What Our Clients Say (full)
Below you will find what some of our clients have said about us
(we warn you, it runs to 30 pages!)
(we warn you, it runs to 30 pages!)
"Thank you so much for all your wonderful help on [our son's] case.
We are thrilled that we don’t have to go to tribunal and even more thrilled that he has the Statement that we feel will best support him at a school he loves.
I have no doubt we shall be talking to you all again in the not too distant future but, for now, thank you.
(After a successful Tribunal decision)
"We're in shock, thank you so much. This means the world to us and now [our son] will get to attend school all week and get essential OT and SaLT, we're in shock.
"I just wanted to thank you for giving our family the best Xmas pressie ever. [We] are over the moon and I have not stopped crying since I got the judgement
You are one very special man !!!"
"We would truly like to thank Douglas and the entire DSS team for your tireless efforts to get us this result! We are absolutely thrilled with the outcome.
Thank you all for such an excellent flawless service."
"Thank you for your all your support through this process it's great we have had such a positive outcome."
"I would like to thank you all for all your hard work during this very long and protracted case!!!!
I honestly didn’t think we would ever get there.
Thank you for your support and expertise! It is with your guidance and experience we managed it finally."
"Just wanted to send my enormous thanks to you and your team for all the help you have given towards getting [my son] the EHC Plan and placement that meets his needs.
I am so relieved (I know I don't always show it!) that he will now have a chance to develop and progress in a safe environment.
I really couldn't have done it without you.
"Thank you very much for all the work and guidance.
Throughout the whole Appeal process we felt in very good hands."
"We are delighted we are finally there and extremely grateful for all your sound advice, reassurance and sensitivity over these past few months in helping us to get a place for [our son] at [our preferred school]."
Thank you very much for the update
and the enormous effort of your whole team."
"We would like to thank you for all your support in securing the EHCP we now have, which is more than we could have ever wished for on the outset."
"We are very happy with the result, and would like to thank the whole DSS team for their hard work."
"We are in shock.
It's all and more than we could have asked for and never anticipated this outcome.
I know we still have some way to go but in the meantime thank you so very much for all your advice and hard work this far."
"I echo [my wife's] sentiments, although quietly confident we were always mindful the case could go either way, we are delighted with the news today."
'I just wanted to echo [my husband's] earlier email to say thank you very much for getting us to this point. To my mind this is a victory...
What we now have is a decent contribution to the programme that is absolutely right for [our son's] needs right now and that will give him the best chance of success. We could possibly have gotten more, but I feel that on balance we've done the right thing...
Thanks again for everything and I hope you are happy, as we are, with the outcome.'
'My apologies for not having thanked [Douglas and the team] so much for all your help.
We would not have achieved this without your expert support and guidance, I am certain as [the LA] were extremely difficult to deal with.
I looked at the page with [our preferred school] named as [our son's] provision with some sense of amazement that, finally, we had done it. I have spent so long imagining each hurdle overcome, little by little, inching our way towards this outcome. And finally it is here.
We do not take this for granted at all. Thank you.'
'Can I also take this opportunity to thank you and the rest of the team at DSS for your hard work in helping us over the last few months.
Your input, advice and effectiveness cannot be overstated and we are very, very grateful.'
'Thank you for your active involvement in the EHC Planning process and the time taken in working with us to ensure that [your daughter] has a robust plan to support her' we undoubtedly owe [you] a huge "thank you" for steering us through choppy waters but also keeping us on course, especially at the very end.
[The LA] have not always made it easy for us to spell out ..particular needs and to see clearly what is really in [our daughter's] best interests and our own.
We have had to be proactive and to push hard [but the] speed and ease with which [a strong EHC plan] has ultimately been achieved, surprised ourselves and possibly yourselves and it is most definitely testament to your skill and good judgement and we will be forever thankful that we enlisted your excellent help and support.
That is very good news... I can’t say this it has been a pleasant process but we have been very grateful for the way that you have interacted and supported us through the process.
We would also like to thank you, Douglas and the team as we are obviously really pleased with the outcome and very much appreciate the work and support that you have provided through the process.
I wanted to thank you for the work that you did on [our daughter's] case, and the support that you gave us, which was invaluable. More than anything, it has been a huge comfort to have your unrivalled knowledge and credibility standing behind us.
I have met some superb people during our journey with [our daughter], and it's wonderful to know that outstanding professionals like you exist to help families through a maze of difficulties.
Due to being slightly shocked(!) my last email did not thank you for your advice and involvement which I know had a significant impact as we didn't manage to achieve this outcome last [time].
I always felt if the system did work in the best interests of the child, we would win at Tribunal, but I never expected to get the placement without going through that and I was dreading the emotional cost of doing so.
Just wanted to say a massive thank you for all your help, guidance and support these past 7 or so months, you've all been brilliant and I know we wouldn't have succeeded without you.
We just wanted to email and give you a heart felt thank you. This has been a bumpy year to say the least.
[Our son] is just starting transition into [his new school] it is a slow process as we manage his stress and anxiety around school, today he managed two hours without us being there. Home is difficult as we try and support him through his difficulties but we will get there. He is in a far better place than he was a year ago.
