This is a blog about Evie obviously written by me, her mum.
Before I was Evie’s mummy I was a solicitor, still am albeit not practising at present. I loved that job. I love the law. I loved my colleagues and opponents. I loved to get a good result for my clients. It wasn’t always the case, sometimes we lost and my clients didn’t get what they wanted.
Now not every client is right and often we have to manage our clients’ expectations. That is part of the job.
I gave up working to look after Evie. I couldn’t juggle my parenting responsibilities with the hours that my job deserved. So I’ve taken time away. I work part time in a non-professional role; a job which suits my family’s needs. My family are my priority not my career (I do however miss it lots).
So today I came in from my little job and start reading Facebook. I find this…
Please do read it.
As a solicitor I am ashamed of the person who wrote those tweets. How dare any solicitor belittle a SEN parent.
It doesn’t make me smile. I have such empathy for these parents.
And then this…
“An error of judgement” wow – seriously…in what world would those tweets ever be right?
I remember the days when solicitors couldn’t advertise, couldn’t use social media (there wasn’t any!). But the rules were such that we had a duty and standards to apply. It made us different. Our Solicitors’ Guide to Professional Conduct was a staple for every lawyer. And we had exams on it too…remember those fellow solicitors?
As a solicitor my duty was always first to the court, always. I had a duty to represent myself and my profession in the best way possible, not to bring us into disrepute.
I’m terribly sorry Baker Small but in my opinion that’s exactly what you’ve done. You have insulted these parents AND you have insulted our profession. I felt physically sick when I read what you had tweeted. Every parent fears being belittled and used by professionals. Is it any wonder that parents don’t trust professionals when they read things like this?
I don’t think that solicitors and other professionals have any idea of the effort and energy that SEN parents have to use in everyday life. Not just the day to day things but the appointments we attend, the forms we complete, the administration, the medicine that we administer, the behaviour that we have to put up with (and not from our children, far from it in fact)..the things that we have to remember.
It’s often exhausting. Incredibly rewarding. But exhausting emotionally and physically. It takes true bravery for parents to step up and oppose professionals. True courage to say “Actually no, that’s not right for my child” or “Your interpretation of the law is wrong”.
We all know that money is tight. Budgets are restricted. And as a result not every child is given what they are legally entitled to.
What we don’t need are solicitors who milk the system, making what is already a difficult subject area worse through lack of care.
I have the pleasure of knowing a great many decent lawyers. I know that most lawyers out there would never ever dream of doing this. It saddens me so much that the actions of one human can undermine trust and relationships for so many. I feel as though I need to defend my profession as we aren’t all like this. Genuinely.
It is human nature to gloat. I was taught that there are no winners in family law. As long as people are safe and children protected, that is the only win. That said I would be lying if I hadn’t gloated about winning cases…always in private, always in the office, never ever in public. Because some I did win, when people were proven to be lying or hiding money. That success was part of my job – to get at the truth.
This firm’s tweets has undermined the relationship of parents and professionals, in my opinion. Reprehensible.
So my advice to lawyers dealing with SEN law –
*waving hi* I’m a parent. A SEN parent. I’m a person.
And at the heart of every case you will ever deal with is the child. NEVER lose sight of that.
It’s not about money.
It’s about what is in the child’s best interests. The child always comes first.
You also need to know that what you say will be taken very much to heart by the parents. These parents – your opponents possibly – are their child’s best advocate. They know what their child needs better than anyone. Never ever question that.
Additionally whilst you may love your job, it is nothing in comparison to the love that these parents have for their children. They will travel to the ends of the earth to get them what they need.
I know you want to win. You want to look good.
I know you want a good result. But always consider the emotional side. You have a duty of care to people.
The best result is what the child needs.
And remember you have real influence. Your actions could have a serious impact upon a family.
So take care. Have a heart. You have professional responsibility, never forget that or your integrity.