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Divorce & Family Law Help
Getting The Best Out of Your Solicitor
To be perfectly honest, getting a divorce will not be easy. Aside from the emotional and physical strain, divorce proceedings will most likely also put a dent in your budget. Most of the time, a large chunk of your expenses will go to your solicitor, as his professional or legal fee.
Solicitors’ fees are not cheap and these vary depending on the level of expertise of the solicitor, as well as the size (and reputation) of the firm he represents. Solicitors usually charge their client by the hour thus; you need to make sure that the money you hand over to them has been well earned. Be it professional services for a divorce case, a business merger, or simply the acquisition of a new property, you need to ensure that you get the best out of your solicitor.
Getting the best out of your solicitor doesn’t mean making his life miserable by squeezing him of everything he’s got. To get the most out of him (or to get your money’s worth), you need to be efficient, concise and cooperative too. This way, his time, and your money will be well spent.
To ensure that your solicitor gives you his best service, it is advisable that you:
- Make a list of all your questions and the topics you wish to bring up. Write these down in a notebook and go through this with him one by one. Make notes of his answers and do not hesitate to dwell on a topic if there’s something you do not understand. Doing this would reduce the number of follow up calls you would have to make. Remember that each call that you make to a solicitor will be tallied and billed to you.
- Make sure that you know what you are being charged for. Prior to accepting a case, solicitors are supposed to present you with a formal proposal itemising their services with the corresponding rates. Ask what each item is for and have them explain how this is related to your case.
- Although your solicitor is there to act in your behalf, remember that you should always be “in control”. Ask that you be given draft copies, for your review and comments, of all pertinent communiqués that he will send out to other parties. You should know what these contain and should be acceptable to you.
- Keep a separate file of all correspondences and keep a log of all the calls you’ve made to your solicitor. Also, all instructions to your solicitor should be made in writing. Even though your solicitor will be keeping tabs of this, it is best that you have your own file which you can easily refer to anytime. This way, you don’t have to contact your solicitor unnecessarily when you need to verify any data.
- Whenever your solicitor asks you for any information or for additional documents, it is advised that you give these to him promptly. Delays would require your solicitor to work extra which, naturally, you will be charged for.
- Since legal procedures are usually complicated and not something a layman can easily understand, it is recommended that at the end of every session, you ask your solicitor to explain what just transpired and advise you of the steps that must be taken next. If you still feel befuddled, request for further clarification before you call it a day.
If, after doing your share of responsibilities, you still feel that you are being short-changed and are not happy with the services your solicitor is providing, bring up your concerns with him first. Since you are probably not his only client, his inability to give due attention to your case may be caused by responsibilities to other clients. If, after the dialogue, you are still unsatisfied with his performance, you may take the matter up with his direct superior (if he works for a firm). In case you feel that nothing has improved, then by all means, change solicitors.
You can get the best out of your solicitor by having open lines of communication. Be receptive to his ideas and be vocal about yours. The only way he can represent your interests best is if he knows and has a clear understanding of what you want and what you expect of him.