Choosing a solicitor is no easy task. Most people often don’t carefully consider their choice of solicitor and either use a friend’s firm or recommendation or simply their nearest solicitor. It is worth spending the time researching and deciding as this process can save you a lot of money and potentially reduce any excess stress caused by unknowingly choosing a poor solicitor. Sometimes it’s easy to understand what qualities you would like a solicitor to have, but how can you tell if your solicitor has them?
How to know a good solicitor when you see one
- Have they got good communication skills?
- Are they highly motivated and dedicated?
- Are they honest ?
- Do they write well?
- Do they have a strong ability with figures and IT?
- Can they manage their time well?
- What basis do they use to charge their time to you?
Your solicitor should be friendly, come over to you as being professional and most of all knowledgeable about their subject of law.
Highly Motivated and Dedicated
Somebody told me once that Conveyancing was at the a##e end of the legal profession and most partners placed in charge of a conveyancing department would see it as being a demotion. If your solicitor appears happy, and motivated and is dedicated to looking after your case then make your own judgement as to whether they are going to deliver for you.
There’s bad apples in all walks of life but among professionals the incidence is low thankfully. Ensure your solicitor practice is covered by some form of professional indemnification in the event somebody nicks your money or your house. Don’t be afraid to ask the question and ask to see certifications as evidence.
Do they write well?
You wont be able to tell until you’ve entered into some form of transactions with your firm but being able to attain the level of qualification to pass the exams needed to become qualified should give you some satisfaction that you’re not dealing with an idiot.
Good with figures and IT
Probably not strong on both counts. They’re not known to be great computer users apart from when they are looking at rude websites on their coffee break and they are not as clever as an accountant when it comes to sums so do your own calculations independently and check their figure work.
Can they manage their time?
Certainly, when offloading loads of other client downtime onto your account which is why you should always opt to be charged on a fixed fee and not a timesheet basis.
Do not opt for time cost charging. Go for a fixed fee quotation so you know what you are going to end up paying and you can also use this figure to get a comparable quote.
There are a lot of reasons that you may need to compare solicitors but one of the main ones we cater to on this site is in regards to selling/buying property, more specifically to conveyancing. On many comparison sites they show you ratings and reviews for the different solicitors which can help you to make the decision of which solicitor to go with.
Be careful – some solicitors will helpfully include the stamp duty costs on their quotation (such as with equoteconveyancing.co.uk), and others will not. Do not let this make you think that the solicitor is expensive. Be sure that you are comparing like with like. Unfortunately, stamp duty can be very expensive (see here) but it is a cost that is outside of the control of the solicitor as it is a government tax that must be paid.
One of the biggest complaints you hear about in the aspect of Conveyancing is the inability of the solicitors to work fast without causing undue delays. A good practice would have adopted good IT systems today and if they are using a good case management system they should be able to perform most related and necessary tasks around this system like ordering searches for instance. There’s no excuse for having to wait weeks for searches these days as you can order them over the internet and receive back what you requested within a couple of hours.