10 questions to ask your solicitor

Joe Phelan's picture
Ten questions that will help you find the right solicitor for your case.

The decision to hire the services of a solicitor is rarely one taken on a whim; it is likely you will be going through, or about to go through, a difficult period, and you should be able to rely upon a solicitor to help guide and advice you through the process.

Picking the right mortgage adviser for your situation is vital, so you can you ensure that your chosen professional is the best choice? What questions should you be asking?

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1. Have you helped someone in a similar situation?
When choosing a solicitor, you want to find someone that is not only competent and reliable, but also one with prior experience that relates to your situation.
 

2. How do you charge clients, and what should I know about fees?
When dealing with any professional, you should be clear about how much their services are likely to cost, and how their fees are determined. Costs will differ from solicitor to solicitor, so ensure you aren’t caught out by unexpected charges further down the line. It is also worth finding out whether costs are likely to change, which could be the case should new information surface, for example.
 

3. How regularly will I be kept updated of the case’s progress?
If you want to be updated on all aspects of the case’s progression, it is worth raising this point with your chosen professional. It may be that there are some elements you do not be immediately informed of, so ensure you have a clear idea in your mind of what information you are likely to receive.  
 

4. Will you be dealing with my case personally?
Ensure you know who will be dealing with your situation. It may be the case that a solicitor takes on your case but then passes some of the work on to junior associates. It is not unusual for legal professionals to work in teams or to get assistance from colleagues, but make sure you understand how your case is likely to be handled.
 

5. What kind of cases do you deal with most often?
By asking this question, you will be able to gain an understanding of your chosen solicitor’s expertise. If they have previously dealt with situations similar to your own, or if they have chosen to specialise in cases similar to yours, it may be that you will feel more comfortable working with them.
 

6. Are you happy to explain things in layman’s terms?
The legal industry is full of complex terminology and jargon. If you want to be kept up-to-date on the case’s progression but are concerned about being able to fully understand the more intricate details, it is worth asking your solicitor if they would be happy to translate everything into simple, plain English.
 

7. How will we keep in touch?
For peace of mind, as much as anything else, it is important to know not only how often communication will occur, but via what medium. Will all contact be conducted over the phone, or would you prefer to discuss the details of the ongoing situation face-to-face?
 

8. What is the likely outcome?
The answer to this will never be definitive – many things can change during the course of any legal case – but your chosen professional should be able to give you an idea of what to expect. It is better to be prepared, even in the case of bad news, rather than be hit for six by a conclusion that you had not expected.
 

9. How long will the process take?
Each case is bespoke, and there is no telling exactly how long the situation will take to resolve. However, when provided with all details, and should your solicitor have dealt with a similar scenario before, it is likely they will be able to give a rough estimate.
 

10. When will I be required to pay?
In most cases, your chosen professional will be able to give at least an indication of how much you will be required to pay and by what date. Make sure you get all fees and payment dates in writing, and don’t be afraid to negotiate if you feel you may struggle.  

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