It goes without saying that your solicitor should provide a high standard of service and client care. However, there are a few simple things that you can do that will ensure that you get the best out of your solicitor and hopefully save you money too!
- Be very clear about what you want to achieve and any applicable timeframes or deadlines.
- Give your solicitor all relevant facts and documents that they will need in order to advise you – although it might seem like it will save time and money to just give them the bare minimum, context can be everything, and if he or she doesn’t have all the facts, the advice they give could be incorrect.
- If you need to supply documents to your solicitor, make sure they are complete and arranged in a logical order – that way he or she doesn’t have to spend time putting everything in order and chasing you for missing documents.
- If your solicitor asks you to provide information or documents by a certain date, try your best to do so – missing deadlines could have disastrous consequences for your case (and you could be paying for the time spent chasing you).
- Discuss with your solicitor at an early stage how they will communicate with you – for example, will you be sent copies of all correspondence, do you want weekly progress updates, is correspondence to be sent by email/post etc.
- For in-depth phone calls, schedule a time to call, rather than just calling out of the blue. Firstly this avoids the epic waste of time that is ‘voicemail tennis’. Secondly, if the call is prearranged and your solicitor knows what it is about, he or she can ensure that they have no other distractions, have the relevant papers in front of them and will have had a chance to give some thought to your query so they can advise swiftly and efficiently.
- Listen to the advice you are given. Whether or not you follow the advice is of course up to you, but make sure you understand the advice and the implications of not following it. If it has not been explained clearly, or you don’t understand any aspect, ask questions.
- Have high expectations. Legal services are not cheap and you are entitled to expect a high standard of service and client care. If you are unhappy with the service you are getting, raise it with your solicitor and if they don’t resolve the issue, ask to speak to someone more senior, and/or use the firm’s complaints procedure
- Don’t always expect favourable advice. In fact, if your solicitor is not advising you of possible risks, they might just not be doing their job properly. If your case is hopeless, the sooner you know it, the better!
- Don’t be afraid to discuss fees. When you first instruct them, your solicitor should give you clear information about the basis on which fees will be charged. They should also discuss with you the options available regarding fees (for example, fixed or capped fees, hourly rates), and, for litigious matters, possible sources of funding (for example, After the event (ATE) insurance, litigation loans, conditional fee agreements, 3rd party funding arrangements). If you are not provided with regular fee updates, ask for one.
At Woodfords, we aim to give the highest level of client care at a reasonable price. If (despite following these steps) you don’t feel that your solicitor is doing the best for you, why not get in touch to discuss how we might be able to help?