We handed this over to you and let you get on with it because we trusted you to do so and you have not let us down. [Our son] has a good statement now. It is no longer a woolly document, but one where his needs are indentified and his support quantified and specified.
Some people may find this a rare thing to behold, and sadly I suppose it is even though the law states it should be. Without your help I don't know where we would of been, going around in circles with the LA most likely.
The team of professionals you have around you have been excellent and their reports have been invaluable in understanding [our son's] struggles. You will always be his lawyer for his educational life and we have a guide to take the strain away, get things done and let us get on with the job of parenting.
I will sing your praises where possible and always recommend you to parents in need of help.
"It’s a pleasure to say thank you, We are thrilled!"
"All is sorted. Which leads me on to say a great big thank you to you & Douglas, we are very happy customers & am happy for you to close our file, we have had the result we were hoping for & am really truly grateful to you both for guiding me through.
Douglas in nothing short of a genius!"
"Thank you so much to everyone at Douglas Silas who was involved with our case. We have received excellent support from you throughout and are extremely pleased with the outcome. It is reassuring to know that [our son] is now finally being supported in the best and most appropriate place for his education.
Please do pass on our heartfelt thanks to everyone involved."
[from an existing client]
"Thank you - that sounds like the ideal solution for now.
Once again we are impressed by your company's way of working and advice."
"We would both like to thank you for all your advice and support. It ended up being a far less painful process than perhaps any of us expected!"
"Just to confirm receipt of your cheque for the remaining balance from our account.
Can I also take the opportunity to thank you once again for such a great job. Its been a pleasure to do business with you and very re-assuring to have your team on side."
"Thank-you for changing our lives."
"You made a difficult process relatively easy for us and we got the right result."
"We just wanted to say many thanks for all your help in getting us to this point. Your advice and assistance has been first class all the way through this process and we would not be in this position without it. You have been a pleasure to work with and I have felt able to call you and ask anything along the way - however silly a question it may have been!
I am sure there will be a few difficult times ahead with [our son's] transition to a new setting and the changes that will bring, but am very confident that it was the right thing to bring about for him at this stage of his life."
[After winning a case]
"I'm genuinely lost for words and still trying to digest it all. It doesn't seem that real yet.
Many thanks for a job well done. We are really astonished at the outcome..."
"We are all still feeling so happy about [our daughter] and will be forever and ever grateful to you for all you have done. You cannot imagine how it feels.
You are our angels."
"Thank you for the support that your team has given us over this journey.
Keep up the good work, on behalf of the others who don’t have a voice."
[after successful settlement reached for special school]
"Thank you so much - we finally did it - well done you were fantastic!!
[Our daughter] can now flourish and grow even further over the coming years.
You should be very proud of what an amazing job you do to support children, it's life changing for [our daughter], thank you so much.
I'm off to celebrate now... "
[Email sent to us/all experts involved]
"[We] would like to say thank you for all your hard work and assistance in helping secure [our son's] place at [new school].
We are still in a state of disbelief...
This could not have been achieved without your help, talent and expertise. It has been wonderful to meet professionals who have understood [our son] and have grasped his unique problems.
We were so impressed of how you interpreted and presented all the evidence; [we] were so relieved that we had you on our team, please thank everyone at DSS.
[Our son] is very excited about going to [new school] and we are confident that he will benefit from the experience."
Thank you all"We could never have done this without you."
"I am always very happy to recommend Douglas Silas Solicitors!"
"Thank you for your kindness and understanding.
Please pass on my thanks to your team, they’re all great! You must be very proud."
"You are so easy to work with and have always given such good advice. We really appreciate it.”
"Your help and support during this time will never be forgotten"
"I can honestly say that it is a pleasure to work with a legal team that I believe has the best interest of their clients at the heart of everything they do. Unfortunately this is not always the case with others. I wish you all the best in the great work you do in helping children receive the provision they so desperately need."
I think it is time for us to go it alone...
As ever, thanks to you for your advice and support with this latest stage in [our son's] education.
"We have always felt 100% confident in your support and expertise."
“Thank you so much for your hard work and support.
It has been a pleasure working with you and we are so happy [our son] is going to [his special school] in April!”
"I just wanted to drop you both a quick note to say thank you so much for your hard work leading up to and on the day of the tribunal.
We really appreciate everything you have done for us."
"[My husband] & I would like to thank you for all your help, support and guidance during [our son's] statement process.
We couldn't have done it without your help and are so grateful to you all."
"Thank you for all your help! It was real pleasure to work with you and everyone at DSS.
It will take some time to realise what we all have done. We definitely will keep in touch."
"I cannot thank you enough for all the support you have given me over the last couple of years. On many occasions 'you kept me going', I know that I have said it before, however, you truly are a very special team, in fact, unique. You have taught me a lot professionally (and personally), these tools are valuable and will no doubt assist me now and in the future."
"The whole team at Douglas Silas Solicitors were unfailingly supportive, friendly, and professional in the very fraught circumstances we faced in preparing for, and at, the Tribunal.
I never had the slightest doubt that you were all doing your utmost to get the right result – and the right result is what we got. Many thanks to all of you."
“You’re expensive but you’re worth every penny!”
