Being a leading Solicitors in Portsmouth you might think we’re a little biased when it comes to advising you on finding legal services. But the truth of the matter is no legal adviser is an island and only the largest of a multi-national law firm has a large enough staff to have experts on every aspect and sub-aspect of the law. We often use the services of other specialists to aid in parts of tricky cases.
There is such an imbalance of information between your average lay customer and legal service provider that it can be genuinely challenging to make a fair assessment of the quality of the provider and the value of the work you are paying for.
Most of the focus ends up on the reputation rather than the details of their past work. This is done for the sake of simplicity, as the details of any given case are protected and private limiting what could be divulged.
Local services providers have traditionally relied on word of mouth and their reputation in serving their local community. The world of online work has changed this with the capacity of a small firm to service a much larger area, maintaining their professional relationships with their clients via video calls and encrypted mobile phone apps. This has just been accelerated by the lockdown, thus forcing more communication to occur online.
So how can you make the call of what is a good or not so good legal service?
Location still matters
Yes, it is possible for a law firm operating out of India to handle a case in the UK if they were familiar with UK law. But advocating for you with local services may be easier for your local solicitors in Portsmouth, who may be on first-name terms with the child protection officers in the area.
If you do use overseas legal support be aware that that may not be regulated to the same standards you would expect in the UK.
Time served in business
In the online market place, more so than the bricks and mortar business, a new law firm could literally spring up overnight with little more than a web site and a virtual office/PO box. Check to see how long they have been in business with a scan of the Companies House web site and check Google maps for their office on the high street. Real solicitors in Portsmouth don’t cold call or use high-pressure sale tactics, so avoid any organisation that is trying to force you to decide between hiring them or not on the spot.
Reputation is still a big factor, even online; there are comparison sites dedicated to legal services, as-well-as Yelp reviews. To practice in the UK, a solicitor needs to be accredited by the Law Society which maintains public profiles with the qualifications of all registered solicitors, alongside the names of those who have been struck-off. This allows you to look up a new solicitor before agreeing to work with them.