What you need to know when choosing a solicitor
Choosing a solicitor is never a decision that should be taken lightly. Whether you’ve been charged with a criminal offence or need help buying a new house, making sure that you have the right legal assistance can have significant implications on how the process goes.
Depending on the circumstances, it can be confusing and quite stressful trying to choose the right lawyer, so we’ve assembled some key pieces of information that you need to know when choosing a solicitor.
Choose a specialised solicitor
While you can find general practice lawyers in the UK, the lawyer who will best be able to help you will be one who specialises in your field.
The best commercial lawyer in the world will likely be able to offer very little assistance for a criminal law case – make sure that you’re specific in your search, and look only for solicitors and law firms that specialise in your exact area. If you’re not sure exactly what that area is, an internet search should be able to provide useful background information, which a solicitor can then confirm.
Use a law firm that’s the right size
With law firms, it’s not always the case that bigger is better. The biggest law firms, like those in the infamous magic circle, are built on the success of massive cases, often in international arbitration and corporate law.
They’re amazing at what they do, but they’re often not suitable for smaller cases; they’ll provide a somewhat impersonal service, for incredibly expensive fees. For most people, a smaller firm will be able to provide a more effective, personal service, for a far lower price.
Check testimonials and reviews
A great way to see if a law firm that you’ve found is a good fit for you is through reviews and testimonials. You can see if they’ve dealt with any cases that are very similar to yours, and find out the kind of result they could potentially achieve.
You’ll also be able to find out how they are to deal with it. Developing a defence can be a stressful and potentially traumatic process, and it’s important that your solicitor isn’t just technically competent but also personable and empathetic.
While it’s no secret that lawyers are often expensive, you shouldn’t necessarily be put off by high fees. First of all, although not always the case, good solicitors tend to charge more. Second, even if you can’t afford their fees yourself, you may be eligible for legal aid from the government.
Depending on the case and your personal circumstances, you may be able to receive either legal advice or money towards the costs of your case. Before writing off a solicitor for being too expensive, use the government calculator to check your eligibility for legal aid.