Court Out - McKenzie Friend or Barrister?
Posted on 14th August 2023
I was in the Family Court recently waiting for a hearing to commence when my phone rang. I excused myself and stepped into a quiet place and had a 5 or 6 minute conversation with the caller.
Upon returning to the barrister I was talking to, I picked up the conversation about potential Court orders and then referenced the caller indirectly. This led to me explaining that the caller was a client who had been through the Family Court process some time ago and was now co-parenting with her former husband in a very cooperative way.
The conversation went something like this:
Barrister: "Oh dear, so is she ringing you with a new problem then?"
Me: "No, not at all. Once the Court proceedings were over, she never really left. She now regularly attends counselling with me often to do little more than shoot the breeze about nothing at all."
Barrister: "Hang on, I am struggling with that. I have a client, I work the problem for the client, they go and get on with their life and I never hear from them again. A solicitor has the client and the same outcome unfolds. But you are saying that you have a client and you work the problem but they don't leave?"
Me: "In probably 1 in 3 cases, correct, they do not leave."
Barrister: "But why?"
Me: "I genuinely believe the dynamic is different with us and our clients. A solicitor maintains a distance between them and their client. They engage with the client when they need to. You maintain a distance because your engagement is focused but fleeting. My clients quickly recognise that we care. We don't just care about the case but we care about them as human beings. You trust your solicitor to give you good advice because he knows the law. People trust you because you have an air of authority and an obvious knowledge."
Barrister: "And you?"
Me: "I believe they trust me as a human being who is looking after them. I have tools and arguably weapons and knowledge that I can access but the relationship is human to human. They trust me not as a solicitor or a McKenzie Friend or a legal advocate, they trust me. Clients in the past have described it as almost paternal. I remove the boundaries. I go to their home, we acknowledge special occasions when we are aware of them, we become part of their life. "
Barrister: "Hence them not going away"
Me: "They have found someone else who has stood by their side, taken flack for them, deflected pain from them and been honest, why would they let that go?"
Counselling is a word which conjures different ideas in people's minds. Some people see it as a failure if you are going to counselling. The opportunity to sit in a room with an independent professional who will not judge you and will simply listen, really listen, is priceless. You are not fighting to be heard. You are not waiting for your turn to speak or struggling for your voice to be heard. The only voice in the room for a sizeable proportion of the time is yours. People engage in counselling with Daniel Picave and indirectly through McKenzie Picave because we blend our counselling with care.
Perhaps see you soon.
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