For most of us, the courtroom is a place we hope to avoid unless we’re watching a legal drama on TV. However, there could come a time when you find yourself in a legal bind and need the help of a solicitor. The legal world can feel overwhelming, whether it’s a criminal matter or contentious divorce, property dispute or business clash. Below, we explore some of the essential considerations in order to find the right type of solicitor for your court case.
By Grant Longstaff. Published 8 November 2023.
What kind of solicitor do you need?
The first step is to figure out exactly what kind of solicitor can help. You’ll need to find someone who specialises in the area of law in which you need support. Do you need help with divorce, child custody or adoption? Then you might need an expert in family law. Solicitors of employment law can help with workplace disputes. Property lawyers can help with buying, selling, and leasing property. For cases involving disadvantaged, or low income individuals, you could turn to solicitors working in social welfare. Take a look at our list of law practice areas to see what kind of solicitor best suits your needs.
Do you need a local solicitor?
We live in a digital age where communication has never been easier. Couple this with the advancements in legal technology and you’ll likely find you no longer need to find a solicitor who works nearby. That said, many people still want to meet and discuss their case with the person in charge of it. For some, discussing things face to face is daunting, whilst others take comfort in hearing someone listen. Ask yourself, what works best for you and your case?
Is the solicitor accredited?
Solicitors in the UK are regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) and must meet certain requirements. To become an accredited solicitor an individual must hold certain academic qualifications and needs to meet specific character and suitability rules. By checking your solicitor is registered with the SRA you can ensure they meet all necessary requirements to practise law. You can also use the SRA website to search for a solicitor.
Some solicitors or firms also hold additional accreditation which could prove useful depending on your case. Some can indicate a greater level of expertise in a particular area of the law, whilst others may indicate excellence in client care or practice management. You can check the firm’s website or ask your solicitor about this if you’re unsure.
Questions to consider
There is a lot to think about when choosing a solicitor, but one of the most important aspects is communication. Don’t be afraid to ask how the solicitor likes to communicate. Do they prefer to use phone calls or email? Do they want to meet you, or can most of their work be carried out remotely? Try to find someone who operates in a way that suits you.
Ask about the case itself. Who will be handling it? Who is your main point of contact? If you have questions about the process then ask those too. The legal world is full of complex procedures and intricate regulations – just one of the many reasons we seek legal help – so make sure to ask about anything you don’t understand. The right solicitor will have no problem taking time to explain everything to help put you at ease.
Cost is another significant consideration as legal services can be expensive, so it’s important to have a conversation about fees at the beginning of the process. For some cases there could be a flat fee, for others, you may have to pay your solicitor by the hour. You should always ask for an estimate, and the price of any additional fees and potential charges, so you can check it meets your affordability.
When considering a solicitor, it’s important to speak to a handful of firms. This allows you to get a better understanding of what they offer, and the costs involved. It also provides you with the opportunity to get a feel for who will be handling your case. After all, you will be spending a lot of time working with one another, so it might be wise to spend a little more on a solicitor you feel comfortable with.
There isn’t a simple solution when it comes to choosing a solicitor. After checking their credentials and ensuring they’re right for your case, it ultimately comes down to you. You’ll need to feel comfortable sharing information with your solicitor, and they should support you throughout the process. When it comes to decision time, trust your instincts.