Choosing a solicitor can be a daunting prospect. There are so many out there, all claiming different specialisms.
It’s a big choice, so here are the three main things you need to know when choosing a solicitor.
A good starting point is the Law Society’s ‘Find a Solicitor’ tool which searches their database of over 150,000 legal professionals.
As with any big decision, you shouldn’t just settle for the first option you’re given! Like with doctors, many are more than happy to just stick with their local family solicitor who has handled their cases for years.
However, just like with your GP, your usual solicitor might only be able to help with very general issues, and you might need to go a little further to search out some specialist advice.
For this reason, you need to do a little homework. The Legal 500 is the industry authority on the best law firms around the UK, and highlights outstanding individuals in each firm, as well as showing the areas that they all specialise in.
We spoke to David Turner, Senior Partner at Osborne Morris & Morgan who said: “Checking the Legal 500 is a good place to start, as it is a really comprehensive list of the best in the business.
“There are also a host of accreditations which might be more specific to a certain area relevant to you.
“For example, as personal injury experts, we are members of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).”
These kinds of accreditations are a great indicator of a firm’s reputation, and should be a good starting point in your search for a solicitor.
Is the price right?
Estimates and prices can vary quite a bit between different firms so its best to get a couple of estimates.
However, be aware of any quotes that stand out as being particularly cheap. This can sometimes be a ploy to draw you in, after which time there will be a series of additional charges.
So while getting a good price is important, it’s crucial that you don’t make your decision based in this alone!
Just like with anything else, you get what you pay for, and you don’t want to compromise on something as important as legal advice to save a couple of quid.
Keep an eye out for firms who offer free or low fixed rate consultations as these can be very useful when testing out a couple of different solicitors.
It’s also worth checking to see if you have any legal expenses insurance which might be able to help with costs. This is sometimes attached to your home insurance.
When choosing your solicitor, you can never ask too many questions. After all, you’re parting with a lot of money for their services, so you want to know what you’re getting.
Try and find out as much as possible about your solicitor before making any decision, including things such as their experience and how long they estimate things will take, as well as specific stuff about your case.
Asking as much as possible will help you get a better idea of how knowledgeable the solicitor is, and will give you a feel of how helpful and happy to talk to you they are.
Also make sure to enquire about any Law Society accreditations that the firm or solicitors may hold.
Whichever solicitor you do choose, make sure you take your time and don’t rush into anything.
It’s a big decision, and getting it wrong can be costly, so make sure you weigh up all your options and try and find a solicitor with some real expertise in your area.