solicitors north east uk

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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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!

 

Divorce is the dissolution of marriage within legal bounds, and dealing with issues connected to divorce can be very traumatic. Even so, many marriages end this way. Popularly thought to be a very common issue in the United States, but in actuality divorce rates in Europe are not much better and in fact may be worse.

It may surprise you to know that by recent survey data, both the US and the UK actually hover at around 40% divorce rate compared to others like Portugal, Belgium, and Denmark, which break 50% to 60%.

Divorce can exhaust you mentally, physically and financially so it is just right to know the direction you’re headed when thinking about divorce. Divorce laws are of course different for every country, but in some ways just divorce laws between states can be as varied as entirely different countries. As much as the US and the UK have strong similarities there are also important cultural differences.

With these oddly similar numbers, do they view marriages and divorce the same way?

1. There is no No-Fault Divorce in England and Wales.

There are two ways to approach divorce – Fault and No-Fault.

The first one is the No Fault divorce, which includes lack of support from your spouse and any other cause without any rational possibility to reconcile. This includes two parties living apart from each other for three years or more. Another case would be due to mental health issues that last for more than three years, marriage could be ended as there may be no chance for recovery.

The other type is the Fault Divorce, which often times the most common basis for divorce conditions. This includes cruelty or bad behavior and abuse towards the partner (whether mental or physical), adultery or infidelity, felony (when a partner commits crime and imprisoned for more than a year) and abandonment (when partner leaves the other for more than a year).

England and Wales does not have the provisions for no fault divorce; that is, one party cannot unilaterally decide to end the marriage due to differences. A fault-based system imposes penalties on the misbehaving party in a relationship, but of course when neither want to lose their properties and rights to their children they must have an option other than suffering a loveless marriage.

Among the grounds for divorce there is one way to achieve functionally the same result, when married partners live apart with mutual consent for at least two years. However, this period may be prolonging the pain of an irreconcilable marriage and imposes greater burden on their children. Ireland has a harsher requirement, four years before divorce is allowed under grounds of separation.

Scotland had No-Fault Divorce provisions since 2006.

2. Minimum amount of time to be married before allowed to file for divorce

In the United Kingdom, the couple must be married for at least a year prior for a divorce case to be filed for petition.

In the US, in theory you can apply for a fault-based divorce almost immediately if the marriage would be harmful. For amicable no-fault divorce, it generally depends upon the State but about one year of separation.

Alimony or terms of spousal support still tends to be awarded based the length of time being married.

3. The Decree Nisi and the Decree Absolute

Divorce proceedings in the US have an almost clinical efficiency. Most of it is spent in talks and negotiations between lawyers, only taking it to court when there must be a judgement laid on adversarial conditions regarding custody and properties.

Divorce proceedings in the UK, being an at-fault mechanism, is between the petitioner and respondent. The respondent may choose to defend (against) the divorce or file a divorce petition of their own. When the intent to defend or both sides have filed divorce petition, the court will schedule a hearing.

The Decree Nisi and the Decree Absolute are the final two stages of divorce proceedings. When the court issues the Decree Nisi, it has found that the marriage is no longer viable. After a specified amount of time, if the Decree Nisi is not given grounds to be retracted, it will become a Decree Absolute, it does not apply merely to divorce proceedings.

Even so it is possible that the court can suspend divorce process even after issuing the Decree Nisi when there is a reason for both parties to reconcile with each other. Only the petitioner may ask for this suspension.

4. Child Support Agency and maintenance

There is no court power in terms of dealing with maintenance of the children. It is now only limited to a number of special cases, when both parents apply for order of consent. These can happen in payment of school fees or when there are care costs for a disabled child. CSA assesses based on information provided and will chase when defaulted.

In this case, lawyers can assess their client’s capacity to make an application to the courts or leave it for the CSA.

In the US, a parenting plan is required and both parties are encouraged to decide on custody and visitation agreements.

5. Divorce automatic resident rules

The effect of divorce decree for a property on a different country may vary. Logistically, it would be best to file the divorce decree in the country where most of your assets are located.

Interestingly, one only needs to stay in the UK for 183 days or more to be considered a resident.

But even if you don’t, you can still be automatically considered to have legally been a resident of the UK if you have a home in the UK for (owned, rented, or lived in) more than 90 days and present in said home for at least 30 days. If you have sufficient family ties to the UK and you have spent more than 15 days with them, you may be considered a resident for jurisdictional purposes.

 

US laws allow you to file for divorce even if you were married overseas. If either you or your spouse is American, jurisdiction still often a matter of where you presently live than where you filed your marriage. Divorce across borders have much greater issues with regards to custody and division of property.

