How to find out if a solicitor is qualified?
Hiring a solicitor is an important and potentially life-changing decision. Because of this, there is nothing wrong with taking time over the appointment and asking essential questions about the solicitor’s background beforehand.
Below are some important aspects that all clients should consider before hiring a solicitor in the UK:
- The initial check should be with The Law Society. This is the professional association that represents legal matters in England and Wales where solicitors will be registered. If you have sought out a solicitor but they are not registered on the site then they are not actually qualified to practice.
Some solicitors and law firms will be classed as accredited specialists. This means that they are experts in a particular field – be it concerning children, criminal litigation or family law – and that the Law Society has found their work to be of high-quality. Visit the Law Society website and the ‘Find a Solicitor’ page to check out your legal representative’s credentials.
- Checking other law societies related to a particular legal field is also a possible route to take. For example, Resolution is an organisation associated with Family Law where solicitors registered here will be well equipped to deal in this line of work. They will have signed up to an official code of practice that adheres them to an impartial and amiable approach to family law matters, in particular looking out for the children’s best interests.
Similar to the Law Society firm, you can check to see if your solicitor is registered with Resolution here.
- Another efficient way to check the credentials of a solicitor is to discover their history in a certain area. Some lawyers may have dedicated themselves to collaborative law or mediation for example, which can both be found on the Resolution website also.
You can check out online solicitors such as Breens Solicitors who on their own website outline the qualifications and their history in law. Depending on your circumstances and legal position, there will be solicitors who are trained in a particular area who have experience to increase your chance of success.
- Actually discussing the matter with your solicitor is perhaps the most obvious way to discover their credentials. No professional should feel uncomfortable about this and be willing to disclose as much information as is required. Also ask for their registration number with The Law Society association.
Ask questions regarding their history; for example, which types of case do they typically deal with and how long they have been practising. Enquire about their or their firm’s experience in the exact case you are facing also. Gauge their understanding of your requirements from their attitude and answers.
Forming a good relationship with your solicitor is a very important; they will be your strongest asset in the forthcoming legal action after all. Forming a degree of trust and being completely honest with each other is again a crucial factor for a successful association.
- Do research from as many sources as possible. Ask for any recommendations from friends, family and work colleagues about a suitable solicitor. Check any reviews or testimonies that are available online, looking for both positive and negative feedback. One useful site for this is LinkedIN, where many solicitors are listed with their CV’s present also.