Getting the best from your legal advisor

Here are just a few tips on how to get the best out of your solicitor

Seven tips to save you time and money

Listen The advice your solicitor gives you will not always be what you want to hear, but generally they will be talking from experience and from a independent and dispassionate point of view. So listen to them.

Keep your eye on the clock   Remember you will be paying for your advice and that the advice won’t be cheap. Most solicitors still charge by the hour (rates can start at £120 and more which works out a £2 per minute). So avoid wasting your solicitor’s time, prepare any papers or information that your solicitor may need in advance, and either send it to them, or take it with you. NB Most solicitors charge per unit rather than per hour so a five second phone call may be recorded as a five or ten minute unit (that’s about £10/£15 a call).

Do it early Getting a solicitor involved in a problem early on can sometimes save more grief and expense later. Sometimes a solicitor’s letter is all that is needed to elicit payment, or prevent further problems. If you leave it too late then you may get involved in expensive court or legal action.

Get a specialist If you’re just going to use your solicitor or law firm for one particular area of advice then choose a solicitor or law firm who’s experienced in the type of legal problem rather than a general law firm. Most solicitors now specialise in particular areas of law. A specialist will know all the ins and outs and ultimately save you time and therefore money, even if their initial hourly charges appear higher than others.

Highlight Problems

If you know there are any problems that are peculiar to your company’s case then tell your solicitor about them first, and keep them informed if anything happens to change your situation.

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If in doubt, ask If you’re worried about cost then set limits on the amount of money or work you want them to do and make sure these are in writing. If those limits are reached then you can decide if you want to carry on. Ask your solicitor how much their services will cost, they have to give you this information.

Know when to say stop Don’t let the pursuit of justice go to your head. As well as the legal costs you should also consider the overall costs to your business in lost time and loss of morale. Ask yourself is the case really worth it, and what ultimately will you get out of it? A Pyrrhic victory won’t make your bank manager happy.


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