…well, I’m tempted just to say – choose LMP Law and end the article here! But actually this is quite an important choice because often if you are in the market for a lawyer, then you may be making a crisis purchase. Don’t panic, here’s my advice;
- Ask around and do your research obviously. But don’t just go on a friend or family recommendation. There are so many different areas of law, and even within an area of law, there are different specialisms. Therefore, a lawyer that helped your aunt with her house sale might not be the best person to take a contested matter to court for you. We see this all the time, and we regularly pick up cases where time and money has been wasted by using a lawyer with the wrong set of skills or experience. Nailing down a specialist for your particular scenario is vital!
- Think about whether you have a natural rapport with the potential lawyer – you don’t need to be best friends – and quite often you might disagree. However, many things can happen during a case, and it is so important to be able to communicate well with your lawyer. Sometimes things go very well, but sometimes there are difficult subjects to discuss. A case (whatever it may be) can often run a lot more smoothly if there is a base level of mutual respect and trust between lawyer and client. Building this rapport can often result in a long lasting mutually beneficial relationship. It doesn’t have to be a faceless transaction.
- Don’t be tempted just to pick the lawyer who tells you what you want to hear. Believe me, this can lead to all sorts of heartache and hardship. Think about whether the lawyer that you are interested in;
- sounds overly confident
- doesn’t discuss any opposing views or positions
- provides a quote that is extremely cheap or
- promises to get the work done in an unbelievable timescale
Any of the above should be a warning light. At the very least – try to get some comparison advice or fee quotes. If it sounds too good to be true it often us. I have found that the very best lawyers that I have ever worked with can give their client contrary advice about the prospects of their case or timescales etc. We shouldn’t be in the business of just people pleasing.
Finally, costs. Of course, it’s true that the cheapest lawyer won’t always be the best. However, aside from that, there are lots of ways to manage the costs of your case. Always ask for an estimate in advance – this should be provided to you in writing. Ask about the hourly rate and who will be conducting your work, ie Senior Solicitor or paralegal – costs could vary. Ask for a fixed fee or if you can place a cap on costs. Make sure you get regular costs updates – you’re entitled to it (and it should be provided automatically). Ask your lawyer to set out any potential hidden costs such as disbursements. Most lawyers will happily oblige and be open and transparent with costs. There can also be a choice of costs options. The best advice I can give on this subject is not to be afraid to ask if you are not sure about something. There should be no secrecy and no unexpected bills.
Hope the above information is useful in making your choice.