Finding a solicitor
Because we are independent from the legal profession, we cannot tell you which solicitor to use. However, we can give you advice about finding 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
Some 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.
You can search for the contact details of law firms, or individual solicitors if you already have a name.
You can 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 any Law Society accreditation schemes
- whether they accept legal aid
- whether their offices have wheelchair access, hearing loops, or sign language facilities, and
- whether they can speak languages other than English
If you need more assistance finding a solicitor you can also call the Law Society's helpline on 020 7320 5650.
Asking family, friends, colleagues and other people you know who have experienced similar legal issues can be a good way to find recommendations of solicitors and law firms to talk to.
Areas of law and accreditation schemes
Because the law is complicated and covers many different areas, many solicitors and legal advisors 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,
- immigration and asylum law.
Depending on the complexity of your problem, you may want to seek specialist advice so that you know your solicitor has good knowledge of the area they cover. The Law Society run quality marks that cover different areas of law. Solicitors and law firms that belong to those quality marks have had their skills and standards tested by the Law Society in their particular area of law. These quality marks are displayed on search results if you use the 'Find a Solicitor' website.
There are also organisations such as the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers that you can contact to find solicitors with particular areas of expertise. If you do an internet search you will be able to find details of these organisations if they exist for the legal problem you are looking for help with.
Narrowing down your search
Once you have some contact details for solicitors you can start getting in touch to explain the help that you would like from them.
You may find this easier to do by arranging to meet a solicitor face to face. However you may also find solicitors are happy to talk to you over the phone or by email instead.
Some solicitors offer cheap or free meetings to begin with, so that you can find out whether they can provide the right help for you.
To prepare, before you start talking to a solicitor you may want to look at the Law Society's series of guides to common legal issues.
You can also find facts about different legal problems on the Legal Choices website.
Some practical things you can do are 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 details to hand of your legal problem and any relevant paperwork
- ask about the fees or costs involved, and how the solicitor will charge for the work,
- discuss any adjustments you may need them to make for you if you have a disability or special need, and
- agree with the solicitor whether or not they can take on the work, as they may refuse to take your case if, in their view the legal action you want is not in your best interest, or if the work involved is likely to cost a lot more than the outcome is worth; and
- if you meet face to face with a solicitor you may also want to take along some identification - this is a standard requirement.
Another thing you can do to help narrow down your search is to read consumer review websites about solicitors. 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 about solicitors or law firms
- 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 was dishonest or committed misconduct, because 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 a well-informed decision. You should contact us to get a complete picture of the record of the individual or firm.