A recent case heard before the president of the High Court concerning a solicitor who has been struck off the roll of solicitors for misconduct, highlights the need for every person to make sure that when hiring a solicitor, they are sure that they can trust him/her.
In addition to the above, here are 6 important tips which every potential client should be aware of before hiring a solicitor.
1.Hire someone you feel you can work with
Perhaps the most fundamental and human part of this is, will they get on with the solicitor? If for example if you were bringing a claim for personal injury, you could work with the solicitor for a year or two or maybe, in some cases, even longer. If you don’t like the person you’re working with, this could have an adverse effect on the progress of the case through the Injuries Board and through the courts as the last thing you will want to do is deal with the annoying person who’s trying to bring the action on your behalf.
2. Trust your instinct
If you get an uneasy feeling about a solicitor at the first or second meeting with him, then there’s a good chance that there might be something wrong. Each of us has an innate subconscious understanding of when something isn’t quite right. Go with your gut! If you don’t trust him now you’re unlikely to trust him in 12 months’ time!
3. Make sure they are insured
You should never be afraid to ask what your solicitors insurance cover is like. All solicitors must have professional Indemnity Insurance. There are different levels of cover available to the solicitor to cover different financial levels. If you have a claim which is worth two or three million euros or are buying a house or involving yourself in a commercial transaction which is worth say, €2m then if the solicitor only has professional indemnity Insurance for €1.5m, then you may want to seek your professional assistance elsewhere.
Bonus tip! You can check a law firm’s indemnity cover level here
4. Get an expert for your particular case
What speciality does your solicitor have? Not every solicitor is a general practice solicitor. Most solicitors have a speciality. For instance, my main field of work is in personal injury law although I do practice in other areas also. If you are retaining a solicitor to act in an employment law case, you’re unlikely to seek a personal injury solicitor and, likewise, if you have a personal injury matter you’re unlikely to retain a solicitor who mainly deals in house purchases and sales. Look at the solicitor’s website which would normally tell you what the solicitor does or does not do.
5. Talk about money
Don’t be afraid to ask about costs. A good law firm will try to be as open as possible about future cost for a case and, details in relation to costs should be set out to clients in writing prior to the retaining of the former Don’t just to go for whoever is the cheapest as invariably you get what you pay for. Similarly, if something is very expensive and prohibitively slow, don’t be afraid to shop around.
6. Get ‘Social Proof’
If you still don’t know who to go for, look at their online reviews from reputable sources such as Google. While you may be tempted to think that a lot of testimonials are written by the solicitor themselves on their own websites, there are strict rules surrounding the publication of such testimonials and proof can be sought to ensure that the people involved actually exist. Better again, talk to family and friends to see if they can recommend a solicitor to you who they have used in the past.
INDEPENDENT GOOGLE CLIENT REVIEWS
Anthony Carmody is a qualified solicitor with over 20 years’ experience in leading Dublin law firms. Anthony has specialised in the area of defending personal injury claims representing Insurance companies and Local Authorities, as well as undertaking claimant cases.