The essence of most family law work is helping people through a difficult time in their life and advising them on the issues that arise. Family law is a broad church: it includes divorce, marital agreements, adoption, surrogacy, private child matters, care proceedings and financial matters. Most family lawyers choose to specialise, although many will deal with more than one of these diverse areas.
A family lawyer’s workload depends on the size of the firm and the type of work being done. In more complex or higher value financial cases in the bigger firms, usually lawyers will work in teams to ensure work is done at an appropriate level to make the case cost-effective for the client. The timescale to get some cases finished can depend on the amount of disagreement; a case could be over quickly if there is a good measure of agreement or it could take over a year if the case has to go to court.
Family law, like most areas of practice, is busy. The core hours may perhaps be 8.30 am to 5.30 pm, but some firms will have evening and weekend surgeries to be flexible for clients. Generally the hours can be less anti-social than in some other areas of law, as there are not all-night stints; the nature of the work usually allows you to have a decent work/life balance.