Alternative Fee Arrangements, Palm Print Trainers and All Things Dispute Resolution: Catching Up With Sally Mouhim After Eight Years At Acumen

31 March 2020

As this year steadily creeps further into 2020, Sally Mouhim is celebrating 8 years at ACUMEN BUSINESS LAW. Over that time Sally, Head of Dispute Resolution, has helped hundreds of clients win disputes with a phenomenal 96% having been settled outside of court to our clients’ benefit. To find out more about Sally and her time at ACUMEN, we asked her 12 questions, 1 for each year ACUMEN has been around, in five minutes. Read on to find out why Sally is a lawyer of a different kind, especially during this time as we globally face COVID-19!

  1. When did you join ACUMEN BUSINESS LAW?

I joined ACUMEN in January 2012

  1. Has anything changed since you joined?

Yes the company has grown, it’s more than doubled in size and we also now have the addition of ACUMEN PEOPLE providing personal legal services. In regards to the changes in my role, the department has grown, we’ve built a very strong client base and, more recently, helped our clients by introducing new fee arrangements which can make pursuing or defending a claim more affordable.

  1. You started offering Alternative Fee Arrangements in 2019, could you tell us a little more about this and how it works?

I wanted to try and find a way to help clients who had disputes which were important to them and valuable to their businesses, but didn’t necessarily have access to the funds to allow them to tackle the dispute. Utilising this type of arrangement allows Acumen to share some of the risk and the cost with the client.

Before any proceedings are issued, we may now be able to offer a straightforward ‘no win, no fee’, where a “win” is a settlement of a certain value agreed with the client.

If it does become necessary to issue proceedings the law doesn’t allow ‘no win, no fee’. However, we can offer a ‘no win, lower fee’ so, rather than paying our normal hourly rates, you’ll pay a significantly discounted rate throughout the case.

It’s been fantastic in enabling certain clients to proceed with our help when they might not otherwise have been able to.

  1. What is one thing about Acumen that you think people might not know?

The way we do things is different from other law firms, especially internally. We are more relaxed, we don’t wear suits, which I’ve never come across in other law firms. The way we all collaborate and make decisions, there’s no air of superiority or entitlement in terms of having people with different levels of seniority, we all work together on the same level.

  1. What’s the best thing about working in Dispute Resolution?

For me, the best thing is helping people solve their problems but I also enjoy the fact that I do that with such a wide variety of disputes. Working in this area of law can sometimes involve unique areas of law that you might not usually need to explore. I love the whole process and helping people achieve a positive result, which ultimately is what we aim to do.

  1. What is a common misconception about Dispute Resolution and the process?

What people might not know is that our efforts are aimed at trying to reach an early resolution that both parties can agree. If we can get a settlement, this can prevent the need to go to court and we’ve always done that very successfully. We’ve got a 96% success rate in settling disputes without the need to go to court and that’s what we strive to achieve as nobody wants to be locked in litigation for years. There is always the chance that you have to go to court and we are always prepared to do that in order to get the result our clients need, when the other side is not being reasonable.

  1. If you have one piece of advice to clients who are in a dispute, what would it be?

Take advice as early as you can! You can prejudice your position by saying something that, whilst completely innocent and accurate, may actually harm your case when in correspondence with the other party. So, it’s essential to take legal advice at the earliest possible stage. As a first stage, we can look at the facts and advise you on your legal position, allowing you to make the best decision on how to move forward.

  1. What was the last gift you gave someone?

The last gift I gave was for my Mum and Step-Father’s silver wedding anniversary and I got them a beautiful silver photo frame with a family photo in it.

  1. When you have 30 minutes of free time, what do you do?

I mean I would say yoga but that takes longer than 30 minutes! I like to read books and I’m not averse to catching up on some TV shows.

  1. What is something you have learnt in the last week?

I’ve learnt how to deal with a full case load whilst working from home and having the kids out of school. Top tip – Joe Wicks PE lessons are a great way to keep them entertained!

  1. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

I would love to learn how to paraglide!

  1. Lastly, what makes you a ‘lawyer of a different kind’?

Well firstly, not only do I wear fantastic colourful trainers on almost a daily basis (my palm print ones are my favourite), but I was also in the ACUMEN VIP CLUB’s Christmas Panto – that’s definitely not something you see a Lawyer doing every day!


If you need help with a dispute, please contact Sally on 01273 447 065 or email [email protected]

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