Very recently we merged with family law specialists Karina Leapman & Co. In a recent blog we asked Karina about her career and what she’d like to achieve now she’s a vital part of Collins & Hoy. Today we’d like to introduce you to another of our new family lawyers in West Hampstead and St John’s Wood, Karina’s long-time colleague Rina Patel.
Rina’s road to becoming a family lawyer began in Birmingham in 2000/01 when she began training at a firm where family law was the primary practice area:
“It was a great way to begin my career. I was definitely thrown in at the deep end and exposed to many different and complex situations right from the outset, but it clicked and I realised this is the area I wanted to specialise in.”
When Rina moved to London in 2006, she joined the team at Karina Leapman & Co in West Hampstead.
On her journey thus far, Rina has worked on a variety of cases and enjoys the incredible diversity of areas that make up family law, working with different people and looking for solutions. Rina believes each situation is unique and should be approached as such, ‘with fresh eyes’.
Parachuting into a client’s life and really making a difference at what is almost certainly the most upsetting and stressful time of their lives, is most important and a real responsibility:
“I love being able to explore and talk things through with my clients, the practical and ‘on the ground’ elements of relationship breakdown (and relationship formation).. This differs from family to family, so the need to really get involved and help them reach the best possible outcome is hugely rewarding. I have seen first-hand just how much the advice and guidance I provide helps them; it really does make the difference.”
Rina can see that family law is changing . While, taking the best possible care of clients and making sure they receive the very best legal advice will always be paramount, Rina knows the detail and delivery is changing, including the possibility, in some instances, of parties appointing the same lawyer.
“Today there is an increased effort to resolve family law disputes in a non-confrontational manner. There have been major changes to the law, not least with the advent (finally!) of no fault divorce. The role of the family law solicitor is now more varied. Family law practitioners need to advise their clients on all the different approaches available to them and take more time to discuss and explore the approach best suited to their needs and circumstances, which may even involve therapeutic support, help from divorce coaches and other experts.”
Rina is also convinced of family mediation and other dispute resolution processes continuing to grow in importance:
“Mediation is not viewed as just a pre-requisite to issuing court proceedings. Supported by the legal advisors, parties are approaching the mediation process with real hope that itwill work for them. The mediation process is affordable – particularly with the Government’s mediation voucher scheme – and is often quicker and more cost-effective for couples.
Similarly, where relevant, family law practitioners will advise their clients to try other dispute resolution processes, for example Early Neutral Evaluations, Private Financial Dispute Resolutions and Arbitration. The fact that these options keep cases out of the court can only be a good thing for clients, especially as they provide parties more control and choice.”
Now an integral part of our family team, Rina has some creditable ambitions.
Above all she wants to contribute to helping Collins & Hoy build on the positive reputation they’ve earned locally and help establish our family department as the leading family lawyers in West Hampstead and St John’s Wood as well as Pinner and Harrow.
“Clients will always benefit from having access to different solicitors with different skills sets. With a bigger team and a broader range of skills – including our trained mediators and collaboratively trained solicitors – our growing team is better placed to support each other to achieve the best outcome for the client. We can offer different approaches under one umbrella.”
Rina’s practice spans all areas of family law, but her specialisms are pre-nuptial agreements, complex children work, and cross border cases. If you would like to discuss your own situation with Rina, please email her or call her on 020 8866 1820.