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Tag Archives: solicitors

Five reasons why you should use a solicitor for your legal work

Qualfied lawyers generally have more knowledge and experienceLots of people feel wary about using solicitors, considering them to be too expensive (and a bit pompous), so it is perhaps worth having a post on this blog giving the reasons why using a solicitor is generally a good idea.

1. Legal knowledge and training

It takes a long time to study and train to be a solicitor – I know, I’ve done it. There are three stages:

  • The academic stage, which is either a law degree or if you have a degree in something else, a conversation course which covers the main legal topics.
  • The professional training stage, which is normally a one year course studying the legal practice course, although you can do it part time, and
  • The practical stage where you work as a trainee solicitor at a law firm for two years.

I discussed training to be a solicitor in my blog post >>here.

Once qualified, all solicitors have to do 16 hours continuing professional development per year, and will not be given their practice certificate unless they have done this.

2. Insurance

All solicitors firms must obtain professional indemnity insurance and are not allowed to continue in practice without it.

In addition all solicitors pay into a compensation fund to cover those few situations, which are not covered by the professional indemnity insurance.

3. Solicitors code of conduct

All solicitors have to work to a code of conduct which you will find on the Solicitors Regulation Authority website.

4. Legal complaints service

There is a special organisation set up to deal with complaints against solicitors. It is called the Legal Complaints service. Visit the Legal Complaints Services web-site for more information.

You can find out more about solicitors regulation generally from the web-site of the Solicitors Regulation Authority, which has helpful information about using solicitors.

5. Legal analysis and experience

As well as the important regulatory stuff discussed above, there is another reason why a solicitor is a good choice if you have a legal problem.

As you study law, during the long procedure leading to qualification and afterwards, your brain changes and you learn to think in a different way.

I started my legal training a bit later than most and I noticed this happening. It’s difficult to describe, but it’s rather like having a radar in your head which can spot legal problems and analyse them. (I imagine the same thing happens with doctors and diagnosis).

This is the real reason why a solicitor is a good choice, and is also why they are entitled to charge what to some people may seem to be over high fees. Anyone can look something up in a book. But it takes long training and experience to understand how the rules all fit together and can be applied to any one situation. And also to anticipate the pitfalls which may trap the unwary.

A non regulated adviser or organisation, may be able to provide a perfectly adequate service for standard situations.  However not all situations are standard.  And (worryingly) this may not be immediately apparent at first glance.

Where these unregulated services often fall down is that they fail to spot those warning signs which make your situation different, and which mean that your case needs to be dealt with in a different way.

Other legal service providers

  • Legal Executives also have a long and rigorous training, are regulated, and are often just as good as a solicitor.  Sometimes they are better.  Most of the comments above about solicitors, apply to Legal Execs too.
  • Barristers have an equally rigorous training and experience to solicitors, but do not generally work directly with the public.

However non regulated advisors (including some advisors with large national charities) and unregulated quasi legal service providers may have had limited training and experience, and their advice should be treated with caution.

Housing law reform and legal aid

Its always the tenants who suffer

There have been a lot of announcements recently from the government about housing law reform, and what they intend to do in the private rented sector.   Whether any of these proposals will actually come to pass is not certain.  However I (along with many others) am concerned about the approach taken by this government, bothContinue Reading

Can agents ever sign possession claims?

We all know, or those of us who do possession proceedings know, that only the landlord (the claimant) or his solicitor can sign the court paperwork for issuing a county court claim for possession.  Claim forms being signed by letting agents is one of the top reasons why cases get chucked out by the court.Continue Reading

Becoming a lawyer

The stereotype image of a lawyer

Like many people I suspect, I was concerned to read the recent BBC report about glass ceilings which, the report said, means that “top professions such as medicine and law are increasingly being closed off to all but the most affluent families” However I am not sure I entirely agree with that. I don’t knowContinue Reading

The Law Bazaar

If you are looking for a lawyer, there is a new option available now. This is the Law Bazaar (reported by the Guardian here). Set up by solicitor Costas Andrea, fed up with the huge sums made by claims companies just for referring work to solicitors, this allows clients and lawyers to make contact direct.Continue Reading

Susskind – the end of lawyers?

Richard Susskind

I have just listened to an interesting webcast of an interview of Richard Susskind here. Susskind is promoting his new book, The End of Lawyers?: Rethinking the nature of legal services, having written several groundbreaking books on the use of IT and technology in the internet in the past. Susskind covers quite a wide rangeContinue Reading

Legal Services Commission is arrogant and devious says former supervising solicitor

Although it is not directly related to housing law, I feel I ought to draw readers attention to an excellent comment in the Law Society Gazette from Michael Burdett who previously helped the Legal Services Commission (LSC) to set up the CDS (i.e. Criminal Defence Service) direct scheme. As someone who has worked with theContinue Reading

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Tessa is an English lawyer specialising in residential landlord and tenant law.

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