms perpetuated the myth that all work they performed was “bespoke.”

Regulators in the UK and a handful of other jurisdictions have opened the door to other professionals (“non-lawyers” in legal parlance) handling many tasks once performed exclusively by lawyers. The Solicitors Regulatory Authority (SRA) has  winnowed down the list of “regulated activities” –those requiring licensed attorneys– from a far broader range of lawyer/law firm activities. In the U.S., corporate clients are narrowing that list on their own. The myth of legal exceptionalism has been debunked.

The Business of Law Is a Response to Practice Inflation and The Need For New Skills

Corporate clients, not lawyers, now determine what’s “legal” and when licensed attorneys are required (it’s a different but changing story in the retail legal segment). That’s why legal practice is compressing and the business of delivering legal services—the business of law—is expanding. It’s also why so much capital is being pumped into “alternative legal service providers” and why their market share is increasingly briskly. The 2019 Georgetown/Thomson Reuters Report on the State of the Legal Market (The Georgetown Report) chronicles the migration of work from firms and highlights several of its causes. The Report calls for “rebuilding the law firm model.”  Law firms continue to be practice-centric and inward-focused (to maximize PPP) in a marketplace that is becoming customer-centric, digital, data-based, tech-enabled, diverse, agile, multidisciplinary, and cost-effective.

Where does this leave lawyers? We are, paradoxically, returning to what it meant to be a lawyer before the ranks of the profession swelled and law firms became highly profitable, undifferentiated big box stores. Practice is once again becoming the province of those lawyers best equipped to engage in it. For the larger universe of the profession, their careers will take a different turn. Most practice careers will morph into delivering legal services—the business of law– and/or to allied professions and businesses. For most lawyers, legal expertise will become a skill, not a practice.

The new legal career paths—and there are many– require new skillsets, mindsets, and a focus on serving clients/customers. Upskilling the legal profession is already a key issue, a requisite for career success. Lawyers must learn new skills like project management, data analytics, deployment of technology, and process design to leverage their legal knowledge. Simply knowing the law will not cut it anymore. The good news is that many lawyers will be liberated from the drudgery of faux practice careers. Armed with new skills, they will be have a plethora of career paths.

Practice in the Age of End-to-End Solutions

The distinction clients draw between high-value legal expertise and everything else in their portfolios explains the marked divide between approximately twenty elite firms and the pack. This small cadre of firms handle a disproportionate percentage of premium “bet-the-company” work and are paid commensurately. It also explains the ascendency of the alternative legal service providers that now handle more and increasingly complex work once sourced solely to law firms. These providers are not yet vying for premium legal work, but they are in the hunt for everything else. They hold a distinct edge over law firms because of their customer-centricity, alignment with business, DNA,  structural organization, economic model, technology platforms, capital, multidisciplinary, agile, diverse workforces, delivery capability, scalability, and cost-predictability and efficiency.

Companies like the Big Four, UnitedLex, Axiom, and Burford Capital  are already home to thousands of attorneys– as well as engineers, data analysts, consultants, technologists, and other allied legal professionals. Their attorney headcount will increase  in the coming years due to client demand and heightening pressure on the non-elite partnership model law firms. For most attorneys that work in these companies, law will be a is skill, not practice. That’s why legal knowledge must be augmented by other competencies to enable lawyers to make the transition from firms. There is also a cultural component to the transformation: success is measured by results and client satisfaction, not by hours billed.

Conclusion

The new legal career is about melding legal knowledge with other competencies to better serve clients and to solve problems. Whether that’s termed practice or delivery, the client is once again the focus. Law is returning to its service roots and that’s a good thing.

What does this mean  to those contemplating becoming a lawyer?  The decision to attend three years of law school, incur six-figure debt (it’s different outside the U.S.), and secure licensure is a personal one that involves many variables. Other paths to a meaningful legal career exist and more will be available in the near future.

Changes to family law must come from practitioners, not politicians

Lawyers can sit around waiting for parliament to make its recommendations and legislative updates, but it is more important for family lawyers to change the culture around divorce and related disputes.

