Most of these blog posts are about specific situations and areas of law, but sometimes you need to get back to basics. For most people, engaging the services of a law firm isn’t something they do every day, and the process can seem a little overwhelming. Here, then, is a quick guide to making the most of your solicitor !
1. You’re paying for expertise
Although it sounds almost too obvious, it’s worth stating the fact that solicitors are experts in the law. More importantly, they are experts in how the law affects you and your situation, and how you can use the law to achieve the best outcome possible. In that sense they are interpreters of the law and intermediaries acting on your behalf. If you’re going to pay someone to act on your behalf, you need to be sure they know what they’re doing, so always be aware of the value of expertise. Unregulated advice might be cheaper to begin with, but is likely to cost you more in the long run. So why, for example appoint an unregulated will writer when you can get a will written by specialist wills and probate lawyers?
2. Know when to use a specialist
Following on from the above point, if you have a specific problem, you need specific expertise to solve it. Find a solicitor who specialises in your area of concern, whether that’s a dedicated personal injury, conveyancing, intellectual property or divorce solicitor.
3. Be prepared to hear some unwelcome news
Your solicitor is duty bound to give you best advice. When you bring a problem to them, they will describe your options, point out possible outcomes and highlight potential risks. Some of this might not be what you want to hear, but it’s better to find that out at the beginning of the process. In essence, your solicitor is helping you to make an informed choice before you commit to action.
4. All of this costs money
There’s no getting away from the fact that legal advice costs money. However, as mentioned above, beware of false economy – and also recognise the fact that you tend to get what you pay for. Of course, many law firms work on a “no win no fee” basis, especially in accident claim cases. This means that any costs incurred are paid by the other side if you win, and are absorbed by the no win no fee solicitor if you lose (in practice, this means that a solicitor will only take on your case if they feel they have a better than average chance of winning). You can also take out insurance policies to indemnify you against legal costs.
5. Prepare before you talk to your solicitor
The more thoroughly you prepare, the more you’ll get out of your time with your solicitor. Ask in advance what you need to bring to your meetings, and make sure you have all relevant documentation and paperwork to hand. Make a list of all the things you need to know, and tick them off as they’re covered. Your aim after each appointment is to leave with a complete understanding of your situation and what needs to happen next, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Finally, it’s very important that you get on with your solicitor – that they listen to you and you feel comfortable talking to them. All of our solicitors offer free initial advice on the phone and both our accident claims and divorce solicitors offer a free initial interview.