"Just a small note to say a big thank you for your wonderful service. We have been overwhelmed by your professionalism, teamwork, efficiency and care...
[Our daughter] is so much more settled and happier. Both the new school and staff at school are working out well and all the "issues" which the LEA and social services found so unacceptable have magically evaporated. How strange!"
"We want to thank you both so very much for all that you have done and your expert advice. You have always dealt with us in a professional, warm and understanding way and you have made this whole process so easy and smooth for us."
"Just want to say a big 'Thank you' for your excellent hard work, support and effots. I know that we have all given the situation 100% and whatever the outcome I can be sure that we have done our best for [my daughter].
I left the Tribunal with a good feeling. I'm hanging on to it. Once again, thank you all for being there. I couldn't have got through it without you.
You really are a very special team."
"Without Douglas and his team I am sure that my son would still not have the statement that he so desperately needed. He is now in the right kind of school for his needs and is blossoming. We are so grateful to Douglas and his wonderful team, not just for the legal expertise that they so clearly have, but also for their great personal kindness, good counsel and warm support."
"Douglas fought our case in all the Sendist hearings and worked tirelessly to find a solution to our situation. We owe him and his team so much and they have our heart felt thanks."
"I found your letter very clear and helpful, and very much enjoyed meeting you. I was greatly impressed by your considerable knowledge of your area, and by your genuine evident concern for your clients’ wellbeing."
"Once again, thanks for all your help. Your professionalism, tenacity, clarity and attention to detail gave us a great deal of confidence through the course of this process, and ultimately delivered a result which was better than we dared hope for. Most of all, [our daughter] is getting on *really* well in her new environment."
"Your advice has always been spot on."
"Thank you for your support during this difficult case. I was despondent at times and appreciated your bolstering!"
"[This] was a very intense and prolonged (not to say at times ‘excruciating’) experience. The battles (and emotions) parents go through for their children make this a traumatic matter.
Douglas is an amazing advocate for cases that are not easy..."
"[This] was a very intense and prolonged (not to say at times ‘excruciating’) experience. The battles (and emotions) parents go through for their children make this a traumatic matter.
Douglas is an amazing advocate for cases that are not easy..."
"We are very happy with the result and would like again to thank you very much for your dedication and commitment in providing your services"
"All fine and [our son] has made a grand start. he loves it!
Another Douglas SILAS triumph!"
"Thank you all, so, so, soooo much for everything you have done.
As you can imagine we all so relieved and overjoyed that [our daughter] is to go to the right school, a wonderful school, where we know she will be so happy.
[She] herself is overjoyed and after cheering and whooping said to me "I need a hug" :-)
Thanks again, SO much."
"Your help and support during this time will never be forgotten
"I meant to write sooner - [our son] has settled better than we could have ever hoped for at [his new school] and is doing so well it is amazing.
He had a fantastic first term and is thriving with all the support they provide. Hope you're all well and helping all the kids like [our son] to get what they need and
deserve thanks again"
[Our daughter] is getting along really well both at [her new school] and in life. That doesn't mean there aren't numerous problems and constant chasing and frustration but she in herself is happy and loves going to school and doing things. In that we are so very blessed.
Douglas - as we go to meet our makers (and hopefully that is a long, long, way off) we will be thanking you for winning our SEN battles for us. It really has made that much of a difference to [our daughter]...and to us. It's visible! And primarily it's in her desire to be her own person and be independent.
Do keep in touch. Your intelligence, guidance and wit remain abiding memories for us! We were lucky to have you wielding that 'sword'."
"So nice to talk to you today, feeling good at the moment about the case, we are moving in the right direction!! one step nearer. Thank you so much for all your work, and constant support throughout this appeal and for mostly making me feel comfortable in asking for help when I needed it. Sometimes I felt such a fool, but you put me at ease!! Not sure how to describe it.
Please thank all involved."
"I am writing to place on record my thanks to you all for the fantastic work you carried out during [our son ’s] case. To have secured the desired outcome is a massive relief, and without having to go to tribunal is of course even better.
I don't know whether the below is the kind of thing which might be useful for your website, but if it is please feel free to use it:
So often when putting your faith in the hands of a professional you can feel helpless, under-informed or forgotten about. This was never the case with Douglas Silas Solicitors. I was hugely impressed with the way I was kept fully up to date with how the case was proceeding. Updates were communicated in a manner which was simple to understand and were not filled with impenetrable technical or legal jargon.
It was clear that Douglas knows his field exceptionally well and he formulated strategies for the case pro-actively, rather than re-actively, always anticipating what the local authority might say or do next. I was confident that he was always two or three steps ahead of the opposition. I also appreciated that whilst he always seemed in control of matters, he remained very level-headed and never allowed himself to appear either too optimistic or pessimistic. This helped me to stay on an even-keel and remain realistic about our chances of success.
Douglas's team are first-rate. They were always on hand to clarify any points or answer any questions. They always made me feel like a priority, answering swiftly and courteously, never appearing frustrated by my naive or foolish questions!
I would recommend Douglas Silas without hesitation to any parent in need of legal assistance for the children's school funding or similar."
