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What To Expect When Using a Solicitor

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There are many reasons why you might need to get some advice from a legal professional. Whether these are personal or business-related, taking the first step can often seem daunting, especially if you’re unsure about the law and where you stand.  

But the role of a solicitor is to take you through the process and answer your questions. They are typically the first point of contact if you’re seeking legal guidance and will be there to explain everything from buying a house and drafting a will to resolving a dispute. Their expertise is invaluable. 

If you need some legal assistance, here’s a look at what to expect from your solicitor. 

Understanding the role of a solicitor

Unlike barristers, who tend to represent clients in court, solicitors generally give advice, draft legal documents, and frequently handle negotiations on behalf of their clients. There are many areas that solicitors can specialise in, such as property law, family law, personal injury claims, employment law, and corporate matters.

From individuals seeking advice around divorce to businesses needing guidance on how to handle data in line with GDPR rules, the legal insights offered by solicitors are varied and practical. 

As laws are updated and new ones are introduced, it’s also important that these legal representatives are aware of any changes that take place in their area of legal expertise. 

When to use a solicitor

So, how do you know if you need a solicitor? Here are some common situations that might apply:

  • Property transactions: Buying or selling property? This all involves complex legal processes. A solicitor carries out all the necessary checks. They also ensure that the relevant contracts are in order and that the transfer of ownership is smooth and legally binding.
  • Wills and probate: Drafting a will or managing an estate can be complicated. Solicitors provide guidance on the legal requirements and ensure that your wishes are clearly articulated and legally enforceable.
  • Family matters: From prenuptial agreements to divorce proceedings and child custody arrangements, solicitors offer critical support and representation. They take you through everything from clean break clauses to consent orders. 
  • Personal injury claims: If you’ve been injured due to someone else’s negligence, a solicitor can help you claim compensation, navigating the intricacies of personal injury law.

Staying Informed

Ask questions, seek regular updates, and ensure you understand the advice and actions being taken on your behalf. The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) provides information about what to expect from your solicitor and how to verify their credentials, but it’s okay to be proactive. They know to explain anything you’re unsure of. 

Ensuring accountability

Solicitors are highly trained professionals, but it’s possible that they act negligently. You might receive incorrect legal advice, they could miss an important deadline, or fail to properly prepare documents. These actions could negatively impact your case. 

If you believe your solicitor has acted negligently, it’s essential to address the issue promptly. You can file a complaint with the solicitor’s firm and, if unsatisfied, escalate it to the Legal Ombudsman. You might consider legal action to seek compensation for any losses incurred due to the solicitor’s negligence.

What happens when you choose a solicitor 

You’ll have an initial consultation, where you discuss your legal issue and determine whether the solicitor is a good fit for what you need. This consultation may be free or come at a nominal fee. Once you decide to proceed, the solicitor will outline what their services are, the processes involved, fees, and expected timelines.

You need to make sure you understand the fee structure, as legal services can be costly. Solicitors might charge on an hourly basis, a fixed fee for specific tasks, or a percentage of any settlement or transaction. Always get a clear written agreement outlining fees and services to avoid any misunderstandings later.

Are you ready to speak to your solicitor? Take the time to research the ones that specialize in what you need legal guidance for, and ask questions to make sure you’ve found the right fit.