How to find a solicitor to win your case
Dealing with the law can be a daunting experience, but if you can find a solicitor who specialises in the issue you’re facing then you’re half way there.
Whether you’re buying or selling property, dealing with an employment claim, going through a divorce, pursuing a personal injury case, or seeking advice on family law matters, a good lawyer can make all the difference.
But how do you find the right one?
Identify Your Legal Needs
The first step in finding the right solicitor is to identify your specific legal requirements. This may seem obvious but it’s easy to overlook the fact that the law is a highly specialised area.
Legal issues can be highly complex requiring detailed knowledge. It’s not a profession for the general practitioner.
Define the area of law
Clearly define the nature of your problem and the area of law it falls under. For example, if you are buying or selling a property, you require a solicitor specialising in conveyancing.
If you are going through a divorce, a family law solicitor would be the appropriate choice. But even these categories are very broad and you may need to narrow your search even further.
For example, the solicitor who is ideal for helping you buy a nice three-bedroom home may not be the right choice if you’re looking to sell your business premises.
In the same way, the solicitor who guides you through your divorce may not be the best choice when it comes to getting the courts to order your estranged partner to return your children to you if they abscond to another country.
Horses for courses very much applies to the legal profession.
By understanding your legal needs, you can narrow down your search and focus on solicitors who specialise in the relevant field.
Seek Recommendations and Referrals
Word-of-mouth recommendations and referrals can be invaluable when searching for a solicitor. Reach out to friends, family, colleagues, and acquaintances who have dealt with similar legal matters in the past.
Ask about their experiences, the solicitors they worked with, and whether they would recommend them. Personal recommendations can provide valuable insights into the competence, professionalism, and effectiveness of a solicitor, helping you make an informed decision.
This approach has its limitations though because, while several people will have bought a house and have experience of conveyancing solicitors, very few will have faced more specialised problems like making an employment or personal injury claim.
More often than not, you will have to find a solicitor on your own.
Research and Review Solicitors
Make sure you do your research when choosing a solicitor.
If you have a word-of-mouth recommendation, don’t just accept it at face value. Visit the firm’s website to ensure the solicitor being recommended still works there.
Quality of service is often down to the individual solicitor and if they have moved on, you have no way of knowing whether they have been replaced by someone of the same calibre.
Visit the solicitor’s website and review their profiles to gain a sense of their expertise, experience, and credentials. Look for solicitors who have relevant experience in handling cases similar to yours.
The Legal 500 is a good place to start. Please note, though these may be some of the best law firms in the country but they tend to come with a fee structure to match.
There are hundreds of law firms out there who can provide an equally good service at much more competitive prices.
Online directories and legal review websites can also provide helpful information and client testimonials. Be aware though that onlive reviews can very unreliable and are open to abuse from people either publishing favourable reviews about themselves, or unfavourable reviews about rivals.
According to the Law Gazette, only about 44% of law firms bother with them anymore as they are so unreliable.
Law Society accreditations
The Law Society of England and Wales is the professional body for solicitors.
It offers accreditations and specialist certifications in various areas of law. When selecting a solicitor, consider whether they hold any specific accreditations or memberships that demonstrate their expertise and commitment to their chosen field.
For example, if you require assistance with personal injury claims, you may want to choose a solicitor who is a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL).
Check Solicitor Regulation Authority
All solicitors in the UK must be regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).
The SRA ensures that its members adhere to professional standards and ethics. Before finalising your choice, verify that the solicitor you are considering is registered with the SRA.
You can easily confirm this by checking the SRA’s online database of regulated solicitors.
Find a solicitor who cares
Effective communication and a good rapport with your solicitor are essential for a successful legal outcome.
When you find a solicitor who seems to meet all your requirements, arrange an initial consultation to gauge their communication style, responsiveness, and willingness to listen.
Ask about their availability, how they will keep you informed, and their approach to your specific case.
A solicitor who understands your needs, communicates clearly, and demonstrates empathy can help build trust and confidence throughout the legal process.
This is important in all cases but particularly so for issues that may be emotionally difficult, such as divorce cases, or employment claims where you may have been subjected to discrimination or other unfair treatment.
During court proceedings, you may have to relive some of those difficult moments. In those times, your solicitor’s ability to empathise and provide emotional support may be just as important as their detailed knowledge of the law.
You may have to go through a long and difficult legal journey with your lawyer; it will help enormously if you get on well on a personal level.
Legal costs and fees
In the end, it may largely come down to cost. Legal services can be expensive, so it’s important to discuss fees upfront.
Solicitors typically charge on an hourly basis or offer fixed-fee packages, depending on the nature of the case.
Request a written estimate of the fees involved and ask about any additional expenses, such as court fees or expert witness fees. Ensure that you have a clear understanding of the billing structure and any potential additional charges.
Be prepared to shop around
If you are unsure about your choice, consider seeking a second opinion. Consulting several solicitors can provide different perspectives and approaches to your case.
It can also help you compare fees and make a more informed decision. However, be mindful that some solicitors may charge for an initial consultation, so it’s worth clarifying this in advance.
It’s also worth noting that cutting costs doesn’t always work out. After all, paying a little extra for a good solicitor and winning is better than paying less for a mediocre solicitor and losing.
Does the solicitor ‘seem right’
When finding a solicitor, it is essential to trust your instincts. Yes, when you’ve done all the basic research and you’ve found a few solicitors who fit the bill, it may just come down to what ‘feels right’.
Take into account your initial impressions, gut feelings, and how comfortable you feel with your potential lawyer.
If you have doubts or something doesn’t feel right, it may be an indication that they’re not the right fit for you. Remember, your solicitor will be your legal advocate, so it’s crucial to choose someone you have confidence in and can work with for what could turn out to be a very long.
Let the legal battle begin
Finding the right solicitor is vital to ensuring a positive outcome whatever the legal issue at stake.
But once you’ve found the right person, make sure to cooperate and give them all the help they need to help you. Make sure to follow their advice because sometimes that may not be easy.
This will be particularly important in cases where emotion might play a part, such as childcare arrangements. Sometimes the way you see things may not be the same as the way the law sees them.
You won’t always know that but if you have done your homework and found the right solicitor, you can be confident that they will know, and that they will have the experience to steer you along the right path, even if doesn’t feel that way at the time.