How to Use a Solicitor

At some point in our lives many of us will need to seek legal advice. The most common reasons for the hiring of a solicitor include: buying a house or property, getting a divorce, making a will or making a claim.

Regardless of your need for a solicitor – the law can be complicated; as such it is always best to seek expert legal advice in the to ensure you have a clear understanding of the laws that could affect you, your finances or even your nearest and dearest.

Choosing a Solicitor

If you are seeking a solicitor in Ireland there are many access routes: you can research via the law society website or Google search, alternatively you might consider a solicitor recommended by a family member or friend.

When choosing a legal representative there are a few key considerations that you should take into account.

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What kind of legal aid or representative do you need?

Solicitor firms often offer a wide range of services; however individual solicitors are often specialists in specific areas of the laws. For example a personal injury solicitor may specialise in personal injury at work, road traffic accidents or even criminal injury claims. As such it is important to decide your case type before seeking legal advice.

How can I be sure they are qualified to help me?

All solicitors even within a private practice must hold a practicing certificate. This is only available from the solicitors’ regulation authority set up by the Law Society in Ireland. These law societies set the rules and regulations for all solicitors, thus guaranteeing that the solicitor in question is qualified to practice law and has insurances in place that protect you as a client in the event that something goes wrong.

Some solicitors may use associates to deal with certain aspects of your case; these members of staff should always be supervised. All solicitors’ associates will be required to pass quality assurance accreditations in order to review your case.

Where is the firm based?

The location of your solicitor will obviously be a key concern. It is important that your representative is in close proximity to your place or work or home pending circumstances, as this will allow you to easily schedule and attend meetings. If you do not know the practicing solicitor in your area, again a quick Google search or Law Society search will give you a list of representative in your chosen location.

Does my chosen solicitor offer legal aid work?

If you have a low income or are currently receiving benefits you may be eligible to seek legal aid. To check you eligibility simply contact your nearest citizen’s advice or call into the law centre for more information on listed representatives.

Many solicitors who do not offer legal aid work can accommodate you with a conditional contract – often referred to as a “no win”, “no fee” case. This allows you to proceed with a case and incur no solicitors’ fees in the event that you do not make a successful claim. In the event of a successful claim the defendant will be held liable for your legal fees. These case types are often favoured by people in difficult financial situations.

Will they be sympathetic?

When seeking a personal injury solicitor to deal with a more personal matter, such as a relationship breakdown, you may wish to choose a representative who can make you feel at ease. In such cases complete honesty is required- thus it is best to choose a representative whom you feel comfortable in confiding in.

Making an Appointment

Always make an appointment to initiate contact with your representative prior to hiring them. As previously mentioned it is important that you can be open and honest with your solicitor. Moreover it is important that they understand your situation physically, mentally and financially and that they can represent to ensure a fair trial, be it for compensation, a divorce settlement, etc.

Once you have found a suitable solicitor, you may need to make an appointment to meet or discuss your case by telephone. If you are meeting, let the solicitor know if there’s anyone you want to bring with you. Ask if you should bring any documents with you, such as proof of identity or income.

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Be Prepared

Always be prepared for your appointments. With solicitors – time is often money. Call beforehand and ask the length of your appointment and any information/ documentation that you should have in attendance. Make a list of questions you want to ask and bring a pen / paper so that you may jot down the answers to these questions and any additional requirements your solicitor may require.

By being prepared your solicitor will be able to make quicker decisions and provide you with the answers you require.