"I just wanted to drop you both a quick note to say thank you so much for your hard work leading up to and on the day of the tribunal.
We really appreciate everything you have done for us."
"We thought you might like to see these pictures of [our son] setting off on his first day in his new school uniform! [He] started at [his new school] this Wednesday - and he LOVES it!
He has settled in really quickly - is so happy and says he can't wait for Monday!
Thank you all so much again for all of your skill, help and support."
"I thought you would be keen to know we just received a letter from [our] LA confirming [our son] will continue his secondary education at [his current school]. We are naturally thrilled and really delighted about this.
We are still extremely grateful for all your help several years ago which created the foundation for this and has massively helped [our son] achieve great strides compared to the other Schools he may have had to go to.
"[Our son] leaves [his special school] in July and is going onto College in September, to do both a sports course and music course.
We have always been very grateful for what you did for us and for [our son]. You have done so much for so many people, and that's something you can be very proud of.
Please keep in touch, and our sincere best wishes to you, your family and to all your staff."
"I hope this email finds you well and business is good for you.
I just wanted to say thank you once more for all that you did for [my daughter], myself and of course [my grandson]in our case last year.
[He] has been attending [school] for about 15 months now and has been happy and blossoming. He is getting all the attention and schooling
he could possibly need. We know that [he] is in the best place by far and that all the efforts and heartache were well worth it.
[My daughter] too has been able to pursue more of her own life and is much healthier and happy for it.
[My daughter, my wife] and myself all reflect often how fortunate we are for [him] to have been able to attend [school] and the key role you played in getting him there.
You don't need me to tell you, but do keep up the good work - from this end it means so much to us all.
Thank you again Douglas, many many thanks."
"It appears [our son’s] Statement is now in full swing (it did take a final ‘email push’ from myself to ensure the contracts were sent to the [private therapists] last week, though! But now everything has been received).
Thank you so very much for everything – all your advice and hard work, which helped secure [our son’s] Statement. In particular, your masterpiece ‘mark-up’ of the proposed Statement. That really swung it with [the LA] I think. I have to say the officers at SENAS have been brilliant and we are on very good terms.
"Thank you for forwarding the statement. I was on another planet I think yesterday that I didn't even realise you had managed to get so much provision in the statement! I'm thrilled you got 2 hours OT a week and hydrotherapy every week, that's brilliant! Thank you so much!
We have wanted [the school] so desperately for such a long time now and had pretty much resigned ourselves to the fact that we never win anything so were guaranteed to lose that it is going to take a while to actually realise that [our son] has got [the school] now:) We really couldn't be happier with the outcome and are so very grateful to the team for listening to us and understanding and making sure we got what was best for our family:) thank you all so much."
"[Our son] breaks up for the summer vacation today which has prompted me to send you a little update on his progress.
I can’t quite believe that he has completed his first year at [his new school] already. [describes improvement]
We always knew that if he could just be given the opportunity to learn he would throw himself into it and he really has. He now has a true sense of self worth and remarkable self discipline. School work is still very hard for [him] but [his new school] has given him a true sense of achievement and sense of hope.
There isn’t a day that goes by when we don’t think how glad we are that, with your help, we took up the fight for [our son's] education. We see the positive results everyday in [him] so I hope this email has let you share a little piece of our joy and relief!"
"[My wife] and I wanted to write to formally thank all of you for all your time, effort, input and support in regards to our case for [our daughter] to get an education and a specialist school along with a strong supporting educational statement. It should go without saying but it truly is appreciated.
From the outset this has been - I am sure you will agree - not just a journey but perhaps a double circumnavigation of much that is disability education. We would rather not have made it but when things have been tough and low for us we've been glad we were 'traveling with you'.
Douglas - I'm sure you have heard it all - but at times this really has felt like we are trying to push water uphill while nailing jelly to a wall.
We've never assumed anything and until the deadlines have passed we still won't completely feel like we have succeeded. Call it 'bitter experience'! However, [our daughter's] statement remains very strong and we can't help but feel some reinforcement from the Tribunal's decision in regards to her school placement.
We know this is only part of the journey. We have our own personal journey to make with [our daughter] in helping her - and indeed all of us - adjust to a new school, being away from home and all the changes that entails. None of this has been done lightly - as you know better than most - and all of it aims to help [our daughter] to get an appropriate education and be better prepared for life.
Thank you also for your insight and your common-sense approach to handling our case - and us!"
"[We] are sincerely grateful for all your help and guidance over the last two years."
"[We] want to thank you for all the time and effort you have all put into our case. It’s been a real battle and the efforts you have all made at different times have been stalwart.
Thank you all."
"We thought you may like to know that [our son] has just completed entry level GCSE papers, a year early, in the following subjects and got the following results :
English : Grade 3
Food Studies : Grade 3
Information & Communication Tech : Grade 3
Mathematics : Grade 2
Humanities : Grade 3
These are the highest marks that can be achieved, and academically, [he] is now top of the school. Also some of [his] course work for the final GCSE paper in English has already been completed and put in a file ready to be submitted next year. Considering where we were with him 4 years ago, I think you will agree, it is quite phenomenal.
We are amazed with these results, and we thought you may like to know just how well [he] has come on since getting him a statement and into [his new school].