Practitioners across the spectrum have been quick to criticise the newly announced parliamentary inquiry into the family law system, but change has to come from within the profession and those who deal with clients going through separation and divorce, argues one divorce coach and mediator.

Why mediation is needed

In conversation with Lawyers Weekly, Anne-Marie Cade, who is the founder of mediation coaching firm Divorce Right, said that one of the biggest issues is that there are many cases caught up in the court system that should not be there to begin with.

Most lawyers you speak to will tell you, she noted, that around 85 per cent of cases settle before going to trial.

“Most of those cases need not have been filed to begin with if clients were educated on their options at the preliminary stages of their matter and a different approach was adopted by the lawyers. There needs to be a bigger focus on early intervention strategies,” she posited.

“Processes like mediation are very effective if done early in the process. Clients need to be educated on the process of mediation and coached and prepared, so they are in the correct mindset before they attend mediation.”

However, this does not happen, Ms Cade said.

“In most cases, they are referred on to mediation at the early stages with little or no guidance and most mediations then fail as the parties go in ill-prepared. Papers then get filed in court and mediation is used in the later stages of the process as a last-ditch effort after all the nasty allegations have been made and the matter has become so acrimonious that parties are entrenched in their positions,” she said.

“An evaluative form of mediation is then used wherein they are forced into an agreement to avoid going off to court. Most often neither party is happy with the agreement and it is a recipe for disaster because they come out of the system with no skills on how to manage their co-parenting relationship which only leads to more conflict which in turn damages the kids.”

The onus is on the profession to act

“We can all sit around waiting for the politicians to make changes. None of the changes made will be ideal,” she continued.

“We are all quick to criticise but I think change has to come from within the legal profession as well as from other professionals who deal with clients going through separation and divorce. We need to change the culture around divorce and how it is done.”

Legal professionals in family law need a better understanding of conflict, how it can be resolved and better client management, Ms Cade surmised.

“There is no single method. It is necessary to create enduring solutions to conflicts, not just adopt a bandaid approach. It is necessary to think in non-traditional ways about possible solutions,” she explained.

“This involves an understanding of human behaviour and neuroscience, it involves shifting mindsets of both lawyers and clients and for this to be effective some of these changes have to come from within the legal profession.”

There is a social urgency, she espoused, to incorporate and develop transformative peacemaking practices into the work lawyers do in the family law space.

“We also need to work on ourselves as lawyers, so we see things differently. We can’t be that effective adviser beyond our own level of personal development,” she said.

“We are helping people who are embroiled in conflict and as lawyers we need a certain awareness of our own biases and engage in skill building, so we are equipped with the tools to deal with these issues so we can help our clients better.

“We can then integrate these learnings into how we deal with our clients. It may involve simple interventions at the very early stages. It’s important that we incorporate 21st century learnings into our work. Everything about the Australian family is changing but the way we approach divorce is still hopelessly outdated.”

Better understanding trauma

The trauma of divorce is not understood well enough, monitored or managed, Ms Cade added.

“There is a plethora of new service offerings available now to help clients manage even the toughest issues and make them more bearable and workable so they can reach resolution with minimal conflict,” she reflected.

“It’s necessary to embrace these new and different approaches to lead to better outcomes for our clients. Clients may be resistant to spending their money at the initial stages of the process to get this kind of help so it’s incumbent on lawyers to educate clients about the benefits of adopting these approaches so clients get the help they need and are able to sort their issues out in an amicable and peaceful manner instead of having to resort to litigation.”

It’s necessary for lawyers to look for big picture solutions and be peacemaking problem solvers, she concluded.

“Clients expect a gladiator approach when they see a lawyer so it’s up to us to show our clients that there are more constructive ways in which to resolve their matters. There is a collective responsibility on us as legal professionals to lead the change and make the difference.

“If we adopt this approach it will help clear the decks for the more complex cases that do belong in the court system and hopefully those cases will get resolved in a timelier manner.”