If you have some sort of legal problem you may find yourself in need of the services of a lawyer. It may be you already have a lawyer who has acted for you previously and in whom you have trust and confidence, in which case you would probably go to them and proceed quite happily, but there are situations where you do not have an existing lawyer and are forced to the marketplace to find a new one. There is so much choice, so many firms, so many adverts, how do you pick? Here are some tips to help you find a professional, that will do a good job for you.
Listen to Recommendations
- First of all, listen to recommendations. We all know that recommendations mean a lot. Hopefully the person making the recommendation has actual knowledge of the lawyer or law firm from a previous job so they are speaking from experience. That means a lot, especially if they have had a similar legal matter as yours such as a family law matter or house purchase.
Do your Research
- Check out the law firm’s website. Look at the services they offer. What do they say about themselves as a firm. Look at the individual lawyers working there and look at their profiles. You will get a feel for the firm and what they are about and either that will be something that you like or don’t like.
Make Initial Contact
- Make initial contact with the firm. That might be by telephone or might be by an email. If the latter then set out brief details of who you are and what your matter is. If it is a dispute remember to include the details of your opponent as the law firm will need to do a conflict check. Ask whether they can help you. Don’t provide all details of the claim at this stage, just a summary, enough to give the law firm an idea of what your problem is and what sort of help you need. Then wait to hear. You will be able to judge a lot by the response.
Speed of Response?
- One determinant of people’s satisfaction with law firms is how quickly they respond. I am not sure this is the only factor you should be looking for as it is better to have quality of professional service than speed, but it is certainly reasonable to expect a reasonably prompt response to your initial enquiry, even if that is just an email back or a telephone call setting up an appointment.
Substance of Response
- Next have a look at the actual response you get. Is it positive? Does it assist you with the next step i.e. what will happen next? Will an initial telephone appointment be set up so you can discuss matters briefly then? Will a personal meeting be set up? Will your initial enquiry be progressed so you feel things are happening? You can tell a lot by the way in which a law firm interacts with you at this early stage, as to how things will be if you retain them and progress your matter with them.
Local to You – A Face to Face Service
- You need to think whether having a lawyer that is local to you is important to you. It is to some people. That way you will be able to have a face to face meeting at the start and subsequently if you like. You will meet the person who is acting for you. You will form a bond with them and hopefully be able to communicate freely and candidly about your situation. So that may be a factor in your choice of who you decide to instruct. For others this will not be an issue and you will be happy to communicate remotely. These are factors to consider.
Solicitor Client Relationship
- The first discussion or meeting however between you and the lawyer is very important. Do you feel that they have listed to your problem and understood the situation. Do you feel they understand you? Have they clearly explained the options, the way forward and how things will work? Do you feel confident in going forward with them? If you do then this will be a good situation going forward. If you don’t then think again about whether that is the right lawyer for you.
Your Lawyer’s Profile
- If you haven’t already, look at the profile of that lawyer. What are their qualifications? What is their experience? Is this someone you are happy to have advocating and speaking on your behalf as your representative, as your advocate? Do you feel confident they will put your position forward in an effective and successful way?
Much of the above is a question of instinct and whether you feel you are in safe hands but hopefully the above pointers will give you guidance to find the right professional for you to assist you in your legal situation.
Here at Parnalls we wish you all the best in choosing the right lawyer for you, and hope in some cases that will be us!