In strained economic climates, lawyers must often help their clients face many issues. In 2016, for example, there were approximately 70,000 divorces in Canada, ranging in cost from $5,000 to $100,000+. Individuals involved in family law matters can feel extremely overwhelmed, not only due to financial aspects but also due to the emotional stresses involved.In strained economic climates, lawyers must often help their clients face many issues. In 2016, for example, there were approximately 70,000 divorces in Canada, ranging in cost from $5,000 to $100,000+. Individuals involved in family law matters can feel extremely overwhelmed, not only due to financial aspects but also due to the emotional stresses involved.
In times of need, there are various support systems available for individuals who are party to a family action. Counselling, financial aid, and other types of support are readily available and can provide people with the tools they need to cope. However, this trend is not commonly provided by law firms managing family law matters.
Though uncommon, law firms that provide client support coordination are not unheard of. Amy Struyk, Client Support Coordinator, Community Outreach and Marketing Assistant Resolve Legal Group provides relief to clients managing family law issues.
In a recent interview, we spoke with Cyndy Morin, chair of our upcoming program Family Law During Recessionary Times to learn more about the firm’s Client Support Coordination Program and about Amy’s presentation, Partnering with Community Agencies to Provide Better Support for BetterLegal Outcomes. Here’s what she had to say.
When I first opened my practice, I had people presenting issues like, “Oh gosh, I have to get a new car now; should I buy a new one or just lease?” or, “I need a place to stay; what should I do?”. However, as a lawyer, there is no legal answer I could provide to those kinds of questions. What these clients were really looking for was friendly advice. I remember saying to a client once, “Well, I have my own opinion of what you should do, but you should really reach out to a car dealer and ask them”. But, they were not able to focus on their legal issues because they were so stressed out about practical issues. I couldn’t bill them for my advice, but that’s what they really needed before they could deal with the legal aspects. Amy’s role, in part, is to do outreach to find out what programs that are available in the community, so when clients come in with a specific need, she can help them find the answers they need from a non-legal perspective.”
When clients are provided with support by law firms, it helps them reduce anxiety and manage these practical issues so that they can stay focused on their families and not the legal issues at hand.
As noted by Cyndy, the other part of Amy’s role is to ensure that lawyers are adhering to the firm’s internal service standards. For example, if a lawyer in the firm is not returning phone calls (maybe due to their involvement in various litigation matters or to the client’s satisfaction), clients can contact Amy and anonymously provide their feedback. Then as a firm, we can discuss various methods for providing that lawyer with the assistance they need to resolve the issue. This reduces our risk of being reported to the Law Society of Alberta, it helps us coach junior lawyers, and at the same time, clients feel they have someone there to support them in every way, including non-legal. They have a support system of people when they’re going through family law matters.
Delve into additional topics, including:
- Practical Approaches for Sustainable Family Law Solutions | Cyndy Morin (Edmonton), Amy Struyk (Calgary)
- Foreclosure Processes & Considerations | Grant W.D. Cameron
- Educate Professionals About Options | Donna Carson
- How to Decipher Taxes | Jonathan Garbutt
- Tax Return Tips for Separating Couples: Putting More Money in Their Pockets | Sharon Numerow
- Providing More Affordable Family Law Services | John-Paul E. Boyd
- Client Coordination to Services and Programs | Bailey Rivard
View the program brochure to learn more.