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Solicitors online: The facts

Shakespeare said: “First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers!” This is a desire that has spanned for centuries. However, like death and taxes, there are certain milestones in our lives in which lawyers are inevitable (most of which, ironically enough, relate to death or taxes). How can you find one that will deal with your legal issue honestly and competently?

Do I need one?

In the absence of criminal conduct, (in which case a criminal defense lawyer is required) most people only instruct solicitors when they’re buying or selling property, getting divorced, or making a will. Often, these processes seem so routine that people may wonder if they wouldn’t have been better off doing a bit of research and saving their hard-earned pounds.However, a trained expert may be able to spot problems, or an absence of problems that wouldn’t be obvious to a layperson. Apart from the very simplest of matters, many people report cash-saving success with do-it-yourself divorces where no kids or assets are involved, or making their own wills using a template. Investing money in proper advice can save enormous problems in the long run, or at least provide peace of mind.

Where can I find one?

Despite the current trend of large monolithic firms situated in business parks or city centres, many town centres still feature small local firms that offer essential legal services. These so-called “high street” firms usually announce their services in conveyancing, family law and other specialisms on their front windows, and provide well-rounded service. If a local solicitor is unavailable or unappealing, then a good place to look at is the search engine operated by the Solicitors Regulatory Authority (formerly part of the Law Society) which lists all practicing solicitors in the UK.
Website See where prospective clients can search by specialism or location. This is really just a list of lawyers with no particular guarantees as to quality, although being permitted to continue in practice is some measurement of quality in itself. The Legal 500 lists lawyers considered to be the best in any given field, although for smaller personal matters, it may be better to seek personal recommendations from people you know.

Will an e-lawyer do?

Finding a lawyer online is very different to using an online lawyer. Some websites offer to provide legal services over the phone or internet. While these may be useful for guidance and provide legal help in some circumstances, it is worth exercising some caution before relying on these services. Even if you never meet your lawyer, make sure that they take time to take proper instructions from you and respond to your queries meaningfully.

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