We will obviously keep you up-to-date with [his] ongoing progress.
"Thank you very much for all your hard work.
I have recommended you to a friend of mine's sister.
You have made a real difference to our lives and we thank you very much
"I have been meaning to give you an update on [our daughter].
[She] is doing very well at school with the additional support and therapy that she so clearly needed and that we only obtained by taking our case to the Tribunal. She can now write her own name, which is fabulous progress. The specialist teaching, that the LA were so keen to deny her, is making a very real difference. She is even starting to read some simple words.
For the first time since she started school, she is finally making some progress. It is slow, and it is small, but it is steady progress in all aspects. The occupational therapy that she is receiving is slowing improving her balance, co-ordination, fine and gross motor skills. Her speech and language and communication, whilst still an area of significant difficulty, is noticeably improving. This in turn reduces her frustration at not being able express herself, and this reduces the incidences of her having "meltdowns".
It is truly wonderful to see her developing, and we know that this is only made possible because we won our Tribunal case, and this was only possible because of the skill and dedication of Douglas and all the team.
We are realistic. We know that [our daughter] will always be a child with a range of complex needs, who will need significant ongoing support, but because of the support and therapy she is receiving, she now has a real opportunity to reach HER own potential. She is a happy little girl and as her parents we work at continuing to ensure that her self-confidence remains high. She is increasingly aware that she is different from other children. As you know, [our daughter] attends a faith school. She sometimes says " OK, I need extra help at school. That's just the way God made me!" Which we think is a great attitude for her to have!
The experience of dealing with the LEA and going to Tribunal has prompted me to become increasingly involved in SEND issues. I can see no point in complaining about "the system" unless you can be constructively involved. I belong to various SEND support/campaign groups. At the moment, I am working my way through the SEN Green Paper, all 134 pages of it. No doubt Douglas, with his ability to speed read, has already read and digested it. I am rather hoping that Douglas will put something on his website..."
"Thank you so much for all your updates, I always read them with a smile on your face. Tell your dear daughter I agree with her and you should some day get a proper job and slow down a little. Ha ha! But not just yet because we need you!
On a more personal note, I enclose a copy of [my son’s] latest annual review. He has blossomed beyond what I could have hoped for and makes friends everywhere he goes. There really aren’t enough words to say thank you; without you this wouldn’t have happened. Although I sometimes feel your embarrassment, I cant keep from saying it and telling people over and over again; the work you and the team you’ve surrounded yourself with and the hope you give to parents when everything seems hopeless is nothing short of a miracle."
"I thought that you would like to know how the Annual Review meeting went, particularly as you were kind enough to advise me.
[the Annual Review meeting is described]
So I am hopeful that the LEA will leave her Statement as it is and that I may get "a year off" before the next AR, in October 2011.
We would be delighted if [our daughter] did eventually make enough significant progress to reduce her 1:1 support in school but we will not tolerate the LEA removing it too soon, for budgetary reasons, which would not be in the best interests of [our daughter's] needs.
In the current economic situation, with public spending cuts, the LEA will clearly be looking to save money by reducing the provision in Statements.
I have had to write a couple of very firm letters to the LEA regarding non-compliance (delay in obtaining the specialist SpLD/dyslexia teaching) but that has now all been put in place.
Once again, many thanks for all your help and advice - I now find myself thinking to myself during difficult points in a meeting "what would Douglas do?" which helps me to curb my impetuousness, keep calm and produce a considered response."
"We just have to write and tell you about the incredible transformation in [our daughter] after her start at [her new school] last month. She has found new confidence and joy in learning that we never imagined possible! The residential school life is suiting her perfectly. She is in a class with 3 girls and 4 boys and she has already been class captain along with a string of other certificates and responsibilities. She is going to clubs every evening and when she can be persuaded to take a break from the fun to speak to her parents (!), she is full of happy chat and news.
The staff are delighted with her progress. Some comments from her feedback letters:
'It has been poetry in motion. We keep waiting for the behaviour that her previous school warned us of but nothing yet.'
'[Our daughter] has been our class captain of the week and has done a brilliant job and has really enjoyed having this role. [She] has also been very grown up this week and stayed in assembly everyday.'
[Our daughter] has settled to sleep very well each evening and she has settled into the living area routine well and sometimes remembers more then the staff what to do next! [She] has eaten in the dining room every day and is eating very well at all mealtimes especially breakfast.'
[Our daughter] is off to her first birthday party this weekend - very exciting for her.
[Our daughter] is a different girl: enjoying reading and homework; loving all the activities in school; fully included and a leader in all she does. We would have never dared to dream that we would see this happen.
[Our daughter] will be home this evening and I can guarantee that by tomorrow morning she will be counting down the hours until she can go back to school again!
You and your team will always have a very special place in [our daughter's] journey. Thank you."
"We cannot thank Douglas Silas and all of his hard working team enough for the wonderful Tribunal decision, which means that our daughter will now receive the support and therapy that she needs to progress in school. She is now so much happier and is enjoying school much more and is making good progress.
