How to choose the best solicitor!
Most people will only have used a solicitor if they have bought a house or if they are one of the less than 50% in the UK who have made a will, so knowing who to instruct can be a daunting prospect to say the least!
It wasn’t that long ago that ‘legal services’ were only available from a traditional firm of solicitors, usually a partnership of qualified solicitors offering a range of services to the community. Such firms were operated by professionals who had undergone extensive training and were regulated, initially by the Law Society, and latterly the Solicitors Regulation Authority. In recent years however, the demand for an open market has led to a wider range of businesses offering legal services to a bewildered public. The introduction of the ‘Alternative Business Structure’ means that big business can now set up and offer legal services from conveyancing to personal injury.
With so many to options to choose from how do you go about choosing your solicitor or legal service provider? There can be no question that personal recommendation through family or friends is the best place to start. If that is not an option (or even if it is) you would do well to check that your choice is ‘Lexcel’ accredited. Lexcel is the Law Society’s own quality standard and it is rigorously enforced – any firm that is so accredited is unlikely to have any skeletons in their cupboard! In addition, if you are looking to buy or sell a house make sure your solicitors are members of the Conveyancing Quality Scheme (CQS).
For personal injury claims make sure that your solicitor is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel and check with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) to ensure your solicitor is personally mentioned. It is always wise to try and meet your solicitor face to face and make sure you feel confident in their ability to deal with your case.
The Law Society website’s ‘Find a Solicitor‘ page is easy to use and will help you identify which firms have the relevant Law Society Panel memberships.
You may not use a solicitor often but it is important to find someone who you feel you can trust with something that may be of life changing importance to you!
Ian Oliver, Partner, Compliance OfficerGeorge Ide