Legal advisers are there to help you understand your rights, and to use the law to solve your problem. They should do this in a way that gets you the best result as quickly as possible.
The right legal adviser for you is a person who knows about your type of problem and can deal with it in a way you want.
As with any other service, it’s a good idea to shop around before choosing a legal adviser. But it can be daunting if you’re not familiar with the legal market place, as there will be a lot to research and consider before you make your choice.
We look at the key considerations for legal buyers when choosing an adviser.
Is the firm regulated?
Regulated legal advisers must meet the standards set by their regulating body. You will also have greater buyer protection should there be any issues with their work.
Does the firm have professional insurance?
Regulated firms should have valid indemnity insurance. This will mean you can claim compensation if they are negligent.
How much is the work going to cost?
You should ask questions about fees and funding options before you instruct an adviser.
This includes being clear on what kind of charges and costs you may be liable for, such as expenses, third party costs and VAT, in addition to the cost of the legal service itself. You should also ask what will you have to pay if you lose your case.
Legal advisers are expected to be upfront about their charges and fees. If a fixed fee is not available for the type of service you need, they should be able to give you an estimate of the cost of the work on your case. This will only be a guide price but can be helpful to compare advisers and decide payment options.
What payment options are there?
Is legal aid available to you? If not, what are the payment options? Does the firm offer, for example, payment in instalments?
Who will actually be handling your case?
Ask who would be handling your case, if not the person you are already speaking to.
What are their qualifications?
It is always best to know what professional qualifications any legal adviser has, as this will affect the type of work they can do for you. This information also helps when comparing potential advisers.
What experience do they have of your type of problem?
When comparing legal advisers, it helps to know the kind of experience the adviser has specific to your type of problem.
How well do you believe they’ve understood your problem? How helpful were they in giving you advice and information?
Don’t just take their word for it. Ask friends and family for recommendations or experience, and do your own research. Look at reviews, their website, social media and as many other sources as you can.
What if there is a problem with their work?
It’s reassuring to know where to go if you have a complaint that can’t be resolved with the firm. Usually, this will be a regulator and an industry Ombudsman.
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