When we had our initial meeting with Douglas, we were so impressed with his friendly, personable nature, his empathy and his legal knowledge (not to mention his amazing ability to speed read documents!) that my husband and I both came out of the meeting agreeing that Douglas was "the man for the job" and we have never regretted that decision.
The only previous experience that we had of instructing a solicitor was when we bought our home! So deciding to take legal action against a large public body, with their own legal department, such as the County Council, was tremendously daunting, but we felt that we had no choice; we simply could not allow the Local Education Authority to let our daughter down.
We were even more daunted when we found out that the LA were going to be using a barrister, but we had no need to worry with Douglas Silas representing us!
Douglas Silas is a "new" type of solicitor, forget any idea of being staid and stuffy - Douglas has a wicked sense of humour! We also appreciated the transparent fee system - which was very reassuring to us.
We trust the advice of Douglas absolutely - if you want the best person, then without hesitation, I would recommend Douglas and all of his team!
We wish you continued success!"
"Well, [our son] is all set to start [his new school] on [Monday next week] and we can’t quite believe it.
When I came for my first meeting with you I had already instructed a different solicitor to help me with [our son’s] case. However, I never really felt comfortable with my choice and I think in many ways that is what led me to you.
I realised from our first meeting that I wanted to work with you although at the time I couldn’t quite put my finger on why. I remember coming home to [my spouse] and saying you really must meet this man he is fascinating. I think I sensed your talent straight away but you had a kindness about you that I was not expecting.
I realised in time that not only was I right to think that you are fascinating but you are kind, generous, funny and most of all very clever and well respected. I have always felt from the onset that I was in very safe hands, that whatever the final outcome we would have done our best for [our son] and that if we couldn’t win our case with your team we wouldn’t have been able to win it with anyone else.
To go on to win it in the way that we did was amazing and probably the first time in the past two years that we felt [our son’s] situation had been clearly defined and was being fairly assessed.
Without exception everyone at Douglas Silas Solicitors has been efficient, kind, committed, sensitive (thanks for the tissues!) and approachable. There has never been a time when I did not feel I could trust your judgement and I always felt my opinions were being heard and understood. This made a huge difference to both of us.
We are looking forward to updating you on [our son's] progress.
With very best wishes and thanks"
[Then sent a week later]
"I wasn’t expecting to have much of an update for you regarding [our son] this soon after starting [his new school]. However, I just have to let you know that he is a completely changed child. Relaxed, happy, well behaved (well most of the time!) and eager to learn. All of the logistical issues that we thought he would struggle with (early start, formal environment, his first ever school uniform, daily homework, being taken away from his friends) he has embraced with tremendous enthusiasm, we are very proud of him.
The defining moment for me came when on day 2 he signed up for an afterschool club. He had dropped out of all afterschool activities at his previous school and wouldn’t contemplate starting anything new unless he knew the other children attending. He now happily stays behind on a Thursday for [a club] and [his sister] and I pop down on the tube to collect him. He is very, very happy. It is [his sister]and I who are struggling as we miss him when he is not here!
This is clearly going to be life changing for [our son] and we couldn’t have done this without you!"
"We could not have done this without the expertise of Douglas and his excellent team. They were always readily available for advice and help at a time that is an all consuming and painful experience. He is very well respected and has many connections and so was able to personally engage the many experts we would need for tribunal ,we found this extremely valuable. Our son will now receive the specialist education that he needs .”
"We would just like to say a huge
thank you to you and your excellent team for your total support and expert guidance during our long and difficult journey.
We feel that you all have been so patient and understanding thoughout and truly care about what you do. The whole process has been very emotional for us and your whole team has been completely sensitive to this at all times.
No matter what the outcome of the Tribunal we know that with your help we have done our vey best for [our son] and will have no hesitation in recommending you. Thankyou."
"I just wanted to take a moment to say 'Thank You'. Yesterday [our daughter] had her leaving ceremony from [College] and I was so proud to see how happy and confident she was. This could not have happened without your expertise, support and tenacity.
Every time I have the opportunity I tell people about your firm and tell them the story of how you fought for us and [our daughter] to ensure the best educational experience for her. The outcome was worth far more than we paid for your services and your sensitivity through the difficult period made it feel less like a business engagement and more like support from a friend.
We are moving back to America in 3 weeks but I will always remember you and I wish you well in the future."
"Just a note to say thank you so much for all your excellent work on [our son's] case, and congratulations on another victory!
It has been a real pleasure working with you over the past 18 months. You have always dealt with our questions promptly and fully, and put our minds at ease on the occasions when we have had doubts or worries about the case.
Please also pass on our thanks to the team for all their hard work and support."
“My gratitude goes to all of you for the support throughout! [My daughter] is now 16 and a happy child overall thanks to ‘your’ help and support. Thank you for being in ‘our’ lives and managing to sustain us against all the odds. May you always be given the strength to carry on helping other families like ourselves and in return may God bless you and your family. Keep up the good work.”
"Just a quick note to let you know that [our son's] statement is in the process of being finalised and he has a placement at... the school of my choice.
Thank you all so much for your previous help and support, without your help I'm sure I would not have got this far."
