We often think about criminal cases when we talk about lawyers but away from gripping TV dramas, many of us require legal advice in day to day life. From buying and selling houses to filing for divorce and preparing wills and estates, legal firms offer a diverse range of services. If you need advice, it’s wise to consider several factors before you choose a law firm. In this guide, we’ll offer some helpful tips to make the process simple and stress-free.
Expertise and practice areas
Lawyers and solicitors deal with a broad spectrum of cases and they work with a wide range of clients. Some firms specialise in certain practice areas while others have teams that work across a more diverse range of fields. Look for the best law firms that specialise in the area that applies to you. If you’re filing for divorce, you need advice about custody or you’re thinking about selling your business or making plans for your estate, narrow down the options based on your requirements. Filter out results that don’t match your brief and focus on firms that have expertise in the relevant practice area. You want to ensure that your lawyer has the necessary experience and training to give you the best possible advice. While all qualified lawyers will have knowledge across the board, it’s advantageous to seek help from professionals with specific interests.
Track record and experience
When you hire a lawyer, you want to enjoy peace of mind and feel confident that you’re getting the best advice. Ask to see results and compare track records. Read about different lawyers and solicitors online and find out more about them. You may feel more comfortable opting for an experienced lawyer than a practitioner who has qualified recently.
Reviews, testimonials and recommendations
Over 90% of people now check online reviews. While finding a law firm is very different to choosing a restaurant or an online store, it pays to conduct research. Read verified, independent reviews and client testimonials and ask around for recommendations. If you have friends, neighbours or colleagues who have used legal firms in your local area, ask for feedback. It can be comforting to have recommendations from people you know and trust, especially if you’re going through a hard time or you’re dealing with complex issues related to your business or family matters.
When you search for reviews, take time to go through a few pages rather than focusing on the comments at the top of the first page. It’s also a good idea to check the dates. If a firm doesn’t have any recent reviews or there are negative comments, it may be best to avoid these practices.
It’s natural to want to ensure that you have access to expert advice when you have legal issues to sort but communication and customer service are also essential. If you have questions or queries, you want to be able to get in touch. Law firms should be accessible. You should never feel like you’re putting anybody out or inconveniencing people if you have concerns. Legal matters can be complicated and there’s often a lot of information and jargon to sift through. It’s understandable to have questions. Look for a firm that has positive ratings and reviews linked to communication and relationships with clients. Customer support is critical. You don’t want to be waiting hours or days for your legal representative to reply to emails or call you back.
One of the best ways to determine which law firm is most suitable for you is to organise consultations. When you read the ‘About Us’ section or the homepage, you might get an idea of what the practice is like but actions speak louder than words. If you meet people in person or you have a telephone or video call, you’ll get a much better insight into how the firm works and how lawyers treat their clients. It’s crucial that you feel confident that you are making the right decision. Use your intuition and opt for a firm that makes you feel comfortable and at ease. In some cases, it can take weeks, months or even years to go through legal processes so it’s vital that you have a positive relationship with your legal team.
Fees and charges
The cost of legal advice and representation varies hugely. Key factors that influence the cost include the nature of the case or process, the amount of work required and the services you intend to use. The lawyer’s level of experience and the location and reputation of the firm will also impact fees.
Before you hire a legal firm, it’s beneficial to ask questions about the charges and prices so that you have an accurate idea of how much you will need to pay. Opt for firms that are transparent and compare quotes before you make a decision. Look for value rather than the lowest price. Some firms will charge more because they have a better track record or they offer a more comprehensive service, for example. It is often worth spending more to get the best possible service, especially if the firm has an excellent rating. Always ask for a full breakdown of costs. If you see adverts on TV, for example, the lowest price will be mentioned. There may be additional charges and extras to factor in, such as administration fees and taxes. If this is the case, the price may be significantly higher than the prices quoted in flyers or commercials.
Most people will need legal advice at some point in their lives. Lawyers work with a wide range of clients, covering a broad spectrum of practice areas. If you need advice or you’re looking for a law firm, it’s wise to take your time. Research local firms, read testimonials and ask for recommendations and set up consultations. Compare fees, ask for full, written breakdowns and get to know representatives. It’s essential that you feel comfortable around your lawyer and that you’re confident in their abilities.