Finding a solicitor
Because we are independent, we cannot tell you which solicitor to use. However, we can give you some advice on how to find a solicitor who is best suited to your individual needs. There are quite a few factors you will need to consider when choosing a solicitor, and it is wise to shop around—begin by finding a few that meet your basic requirements, and then contact them to find out more about how they can help you. It is important that you find one that you feel comfortable using, to get the best out of your working relationship.
This page can help you with
A couple of useful resources to get you started:
Finding a solicitor
You can use the Law Society's find a solicitor database to find solicitors in England and Wales. This database gives you the option to filter your search according to
- where they are (either in this country, or working abroad but qualified in English and Welsh law)
- which areas of law they practice in
- whether they are members of an accreditation scheme
- whether they have wheelchair access
- whether they can speak a language other than English, and
- whether they employ trainee solicitors alongside fully-qualified ones.
Areas of law and accreditation schemes
Because the law is complicated and covers many different areas, many solicitors and legal advisors now specialise and have detailed knowledge of the law in certain areas, such as
- problems with your job (employment law), such as unfair dismissal
- personal injury claims, and gaining compensation for injuries caused by others
- clinical or medical negligence
- family law and mediation, for example when going through a divorce or an adoption, or
- immigration and asylum law.
Depending on the complexity of your problem, it may be wise to seek specialist advice so that you know that your solicitor has a thorough knowledge of the area they cover. The Law Society and the SRA run the Lexcel quality assurance accreditation schemes. These schemes cover over a dozen areas of law and accreditation scheme members have demonstrated their special competence in their particular area of law to the satisfaction of the Law Society and the SRA.
Narrowing down your search
Many solicitors will give a cheap or free interview to begin with, so that you can find out whether they can provide the right help for you.
To prepare for the interview, you may want to look at the Law Society's series of guides to common legal issues, so that you know what issues you might need to consider. During the interview, be sure to
- have a list of the points you want to cover and tick them off as you go along, making notes of what is said
- have full details of your legal issue, including any relevant paperwork
- have identification—this is a standard requirement
- find out about the fees or costs involved, such as how the solicitor will charge for the work, whether they conduct legal aid or pro bono (free) work, and any conditions applicable to the charges involved
- discuss any reasonable adjustments you may need them to make for you if you have a disability or special need, and
- be clear as to whether the solicitor is taking on the work—A solicitor may refuse to take your case if, for example the legal action you are planning to take is not in your best interest, or if the work involved is likely to cost a lot more than the outcome is worth; and
- what, if anything, you want to happen as a result of the interview.
Asking amongst family, friends, colleagues, and other people you know who have experienced similar issues can be a good way to find recommendations and get helpful tips and advice. You could also have a look at consumer review websites, but be aware that many people on such sites tend to use them as a means of expressing negativity rather than as a chance to relate their positive experiences, so you may not get a balanced picture.
You can also use our site to check a solicitor's regulatory record, but please bear in mind that
- we do not publish all regulatory decisions
- where we have had to take regulatory action against a solicitor or firm, they may have since resolved the issue that caused us to take action in the first place, and
- having a regulatory record is not, in itself, proof that a solicitor has been dishonest or committed misconduct; some regulatory decisions are taken as a precautionary protective measure, as a result of financial difficulties, or as a result of misunderstanding the complex rules that solicitors have to follow.
If you do check a solicitor's regulatory record and find that we have taken regulatory action against them, read through the decision thoroughly and be sure to read more about the different types of regulatory outcome, so that you can make an informed decision. You should contact us to get a complete picture of the record of the individual or firm.