How TO choose a good solicitor

Should I use a solicitor or a conveyancer?  What is the difference between a solicitor and a conveyancer?  What should I consider when making my choice? – Welcome to our ‘no nonsense’ guide on choosing the best solicitor/conveyancer for you.  The reason we say ‘for you’ is because different people may value different qualities in a person.  This guide will point out what you should look out for, and will allow you to make your own informed decision.

Firstly, let’s tackle the difference between a solicitor and a conveyancer.

A solicitor – is a highly qualified lawyer who has studied extensively for many years and is a member of the Law Society. Generally, they tend to be more expensive.  We would recommend that you use a solicitor if, for example, there are any foreseen difficulties or complications (maybe the sale is part of a divorce settlement, or perhaps there are boundary issues).

A licensed conveyancer – has less training than a solicitor, but the training they have is specialised in property; they belong to the Council for Licensed Conveyancers.  If you foresee no problems with a sale or purchase, and it’s pretty straightforward, a conveyancer should be fine.   Obviously, should any legal complications arise, the conveyancer would turn to a solicitor for advice in any case.

It’s probably easier if we list the positives and negatives in a table, so you can easily refer to it when you need to:

SOLICITOR

  • Highly qualified in all aspects of property law, as well as other areas of law
  • Better for complex cases or difficult transactions
  • May be distracted by other larger legal cases they are dealing with
  • Better continuity as you are likely to have a named solicitor working on your case
  • May insist you visit them with formal identification
  • Probably more expensive
  • Ensure they are a ‘property specialist’ and ask for a named solicitor to deal with your case
  • Should offer more peace of mind as you have all bases covered
  • Potentially a more personal service, and more likely to see you in person

CONVEYANCER

  • Qualified in property law
  • Only use if you foresee no problems with the transaction
  • May be dealing with a large amount of cases, of which yours is just one
  • May be less continuity as they tend to work in larger firms
  • Unlikely to require a visit – communication mainly by post or email
  • Tend to be cheaper, but watch out for low quotes ( with hidden additional costs)
  • You are more likely to speak with different conveyancers every time you call
  • Will turn to a solicitor for advice if the transaction becomes complicated
  • Tend to work within large offices and less personal contact with clients

Hopefully we have summed everything up nicely and you should find it all easy to understand.  It’s worth pointing out that the details above are clearly quite ‘general’, and they don’t apply to all solicitors and conveyancers.

We would recommend that you try and visit, or at least chat on the phone with your chosen solicitor/conveyancer so that you can decide whether they are the right person for you.  Just like everything else, it’s important to choose someone you respect and feel comfortable with…someone you know will be honest and straight with you.

 

Should I trust the estate agent’s recommendation?

We prefer not to recommend solicitors/conveyancers for the simple reason that we would feel so bad if they let you down in any way.  We also regard it as a very ‘personal’ choice, and one which should be made by the client.  We are, however, more than happy to provide you with a list of local or on-line possibilities.

Some estate agents are paid commission by solicitors or conveyancers for recommending and passing on business to them, so we would advise you to make your own decision.  Nobody should cause you to feel ‘pushed’ or ‘forced’ into anything.

Why not ask around your local area and see who comes up with the best testimonials and recommendations.

What do you think of the tips in this article? Are they useful?

We would love to hear your thoughts on this, or indeed any of our other articles.



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