Modern Law Magazine – Emma Pearmaine In The Spotlight


Emma Pearmaine, Head of Family Law and Partner at Simpson Millar LLP was recently interviewed by Charlotte Parkinson for Modern Law Magazine. They discussed challenges post – LASPO, winning Lawyer of the Year at the Modern Law Awards and where Simpson Millar LLP is looking to expand next.

Modern Law Magazine - Interview with Emma Pearmaine

About Simpson Millar LLP

In less than 4 years, the Family Law Department at Simpson Millar LLP grew from £100,000 to £2.9 million. Charlotte asked Emma what she thought this growth was down to, especially following an economic downturn.

Emma put the growth of the department down to the "skill, foresight and support" of all those concerned including our IT development team. The expansion of the department relied on the hard work and commitment of all involved including how new services and products are delivered.

Simpson Millar LLP became an Alternative Business Structure (ABS) in 2013, allowing us to invite external investments to grow our internal structure. More business meant that even more time and care was put into maintaining high standards for the clients we see.

Talking Post - LASPO

Charlotte went on to ask what Emma thought about the legal system post LASPO, a piece of legislation that cut legal aid to numerous legal sectors and what we as a firm were doing about it.

Simpson Millar LLP are a member of the family law parliamentary group who lobby the government for change. Despite all the hard work, the government went ahead with LASPO and now huge numbers of clients are unable to afford any kind of help making access to justice difficult and expensive. For those that can't afford legal representation, they become litigants in person. This means they represent themselves in court and the courts are struggling to deal with the situation.

To tackle this, Simpson Millar LLP in particular have developed "fixed fee options, pay as you go, payment instalments" and working closely with other organisations who can provide additional support. This additional support can "reduce the time" spent on particular cases, reducing the cost. We try to give flexibility to our clients wherever we can.

We also make it clear to clients that where they wish, and it's appropriate, there are other options they can choose over going to court. Mediation and arbitration are picking up speed for those that want full control over the family law process.

Emma ended the interview by saying "we are looking at expanding our family team substantially over the next few years". In doing this, we hope to help many more people with issues of divorce, child contact or child residence, all of which require the expertise of a family law solicitor.

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