If you’re looking for legal advice, you’ll have no shortage of options. There are over 10,000 solicitors registered in the UK according to the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA). Online or on the high street, whether you prefer the personal touch of a sole trader (2,400) or the resources of a limited company (4,700), there’s plenty of choice – even your favourite supermarket can offer legal services!
But when you need help with a legal issue, you need to know that the person, or company, can be trusted to handle your case right, first time. So, how do you make sure you choose a solicitor that will do the best job possible? The good news is, there are three solid methods you can use to help you find the right legal practitioner.
1. Finding a solicitor using the Law Society
If you want to find a reputable local solicitor or want to check the credentials of an online (or non-local) law firm, you can use the Law Society website. The Law Society is an authority in the legal industry, providing advice, support on regulatory processes, training, insurance and education.
You can search for law firms using the Law Society’s online tool (you can also call their helpline on 020 7320 5650). Simply put in what kind of legal help you’re after, such as Money and Debt or Employment and your postcode to find solicitors near you.
Once you have the results, you can then filter by:
– The areas of law they practice in
– Law Society accreditation schemes membership
– If they accept legal aid
– Languages they speak
– Wheelchair access, hearing loops, or sign language facilities
2. Checking a solicitor is registered with the SRA
Once you’ve found a solicitor online, you can use the SRA Law Firm Search to check if they’re regulated. The SRA is responsible for regulating solicitors across England and Wales. They are the be-all and end-all of law in the UK, they’re impartial and operate to the highest possible standards.
Top tip on this: solicitors are regulated under their ‘registered name’ which is not necessarily their trading name. For example Aston Knight Solicitors Limited trade under the same name, so that’s straight forward. But Valley Claims Management Ltd trade as moneybackppi.com – so you need to check the registered name, which all solicitors should be happy to share with you.
What service to expect from an SRA regulated solicitor
SRA registered firms will offer you:
– An impartial service, giving you all the information you need to make an informed decision about what you need and who do get it from.
– Complete transparency on costs for your case, or how the costs will be calculated.
– A professional level of service from trained staff.
– A service that puts your best interests first.
– The ability to make a complaint if anything goes wrong, to both the firm and the Legal Ombudsman.
3. Ask your friends and family about their solicitor
Word of mouth is always a good way to find a trusted solicitor. Asking family and friends for a recommendation can save you a lot of searching and agonising. Just remember that each area of law differs greatly, as do the specialisms of each legal team. So, while a solicitor may have been proficient in your friend’s Family Law case, they may not be the right firm for your Business Law case, for example.
So there you have it, now you know three easy ways to find a reputable solicitor in the UK. Follow these steps and you’ll give yourself the best chance of a positive outcome, whatever legal assistance you need.