Women now make up the majority of Irish Solicitors and in terms of areas of practice it is fair to say that female solicitors practising in the area of family law also outnumber their male counterparts.
So why is this the case?
Family law is still a relatively new independent area of practice and with the people of Ireland only voting to end its ban on divorce in 1995, family law was generally bundled under the general heading of “litigation”. In recent years, however, members of the profession have recognised that Family Law is a speciality which requires a very specific skillset and is not an area that should be dabbled in.
As an area of law that requires empathy, understanding and candour in addition to knowledge of the law, family law perhaps is an area that is more suited or at least more appealing to some females within the profession. Also, it is often the case that family law clients seek out female solicitors to represent them and there are several reasons for this:
Women tend to be good listeners:
Some clients, particularly female clients, feel that a female solicitor will be a better listener or will empathise with their situation more readily than a male. A Solicitor, who is a good listener, will pick up on an important piece of information that could assist your case more readily than a Solicitor who half heartedly listens to what you have to say. A listening ear also makes a client feel better and more at ease.
When going through a Separation or Divorce you will be discussing some of the most sensitive and personal details of your life and of your children’s lives. Women often feel more at ease discussing these matters with someone of the same gender and on the flipside, men may be of the view that having a female solicitor may make them appear more sympathetic or gentler in their approach to resolving matters.
Skilled Communicators and Negotiators:
Women are often better communicators and more likely to reach a settlement. Women also tend to be more social and collaborative than men which increases the likelihood of achieving a settlement. It is the desire of most clients to negotiate an outcome outside of Court negating the stress of a full Court hearing. The majority of cases don’t go to trial but rather they settle outside of court. Having a Solicitor on board who is amiable and can get along with others in the profession can only assist in terms of reaching a fair settlement.
Women understand Women:
You may think this is only of assistance to female clients, but that is not the case. Many marriages fail, at least in part, due to lack of proper communication within the marriage. A female solicitor can give a male client an insight into the mindset of their spouse and what can be done to help achieve a compromise.
Ultimately, choosing a family law solicitor of either gender is a very personal decision. Gender most certainly should not be the only or most important consideration, but it is fair to say that having a solicitor of a specific gender may make a client feel more comfortable and at ease. Having a Solicitor who specialises in the area of family law is crucial but equally so you must be able to trust and relate to the Solicitor representing you and guiding you through one of the most difficult times in your life.
Please download our free guides to separation and divorce on our website or book a consultation with one of our solicitors by calling us on (061) 467 392 or contact us via our website.