"We just want to once again thank you so much for all your hard work and fantastic input with our recent educational tribunal case. Things were not always easy or plain sailing but without you and all you superb advice, help, support and your recommendations to further specialist witnesses and all their reports, we simply would not have had the wonderful result we finally received and we would not hesitate to recommend you in the future."
"I apologise for taking so long to put pen to paper in order to thank you for your continued support through 2005-2006 regarding my fight for [my daughter's] education. I hope that you all realise how much you mean to me and also that you have given me my daughter back!!
Every day, I pray that your practice will grow from strength to strength ensuring that many who come through your doors are equally re-assured of your true professionalism and unconditional support. You are a very, very good man Douglas and are God-sent and blessed with exceptional passion and compassion for the job you do so well.
May the blessings from above always be there throughout your life and may those that you have to support you do your work be equally blessed. On many occasions I have felt like my entire life had taken a much deserved upward swing because of you touching [my daughter's] life and making sure it improves and sustains her throughout. But also knowing that you were the Guardians Angels’ sent to me to do the job well and with Grace"
"Whether we win or lose, we know we had the best legal representation."
"Thank you very much, again, for successfully securing a place at the school we wanted for our son with a good amended statement. He is deliriously happy to be back at school."
"I write to thank you for the commitment and drive you devoted to our son's case. Although the whole experience (of the High Court) was traumatic, your confident and competent manner was very reassuring. It was a fantastic feeling when the judge ruled in our favour.
We cannot thank you enough for this wonderful result. I know it was not an easy case to win, and that made success even sweeter. I would also like to thank all your staff for all their hard work, especially your secretary, Natasha, she is not only super efficient, but super friendly.
I would not hesitate to recommend your services, in particular to parents of children with special needs, as your empathy and compassion was very much appreciated. I and all my family thank you once again."
"I trust you with my eyes closed."
"I can’t tell you enough about what you have managed to do for my little boy."
"We write to thank you for your help, support and friendship during a very difficult and emotional time. Taking the LEA to the Tribunal itself was one of the most daunting and weighty things we have ever had to do. We were so pleased to have you with us. You felt like one of the family!
Prior to the day you told us what to expect and on the day you explained the complexities of events as they unfolded. In the months leading up to the hearing, we had followed your advice when preparing the case and during it we understood why you had previously asked us to consider certain points. They all in turn became relevant and we were pleased that you had anticipated their arrival and made preparations to cover them.
We felt we had gone in with the best possible case we could, orchestrated by you and your excellent team. Even if we had lost we would still have felt that you had told the members of the tribunal all the things we wanted to say but didn't know how to.
It’s not just your in-depth knowledge of education law nor the fact that you've got a great team behind you, but we feel you cared deeply about our plight and how important it was for our son to get the correct help he needed.
We know that everyone says you are the best at what you do - you are! But where the impersonal area of law meets the emotively charged area of the wellbeing of your child you understand both. We were both in tears when you told us that we'd won - we couldn't have done it without you."
"I love my solicitor!"
"Thank you for all you have done."
"I just want to say thank you for pointing me in the right direction over [my son's] transport. I had a call yesterday and he will now be in a taxi. I'm surprised that they gave in so easily, but I'm sure that is partly because I knew what to say now and they knew that we have your support."
"I wish you lots of luck with your business, which I have no doubt will go from strength to strength."
"I thought I would just update you regarding the progress of our request for a formal assessment for our son, which you helped us to appeal when county refused to assess. The LEA withdrew their appeal before the tribunal and he has now been formally assessed. All of the professionals were clear he should have more help and we have also today received their proposed statement which includes OT treatment, ICT assessment and more help in the classroom.
I know that you weren't involved all along but we are very grateful for the time you gave us as it really helped - not least your advice to keep going as county may back down - which of course they did. The main thing is [our son] should now hopefully receive the helps he needs - so thanks!"
"You are superb solicitor, thank you for supporting us so much, I’ve always felt safe as your client."
"Wow, total respect. I could never have done that."
"I can't thank you enough for what you have done for us so far and recommending us to (an educational psychologist) which as it turns out has been exactly what we needed in our case. Thank you also for managing our case in a manner which we could actually afford and has been best all round. That has saved us a tremendous amount of money and for that I thank you. I am more confident now that we can get a result and coming to you has been the best thing we could have done. I would certainly recommend you to anyone that has been in the same boat as us."
"Just to say "Thanks" for all your help and advice in helping us prepare for [our Tribunal hearing], which is really greatly appreciated . We are all prepared and ready to go and will let you know how we get on."
"We wanted to thank you so much for all you have done for us in relation to [our son's] educational provision.
It only seems like yesterday that we first appeared in your office! At each stage of the proceedings you have both advised and supported us, and we, and [our son], are very grateful indeed."
"I will definitely recommend you to anyone else who finds themselves in the same difficult situation as I was in."
"I would like to add that we appreciate your comments and your advice as to whether to pursue our costs with the LEA and realise that we are going to have to let this drop. Still the ultimate aim was to get our son a statement and we really could not ask for more. His future is what is more important than anything and we think he is now going to be in the right environment with the help that he deserves at long last. It has only been as a result of your continued help coupled with that of the education psychologist that we have come this far, and we thank you for that.
