The more you prepare for your initial consultation with your solicitor, the more you’re likely to get out of it. So, make a list of the main points you want to make or the questions you want to ask. Get together any paperwork that is relevant and put it in some kind of order so you can refer to it quickly.
Make sure you have your notes in front of you and tick off each point as you go along. If you don’t understand something, ask your solicitor to explain it again - after all, that’s their job. Then, at the end of the consultation, ask to be sent a letter or email summarising the advice you've been given, and confirming the following:
- That they are willing / have taken on your case.
- Who you will be dealing with the case day-to-day.
- How much time they’ll need to see everything through.
- What they estimate costs to be.
- Any additional info or paperwork they need from you.
Solicitors have varying charges, depending on their experience and how complicated a case is, so it’s worth shopping around for the right firm for you. That’s why Law-Match is such a great service, as it allows you to have a consultation with an expert solicitor – and it doesn’t cost you a penny. All our solicitors also offer discounts to Law-Match members, so you can be sure you’re getting excellent service as well as the best value-for-money.
Fixed or hourly rate?
This is something to discuss with your solicitor at your initial consultation. Some solicitors have a fixed fee for a particular job, others charge by the hour. So, generally speaking, the longer your case takes to resolve, the more it’s going to cost you. That said, if an hourly rate is quoted, you could opt to agree a fixed spending limit with your solicitor, which he or she cannot exceed without your say so. Whether their rates are hourly or fixed, a solicitor must give you a cost estimate at your initial consultation.
From the minute you appoint a solicitor, they’re legally bound to consult you at every important stage, to check how you want to proceed. By the same token, you must tell your solicitor immediately about any changes to your personal circumstances that could affect the case. So, for instance, if there’s a change in your financial position that could alter your eligibility for legal aid, your solicitor should be the first to know.