 

Article by Hadaway & Hadaway solicitors in the North East UK.

solicitors legal fees

This actually is very easy to implement and will not harm your conversion rate, if handled correctly.  You will still have the same number of clients but you will be charging them more for your services.  You will notice a wonderful increase in your profits and that’s excellent!

Why You Should Be Charging More:

If you believe you are providing an excellent service to your clientele, by all means, start charging more.  If on the other hand, you feel there’s room for improvement then you need to make some serious changes or get out of the business.   Look at it this way, if one of your clients asks for your help, I am sure you will provide them with the very best legal support to help them out. This is precisely why they came to you, to begin with.

Therefore, shouldn’t you be properly compensated for your excellent service?  The answer is an obvious yes.

How You Can Charge More.

Start Selling Your Services To Your Existing Clientele:

Keep in mind, if you start selling your services to existing clients, you have an advantage because these people are loyal to you.  You will discover they will except your increase in fees.  Let’s face it, your loyal clients contact you because you are their solicitor!  They will not have a problem with an increase in your rates so long as you continue to provide them with the same level of service they had always expected.  Just make sure your rates are not so high that you will scare them off.  Here are some valuable tips to help you increase your profits without harming your practice.

Build Loyalty:

Always communicate with your clients on a regular basis in order to build loyalty.  Contact them and find out how they are doing at least once a month.  That’s not to say pester them, just communicate with them from time to time.  If you are not communicating with your current clients, you really need to turn that around.  With the incredible software tools that are now available, it’s really quite easy to stay in touch with your clients regularly.

Obviously, if you are acting on the part of a client, you are in constant communication and providing the very best service.  When you provide a really great service, they will never consider looking elsewhere. Good client loyalty also leads to them referring you to family and friends.  I am sure there have been times that you have needed the service of a company and have experienced wonderful help and even though there are others that are cheaper, you would never consider turning to anyone else.  Your clients are the same way, so make sure you give them the service they are expecting, they are going to stay because your service has been exceptional.

Selling Your Services To New Clients:

If you are looking to bring in new clients, make sure you review your current services and make improvements where necessary.  Here are some tips to help you make some adjustments and improvements.

Are You Listening To Your Clients?

Unfortunately, many people have a habit of speaking but not listening.  In many cases, solicitors are selling their services on the telephone but forgotten that listening is more valuable than talking.  They are in such a hurry to make a sale, they have overlooked what the client’s needs are.

When you take the time to listen to what their problems are and what they are looking for, you will stand out from the crowd.  Before trying to sell them on your service, know what they are looking for.  Have they recently been injured and it wasn’t their fault?  Are they setting up a will?  Are they planning to get a divorce?  These are just a few problems that millions of clients are looking for solutions for.

If you are too busy trying to sell your practice, you are losing out because you are not listening to them and they will look elsewhere.

Match Your Service To Their Individual Needs:

Once you have listened to what they need help with, it’s much easier to tell them why your service will be a perfect match.  Look at it this way, you are young and interviewing for a job.  The personal director tells the potential employee exactly what they expect from those looking for employment.  All the director requested was that this young person repeats back exactly what he or she was looking for.  The young person repeated back every word and landed the position.  In a nutshell, they gave the director exactly what he or she was looking for.

Explain your services and let them know their needs will be met because you understand what they are going through.  That’s practically a win-win situation.

Follow-Up:

You can follow-up on your conversation with an email or a letter.  Potential clients will feel they are significant to you and that could be a winning situation.  If you don’t, the chances are you will be easily forgotten and they won’t even remember which firm you are with.

Call your prospects back and make sure you have answered all their questions and whether they need more information.

What Should You Charge:

Many solicitors, over the years, have been dropping the rates to such a low level it’s a wonder they still stay in business.  The bottom line, your service is worth what the client is willing to pay.  Some solicitors might charge. £450 for their services while another is charging  £1350 for the same services.  Where some clients might consider the £1350 as over the top, if explained properly they might reconsider when you let them know you will spending more time on their case, being in constant contact with them, and providing more time to make sure all transactions are handled correctly and in a timely manner.

Start off in small increments of  £25 and see if you convert the same number of inquiries.  If that works, increase your rates again, even though you are not to the amount you want, in the end, you will get there once you realize how much a client is willing to pay for your excellent services.

In Conclusion:

Your legal practice is your passion and you have placed a great deal of work in providing your clients with exceptional services.  Why shouldn’t you test the waters and see if increasing your rates will improve your profits while still giving your clients the services they have come to expect? Follow some of these suggestions, improve where there might be weaknesses, and make your business an even greater success.

Author: hadaway.co.uk