We would finally like to add that we too have found you a pleasure to work with on this and thank you sincerely for everything.”
"I am sorry it has taken me so long to say this but I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you did for our son.”
"I hope you appreciate that we are very very pleased with the way you and your team have prepared this tortuous case. Your advice throughout has been very clear and sound. Your preparation on the day was absolutely outstanding and the way you guided us through an eight and a half marathon was superb.
We don’t at this juncture know how things will turn out but we think that with you and your firm’s excellent assistance we have done the very best we can for our son. We have absolutely no hesitation in recommending you and your firm to other Special Needs parents who require specialist legal advice. Your counsel throughout has been authoritative, apposite and kind.
We also gratefully acknowledge the opportunity you provided us to pay for the tribunal on a fixed fee basis and we gladly enclose a cheque for the disbursements (direct debits will take care of the rest). This has been a very expensive and time consuming business for all of us, and your (in this case) selfless guidance is very much appreciated.
I am very pleased that you and your firm accepted and have handled the case. And have handled it so very well.
Please accept our most sincere appreciation for everything that you have done for our son and ourselves.
We have all done our best. This is all we could have hoped to have done. "
"I would like to thank you very much for everything you’ve done for us, for all the help and advice that you have provided along the way and also for getting an Educational Psychologist on board as well. I personally felt at the beginning that we wouldn’t be where we are now, I didn’t think we stood a chance, but you gave us the confidence to pursue this and to get a statement for [our son] after all this time. We can’t thank you enough for what you’ve done.”
"A short note to let you know that [our son] appears to be settling in quite well at his new school.
I hope the next year of you firm sees more success in the vein of our son. In his case, it was a long and tortuous path but with your expert guidance we got there. We wish you the same success in other cases-and we have every confidence that you will be successful."
"Thank you, as always, for your comprehensive, understanding, and honest appraisal of our situation.
Your comments have always been insightful, and helpful, and we appreciate the next steps that you suggest.
Certainly we feel much better informed, and capable of dealing with what lies ahead than when we first met you."
“I want to tell you how very pleased I am with the way that you are handling my case in such a professional manner. There is no way we would have got to this stage without you writing our appeal.”
"We are writing a little belatedly, to thank you very sincerely for all your help with [our son's] recent SENDIST case.
As you know we are tremendously delighted at the result of the SENDIST appeal. In many ways the journey has felt like a marathon, with our resolve and stamina being tested time and time again along the way.
Over the course of this journey, we really felt that your guidance and expert advice was absolutely first class. Whilst we have not experienced a SENDIST appeal before, we knew that the case was extremely difficult and complex and were well aware of the need to remain both flexible and consistent in our approach to the appeal. In difficult circumstances, your approach to this was really excellent.
We also knew that we needed a highly professional advocate and one which we could work together with as a team. We appreciated your very clear communicative style and your user-friendly and responsive approach. In fact, we have thoroughly enjoyed our dealings with you!
We also knew that there would be some difficult decisions along the way and were truly grateful for your guidance and leadership at many crucial moments over the past 6-7 months or so.
Whilst not wishing to dwell on what happened on the day of the tribunal, we also feel it to be essential to thank you for the huge amount of extra work that entering the final submissions to the panel entailed for you.
As you know [our son] started at [his new school] last week. We are naturally thrilled at this and look forward to the positive changes this will undoubtedly bring. We very much hope that it will not be necessary to go back to Tribunal to justify [his] place, however, if the situation arises, we shall of course not hesitate to contact you.
Once again, many, many thanks for all your hard work."
"[We] would like to pass on our sincere thanks to you and your team for all the hard work you have put into [our son's] appeal.
We are very pleased that [his] needs have finally been acknowledged by [the] LEA and are extremely grateful to you for helping to ensure that his package of support and provision has been increased so substantially and sensibly.
We have already met with the head teacher and the SENCO at [the school] and things are looking tentatively positive for the future. Lines of communication certainly seem open, which is a very good thing.
Thank you all, once again, and very best wishes for the future."
"I would like to thank you once again for the work you have done on your case thus far, and to offer you my very genuine best wishes for the future."
"Many thanks for sending these last pieces of advice for the Tribunal. They are helpful beyond your obligations and really very much appreciated.
Thank you also for your good wishes for the Hearing and for us. I will let you know the outcome as soon as I know it."
"I wanted to let you know as soon as possible that we had a very successful, if not definitive outcome at our Tribunal today.
The outcome was that the panel ruled against [the LEA's school] there and then. This was an absolutely massive relief.
We made great use of your Working Document, your advice about demonstrating how Parts 2 and 3 couldn't be fully met at [the LEA's school], and so much of the work you've done.
I want to thank you profusely for your help in getting us to the advantageous position we're in today."
"[My daughter] has completed her first week at [her new school]. I am possibly the happiest mother on the planet! To see her achieving - swimming, trip to an adventure playground, cooking and much more is amazing. It has been a very difficult week for her but she did it. I now know for certain it would have been impossible to get her to settle at [the LEA's school].
My main problem to overcome now is how much I miss her!"
"I'd like to say thank you for all of your help and kindness in matters relating to [my daughter]. I really appreciated your help."