Whether you are demanding compensations or trying to navigate discrimination or dismissal issues at work, the need for a solicitor in North East England may arise anytime. Solicitors can also help to handle custody, divorce, and other family issues, or prepare your will and contracts. These professionals also come in handy in selling and buying properties.
Whatever the case may be, you must hire the right solicitor. But the big question is, how do you identify the right solicitor among the pool of solicitors? We have some helpful tips in that regards.
Understand the difference between a barrister and a solicitor.
Sometimes, we tend to confuse a solicitor with a barrister. But the truth is they offer different services. The solicitor is who you need for most legal issues, but if you need with a relevant specialisation to handle a particular case, the barrister is your go-to option.
Some solicitors focus on certain fields. For instance, if you need help with an adoption case, you should work with a solicitor that focuses on family law over one that focuses on employment law.
Start by asking the focus of your solicitor. Do they have sufficient experience in the area of your legal issue? Understand all the options available. Do you qualify your legal aid? Or can you go for a personal compromise instead of working with a solicitor?
A good solicitor will not be bothered about you walking away. However, they will make you understand the problem on the ground and how best to resolve it.
Big firms are not a guarantee for excellent results.
How broad or expensive a firm is, does not determine their legal competence. Do not get swayed by the fact that your law firm asks for a huge amount of money as a service charge. Yes, large firms can handle multiple cases simultaneously, but this is not entirely an advantage. For instance, you may not get the priority if you are not one of their best-paying clients.
You will most likely get excellent professional help and personal attention with smaller firms. You will be surprised that most large firms are more interested in making profits to keep the firm running than providing excellent services
Do not choose based on proximity.
It is common to see people go for law firms that are close to their locations. While local attorneys are convenient to find and easy to reach, it doesn’t make them the right North East England solicitor for you.
Instead, prioritise a solicitor who specialises in your legal area, even when they are outside your local geographic area. But if your local attorney’s area of specialisation is the same as the legal area of your case, then you are good to go.
Working with a solicitor who is willing to travel also gives you a better shot at preventing indifferent bureaucracy. Such solicitors tend to provide a neutral and more comprehensive perspective. The experience also counts, especially if you are dealing with the government or large organisations. Rich experience in foreign cultures and languages can be a plus.
Be clear about the fees.
Another factor that determines whether a solicitor is right for you or not is how much they charge for their services. Knowing the cost and how to pay beforehand will help you make the right decision. It will also help you determine if you qualify for legal aid or not.
Your solicitor should also inform you of future billings (if any) and how often. Do they charge a fixed fee, for instance, an hourly rate? Or they charge as a percentage from the damages or property sold/purchased? Do they charge you for bank transfer or currency exchange? Do you pay for postage and courier, filing and registry fees, and other miscellaneous fees?
Most importantly, what payment methods are available? Do you get discounts on specific payment methods? Ask these essential questions and have the ensuing discussions before you proceed to work with any solicitor.
Prioritise effective communication.
Always go for solicitors that communicate effectively. The ideal solicitor should be able to argue, mediate, and provide accurate estimations of your chances in court. Be wary of solicitors that offer a fast resolution even when the details of the case aren’t available to them. They are mostly wrong.
Another important red flag is a solicitor who fails to keep their clients in the know. With several communication channels available, a client must always stay informed at every step of the way. You should know how frequent the communications will be and how you can be reached for official approvals before making moves.
Most big firms do not bother about these. Instead, they focus entirely on the final results. Whereas, making a client feel unimportant or lost in their case is a great disservice.
On your part, you must help your solicitor by providing as much information and documentation as you can. It would help if you also offered honest and accurate answers to questions. Lying to your solicitor to save yourself from embarrassment will only hurt the efforts of your solicitor and your chances of winning the case.
Do not decide based on word-of-mouth recommendations.
It is easy to ask friends and family for solicitor or barrister recommendations. However, the fact that their recommendations were successful with their cases is not a guarantee that they are right for your case. There are several deciding factors in cases, including methodology choice and temperament levels.
For instance, some solicitors are aggressive in their approach. While that must have worked for them in previous cases, it may not be ideal for your situation. Likewise, a solicitor who adopts a passive approach may not be suitable for an issue that requires aggressiveness. If you are emotionally invested in your case, you should find a solicitor who is sympathetic enough not to prioritise revenge over logical resolutions.
Set your requirements when searching for a solicitor. Your company, insurance provider, trade union, or any other institution you are affiliated to may recommend or assign a law firm to you. You are not obligated to work with such, especially if you do not trust their competences.
Ask about their personal range of expertise.
The personal range of expertise means how long they have been practising and what kinds of cases they have handled. Some cases are better suited for solicitors with little experience, while others require the veterans. However, it is important to note that having several years of experience doesn’t necessarily translate to better competence.
For simple cases, you should prioritise their level of communication and commitment to work instead. But if you have more complicated issues, the experience will then count. As mentioned earlier, solicitors are generalists. But even at that, they have areas they find more comfortable working in. Sole practitioners tend to have more time to spare and will most likely give your case the full attention it deserves.
You can also go a step further by finding out about their typical clients. Yes, you will not get specific details, due to the lawyer-client privileges. But you can know if your potential solicitors have worked with more individuals than companies or vice versa. The approach of solicitors who have worked with several wealthier clients are somewhat expensive, and may not match what is needed to fight for the interest of individuals who are not rich.
You should check their online reviews.
Contrary to the popular view, online reviews are a reliable means of assessing the competency and track record of a solicitor. Platforms like Review Solicitors, Glass Door, and Law Society contains reviews of law firms you can use in determining if your potential law firm is reliable.
The great thing about online reviews is that they are intentional. Online reviewers are usually enthusiastic about their experience. So, when a reviewer drops a positive review about a law firm, it is because they were impressed. Otherwise, they would not hesitate to drop a negative review.
While at it, do not expect to see a perfect review list for any law firm. No matter how good or perfect a firm can be, there will always be one or two disgruntled customers who have one thing or the other to complain about. But when these negative reviews are up to five or more, you should be concerned.
You can also use online resources to search for the right solicitor in the North East of the UK quickly. All you have to do is check through the list and decide based on your instinct and conviction. If possible, you can call and arrange meetings with a few law firms. This will help you assess them and see if they are right for the job.
Ask about their approach to resolving a legal issue.
As mentioned above, two different solicitors will most likely approach the same case in different ways. For example, you may prefer an aggressive attorney for your divorce case. But you must be sure that the temperament is not going to give the solicitor of the other party an undue advantage.
If you are seeking out-of-court resolutions in a divorce case, you are better off with an attorney that can state the facts without setting either party off. The opposite is what you need for cases of compensation of claims – only a dogged spirit will get you what you want in that regard.
So, talk to your potential solicitor about their case philosophy. This way, you can see if they are fit to represent you in your legal issue.
Inquire about their operational technology.
Is your solicitor familiar with different technological aids that may increase their (and your) chances of success? This is beyond the usual social media and internet presence or working with regular communication devices. By technological aids, we mean, how do they retrieve and preserve evidence? Do they use cloud-based services, file and document management, and other data management services?
For instance, an attorney who wants to handle your accident compensation claims must be familiar with the automobiles and machinery industry, as well as cameras and video recording. If your case is not evidence-based, the document handling system a solicitor adopts will determine if they can keep and show your files as and when due.
In cases where you are new to technology, you can ask specific questions about the needed technology and how your solicitor can help you acquire them.
Finally, you can only choose the right solicitor and set the right expectations if you understand what you want. Good luck!