If you are looking for a solicitor, it is usually because you have a legal problem that you need assistance with. Legal issues are stressful enough, and making the wrong choice with your solicitor or law firm is an added complication. Here we try to guide you through the qualities that you should look for in a law firm to ensure that the choice you make is the right one.
If you are looking for legal advice in the UK, then the qualities that you are looking for in your law firm will largely depend on who you are and the legal issue you are dealing with. For example, if you are looking for a solicitor to help you with a matrimonial dispute, then you might prefer a female solicitor or one who appears sympathetic to your position. You may need someone altogether different if you are involved in a business dispute or are selling or purchasing property. However, there are other qualities that you will need to look for, and the firm you choose should be experienced in the issues and the right size for you.
Whatever the issue, it is vital that you choose a firm that is experienced in those matters. If you are struggling with where to begin, then the best place to go is the Law Society, which has details of firms that specialise in particular areas. Alternatively, there are some legal associations, and if a firm is a member of one of these, then that is a good indication that they are a specialist in that area. Examples are the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, the Family Law Association and the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers. People that you know who may have had a similar legal issue can also be a good source of recommendations.
Finding legal advice in the UK from firms that specialise in very niche areas of practice such as clinical negligence and defamation can be difficult, and firms that have specialists in these sorts of areas tend to be located in the larger towns and cities. However, as much of today’s legal business is conducted by phone or email, you may not even need to meet your solicitor to get the advice you require.
Although certain specialisms are likely to be located within larger firms, there are many smaller firms that deal with the majority of ‘run-of-the-mill’ legal work such as family law, conveyancing, wills and personal injury. These are more likely to be the sorts of firms that are recommended by friends and family, and they can offer a more personal and dedicated service. If you find a smaller firm that is local to where you live, then you can actually meet them face to face, which can make the professional relationship easier.
These are probably the main qualities to look for, but what is really important is that you find a firm and solicitor you feel comfortable with and with whom you can have an open and honest professional relationship.