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The going gets tough

So, The Co-op is taking on matrimonial work? They're in for a shock, says Russell Conway as he looks back at his time in the department

6 February 2012

I set up the matrimonial department at Oliver Fisher nearly 35 years ago. In those days small firms of solicitors were normally general practitioners doing a bit

of this and a bit of that and we were not very different from all the rest. Nevertheless with the rise in divorces we felt it was necessary to form a department dealing specifically with divorce, ancillary relief, domestic violence, making children wards of court, etc.

Matrimonial work is among the most challenging that solicitors deal with on a day-to-day basis. Certainly when we track the firm’s phone calls we find that the matrimonial department receives around five times as many calls as any other department within the firm. When people are getting divorced they are involved in relationship breakdown, they need to talk, talk fast and talk often. Many years ago people involved in such situations would talk to their priest or social worker but nowadays they talk to their lawyer.

The work is demanding...

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