**updated article – April 2018**
So, you’re looking for a solicitor to represent you. There can be all sorts of reasons why you might want to engage the services of a solicitor: perhaps you have suffered a personal injury from:
- an accident at work
- a road traffic accident
- clinical negligence (where a healthcare professional has made an error which caused you pain and suffering).
- an industrial disease you have developed through your work, such as asbestosis.
Alternatively, you might require the services of a solicitor specialising in employment law – one who can help you with:
- an unfair dismissal claim
- a settlement agreement (where you are arranging how an employment should end).
- a discrimination claim
- a constructive dismissal claim (where your employer’s conduct has forced you into resigning).
Whatever your legal problem is, finding the right solicitor is crucial to successfully resolving that problem. But how do you go about finding a solicitor that is right for you?
It’s a very fair question. After all there are over 10,000 solicitors firms in England and Wales as of March 2018. No one has the time to go through the websites of that many solicitors’ firms, even if all of them had websites – which they don’t! So we’ve put together 8 tips that might just help you find the firm of solicitors that is right for you:
1. Recommendations from friends and family are not the final word
Recommendations from people you know and trust are always useful when considering your legal representatives. A very high proportion of our new clients come to us because of recommendations from satisfied former clients.
However, you should make sure that any firms recommended to you have legal experts in the field of law which is relevant to your legal problem. If they do not, then you should not follow the recommendation. After all, if your friend recommends a firm of solicitors because they did a good job of selling your friend’s house, it does not make them best placed to conduct a personal injury claim if you have been assaulted at work, for example. These two legal disciplines could not be more different. It is highly unlikely that your friend’s conveyancing solicitor will have the necessary expertise to help you though a complicated personal injury compensation claim. ‘Horses for courses’ has never been more pertinent
2. A bigger firm does not necessarily mean a better firm
Just because a firm has a lot of solicitors working for them, and a very large advertising budget, does not automatically make them the right firm for you.
At Truth Legal, we have taken over matters for clients who originally instructed large firms. Often one of the deciding factors in their decision to switch to us, is because our new clients felt they had not been receiving the care and personal attention they were entitled to expect. When this happens, it is understandable for those clients to have felt that they were just one client amongst the thousands on the big firm’s books.
Here at Truth Legal, every client receives the same high standard of professionalism, care, and attention. This stays true regardless of their claim’s value – whether it is potentially worth a million pounds in compensation or a much more modest sum
3. You don’t always have to choose a firm which is local to you, or to your place of business
40 years ago, if you had a legal problem that required a firm of solicitors, many people would have chosen a firm which was based close to them. Given that your only means of communicating with your lawyer would have been by writing and receiving letters, telephoning them from a landline, or actually making an appointment to go into the office, then choosing a local solicitor would have been a wise choice in most cases (although, even in those times, it was still crucial to make sure they had the necessary expertise to deal with your legal problem!).
Of course, there is nothing wrong in choosing to engage a local solicitor (provided they meet the other requirements we discuss in this article). We have many, many clients in the Harrogate area. It’s just that, with all the means of communication at our disposal nowadays, the local factor is far less important. Email, social media, Skype, Facetime, mobile phones, all provide ways to keep in contact with your solicitor, 24/7.
What is far more important than your solicitor being local to you, is choosing the right solicitor to act for you – irrespective of whether you are in Land’s End, for instance, and we are in Harrogate
4. Communication from your solicitor is important. Not all firms get this right.
Many clients have switched to us from other firms. Poor communication from their old firm seems to be one of the biggest single factors for motivating clients to switch to us. We have often been told by those clients that the previous firm ‘never took my calls’ or ‘never called back when they said they would’. This understandably leads to a feeling of being ‘in the dark’ about what was happening in their case.
Here at Truth Legal, you can contact us not only during working hours but in the evenings and at weekends, if emergencies arise. We keep up regular dialogue with our clients throughout our time acting for them. This comes as second nature to us. If you become a client of Truth Legal, we will be speaking to you regularly on the phone, or sending you emails, to keep you in the picture throughout your case. Whichever of our legal experts handles your matter, you will always be treated with courtesy, and in a pleasant manner, as we think these are important aspects of communication as well. Equally as important: we will speak to you in plain English – not legal jargon.
5. Just because you are engaging a firm of solicitors does not mean you will have a solicitor handling your case
We understand that many clients want their case to be dealt with by an experienced, qualified solicitor, or qualified legal executive.
Many of the clients who have asked us to take over their cases have explained to us the terrible experience of being the client of a ‘factory firm’, where scores of unqualified paralegals (with limited experience) deal with legal matters without adequate supervision. In many cases this leads to very poor legal and customer service.
Contrast this scenario with Truth Legal; if you take a look at our Meet The Team page you will see that, almost without exception, our legal team consists of qualified solicitors or legal executives, with many years of experience. Or they are training formally to become qualified (trainee solicitors are fully supervised by a senior solicitor).
Pretty much the only exception is our brilliant Legal Assistant, Miroslaw Ksiezarek who works with our Polish clients and who is highly experienced in his own right. He is training to be qualified Legal Executive and has worked with us for over three years.
6. It can be risky to choose a solicitor based on how quickly they say they can resolve your legal problem
At Truth Legal, we are able to deal with a wide variety of legal services. The time it takes to successfully conclude these different kinds of case for our clients varies greatly. Not only does this vary according to the different types of legal matter, but also within each category, depending on the particular facts relating to each individual case. Some cases, such as clinical negligence claims, will generally take longer to resolve than, say, a relatively minor road traffic accident.
As such, any promises that a firm of solicitors may make about concluding your case quickly – before they even have knowledge of your unique circumstances – should be taken with a healthy pinch of salt!
What is important is that you are assured your solicitor will be pursue your case as vigorously as possible for you, whilst ensuring that the work is done to a very high standard. At Truth Legal, we are constantly keeping our clients informed as to the likely length of time each stage of their legal matter will take. We don’t leave cases drifting along. We deal with matters promptly as they arise. Our aim is to get the best result for you in the quickest possible time, without compromising on the level of service we provide you with.
7. Check our online reviews
When deciding which restaurant to go to, which hotel to stay at, which Amazon book to buy, most of us rely on online reviews. Of course, not all online reviews – both good and bad – are not always fair, but usually an inauthentic review is easier to spot, Check out what former clients say about a particular law firm. Our reviews with Trust Pilot can be found here: https://uk.trustpilot.com/review/truthlegal.com. Make your own mind up!
8.Finally, go with your gut instinct…
Hopefully, the previous 7 tips have helped you to identify some useful considerations when choosing a solicitor that is right for you. However, after you have spoken with a firm of solicitors that you may potentially instruct, the most important consideration is this: listen to your instincts.
- How did the firm respond to your questions?
- Were they courteous, pleasant and friendly, whilst coming over in a confident and professional manner?
- Who would deal with your case if you were to instruct the firm? Speaking to them can be a useful basis for an instinctive impression.
Remember too that you have the right to choose which firm of solicitors you want acting for you. You don’t have to use any firm which may already have been ‘assigned’ to you – perhaps by your insurance company, car hire company, garage, trade union, or any other organisation. It’s your choice.
Usually having gone through all the considerations discussed, and after you have spoken with a number of solicitors, your instinct will kick in and tell you what is the right choice for you. Just make sure that you call Truth Legal – we are quietly confident that your instinct will put in a good word for us!