Finding the right solicitor can be tricky, time-consuming, and costly. Here's a guide on how to make sure you're making the right choice and picking the firm that will work best for you.
We often need solicitors to help us through important life decisions, but whether you're looking to move home, write your will, or manage an estate, choosing the right solicitor is hard work. There are countless companies to choose from and the jargon on websites can be confusing.
Most companies will be able to do the work, but wouldn't you prefer to find somewhere that you can rely on and come back to if you ever needed legal advice again?
Whether you're using Google as your guide or you prefer the idea of hiring a referred, recommended firm, here are some basic checks you can and should do to ensure you're making the right decision when choosing a firm.
Consider how you'd prefer to find a solicitor
Consider how you're planning on narrowing down your search. Some people prefer to contact a recommended company. We ask for recommendations from our friends and family because if they had a good experience, we feel confident that we will too.
Others prefer to search online and pick somewhere themselves based on aspects like the company website and the reviews. If you're planning on searching for a company online, consider using a website such as the Law Society Database, which helps you narrow down your search for a solicitor based on the service you need and your location.
Regardless of how you choose a company, here are some important checks to make once you've narrowed down your search.
Check both the company and solicitor are regulated
The Solicitors Regulation Authority, (SRA) is the regulatory body for solicitors in the UK. They protect the public by ensuring that all regulated legal firms meet high standards of work, investigate complaints, and regularly monitor firms. They also run a compensation scheme to ensure that those who lost money due to a solicitor's dishonesty or failure are compensated.
You can check if both a solicitor and a firm are regulated by the SRA by checking the register here. The company website should also display the SRA badge in their footer, which will show they are regulated. This is an important check as a regulated firm will be held to account if they do not treat you fairly.
Read the reviews on Google
Most company websites will display testimonials from clients but these will have been handpicked. To find the most honest reviews, check Google reviews and pay attention to how the company responds to bad reviews. These reviews cannot be removed by companies and will reflect the average experience of customers.
Look at the pricing on the company website
Two years ago the SRA, the regulatory body for solicitors in the UK, created transparency rules which meant that solicitors must publish information and pricing for certain services.
These services include;
Motoring offences (summary offences)
Immigration (excluding asylum)
Employment tribunals (unfair/wrongful dismissal)
Debt recovery (up to £100,000)
Licensing applications (business premises)
If you are looking for a solicitor to help with any of these services you can check their website as they must publish the price of the service and give information about what they will provide as well as timescales. You can use this information to check the competitiveness of firms that you're choosing from.
If you're looking for a service that is not listed here, you can ask for rough pricing information over the phone or in your first meeting.
Take a look at the company website for values and ethics
You will learn a lot about a company from looking at their website. Take a look at important parts such as their homepage and the about us page and see if it matches your ethics. Reading their website should be a deciding factor as to whether you'd be happy working with the company.
Here at Woodgate Financial Planning many of our clients have been with us for decades, and we often refer clients to our associated business, Moss Solicitors. They can help you write your Will, LPA, move home, and much more. If you'd like to find out more, you can get in touch with them here.