Why I trained as a family mediator…

Sally Clark Blog

I have practiced in family law for nearly 25 years and have been a qualified solicitor for 19 of those. I absolutely love my job! In 2010, I set up my own practice as I felt that many firms had lost focus on the people they represented and, instead, had become more focussed on generating income. That did not sit right with me and I decided to put my “money where my mouth was” and set up on my own. My ethos has always been that if I do my very best for my clients then the business would grow on referral business and thankfully, that has indeed proved to be the case!

I have always been a great believer, and supporter, of mediation in any case where it was appropriate. My view has always been that it is best for my clients to try to reach an agreement with their former partner about their issues without involving the court unless absolutely necessary and mediation plays a big part in this for many clients. It gives them an opportunity to express their views, in a safe place, and to (hopefully) reach a resolution that is acceptable to them both. The big thing for me is that I try to leave my clients in a place at the end of their case where they are able to move forward. I firmly believe that mediation is massively helpful in achieving this as it encourages and supports opening a line of communication between separated couples, which hopefully will continue following the end of our involvement.

I have recently finished my core mediation training and am now moving into the accreditation phase. I am loving every minute of it. It is certainly a very different “hat” to being a lawyer. As a lawyer, my job is to give advice and guide my clients to help them achieve the very best possible result. As a mediator I am impartial, I am there to help the parties work out their options, to try and agree how they want to move forward and, very importantly for me, to open those lines of communication – something that a court process certainly doesn’t help!

Alison Barnes