In our everyday lives, the very mention of ‘lawyer’ can conjure up stressful feelings and dread. We automatically picture lots of money sifting through our hands, and then a kind of paralysis sets in. We wonder how on earth we’re going to get through mountains of listings and compare lawyers, when all we need is one who understands our situation and is capable of responding, now.
Of course the core human rights necessary to our growth and happiness, are protected by the laws of the land. So, why are we so intimidated when the subject comes down to legalities? Maybe it’s because there are so many courtroom drama TV shows, and movies about criminal investigations and manhunts – not to mention the news media bringing criminal acts and corruption into our homes on a daily basis.
Justice is a big word. And it’s true, that when it comes to violent crimes and lengthy trials things don’t always turn out the way they should; which doesn’t help reassure us much. But, when we’re dealing with things that are part of our daily existence, the laws are mainly there to make it very plain – exactly who is responsible for specific actions, that there is follow-through and accountability on all sides, and that all parties clearly understand the commitment.
Let’s look at some basic components involved when you search for legal assistance, as well as factors with which you might compare lawyers.
Obviously you wouldn’t expect completely accurate advice about selling your property from a divorce lawyer. Though they may have some basic legal knowledge on the subject, they certainly aren’t going to have the depth of expertise that a property solicitor must inherently possess.
It’s important to approach a professional who is most familiar with your area of concern – whether it is construction law, contract law, or any one of the dozens of specialties available within the UK legal system. It may seem extravagant to choose in this manner, but in the end it will save you time and money to be on track from the onset. For instance, small business lawyers are especially helpful with new startup owners, who are many times so distracted that they make really large errors.
One thing you can count on when you turn to a lawyer for help is something called ‘legal professional privilege’ – which offers the client protection from their solicitor disclosing evidence that might incriminate them. It’s deemed a fundamental human right by most civilised countries (the UK included), and can only be waived by the client.
Legal advice privilege means that when you seek assistance, you can feel free to communicate everything your lawyer needs to know in order for them to best represent your interests. Litigation privilege additionally includes third party conversations with the client or lawyer, as needed to construct a case.
Referrals and Reviews
A legal referral isn’t exactly like a restaurant recommendation. Not everyone wants to bring up a subject to friends or associates that they’d rather not share. What’s important to one person isn’t necessarily a good barometer for another when it comes to a topic that involves personal actions (like divorce), or business contracts and trademark advice. And, certainly you want to be sure that you are dealing with a licenced professional before continuing.
There are plenty of online reviews to read, but remember there are random review sites which contain fake paid reviews purchased by competitors to knock down your standings. These websites are also an easy mark for someone with ‘an axe to grind,’ rather than a reliable source from which to make a decision.
If a law firm’s site has published testimonials, you can bet they are real, and verifiable. Also, chambers of commerce and trade associations within the industry are places to look for any unresolved issues or complaints.
Plunking down a retainer up front can be fairly daunting. Not knowing how far it’s going to take you in the process is disconcerting, and one of the main reasons people choose not to hire a professional solicitor unless it’s a desperate situation. When you find an opportunity to pose your question (state your case) at no cost, and then receive multiple fixed-rate quotes for the task at hand, it can open up a whole new world. And, it feels a whole lot different when you can proceed knowing exactly what to expect.
The fact that technology allows our lawyers here at Linkilaw to participate in an online virtual community can make a considerable difference in the bottom line cost to you. If you take away the high overhead of maintaining a commercial space (and all the integral expenses that go along with it) what’s left is a responsive legal professional who understands their value to you can increase when they aren’t bogged down by maintaining a fancy physical location.