• Enza Smith MBE

Choosing the right solicitor

Here are some ideas you may want to consider

The first thing to check is that the solicitor has experience of family law. You want to make sure you will be working with someone who knows what they are doing! An inexperienced solicitor could literally increase both parties’ costs by £1,000s

Family, friend and other kinship carer recommendations - Recommendations from friends, family or other carers are the persuasive factors that you should be considering

You don’t have to like your solicitor or do you?

The next thing is to like your solicitor. Choosing someone to represent you in what could be very personal and traumatic circumstances is a choice that should not be taken lightly. Make sure you get along with the solicitor, visit a few firms, then you will feel they are the right person to represent you. The solicitor needs to be collaborative but if and when required, he or she also needs to be firm and fight your corner.

I need to use a firm that is local to where I live?

It certainly isn’t a necessity as you only see your solicitor on a few occasions. However, if your only means of communicating with your lawyer is by making an appointment to go into the office, then choosing a local solicitor would be a wise choice.

What about costs?

A major consideration is of course costs. Most people put this at the top of the list. However, if you choose someone who is “the cheapest”, you may end up with someone who does not have the right experience and someone that you don’t necessarily get along with. In the end, that could end up costing a lot more. Costs are important and the solicitor should not be afraid to discuss these with you openly at the first meeting. If they don’t, consider your other options. At the end of the first meeting, you should have a good idea of the possible costs attached to each option.

Finally, go with your gut instinct

After you have considered all the points above and this is most important, after you have spoken with a selection of solicitors that you are considering using, listen to your instincts. How did they respond to your questions? Were they courteous, pleasant and friendly, whilst coming over in a confident and professional manner? Find out who would deal with your case and speak to them. Remember too, you have the right to choose which firm of solicitors you want to act for you and if you don’t, you have a right to change.

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