Solicitors get a bad press for taking too long, charging too much and generally lording it over those who are not qualified. I can’t condone that sort of behaviour, but there are lots of good reasons why you shouldn’t try to get your legal work done by someone who isn’t, or isn’t supervised by, a solicitor.
Here’s just some of the reasons why you should always instruct a solicitor to provide legal advice.
- A solicitor will have studied & trained for at least 6 years after the age of 18 to earn the right to be accepted onto the Roll. For me it remains an honour and a privilege to call myself a solicitor, even after 20 years.
- Only a firm of solicitors can conduct litigation for you, such as issuing court proceedings or defending a claim brought against you. Debt Recovery firms are all very well, but they’re rather toothless tigers as they can’t follow up their threats.
- It is compulsory for a firm of solicitors to have Professional Indemnity Insurance to cover you if we do something wrong. Anyone can give you legal advice, but they won’t necessarily have the insurance cover to make up for your losses if their advice is wrong.
- You can’t be represented in Court by anyone claiming to be a lawyer unless they are authorised and regulated. That way you will always know you’re getting the best, most experienced, representation at a crucial time.
- Only a firm of solicitors is authorised to deal with the transfer of land. Buying or selling, solicitors will make it happen.
- Solicitors have to abide by a rigid code of conduct set down by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (the SRA). Pretty much everything we can or can’t do, is for your protection.
- There is an Ombudsman to whom you can complain if you need to. We are even obliged to tell you about our complaints procedure before we do any work for you.
- Solicitors are professionally obliged to act in an ethical manner and must only ever protect your best interests. That means that even if I am asked, I can’t tell anyone your commercial secrets.
- Because solicitors have honed their skills over many years, the chances are they will have seen before any issue you may have. That means they know exactly what to do and how to handle it; much quicker and more accurately than someone who might not have done it before. There’s very little I haven’t seen or advised on in relation to the Conduct Regulations, IR35, AWR, PAYE, CIS, RPOs, MSAs, or any other acronym you care to mention.
- There are heavy sanctions for acting improperly or unlawfully. If a solicitor breaches our code of conduct, they can be struck off, fined, or even imprisoned.
Most solicitors don’t charge you what they do just for the hell of it. As well as studying and training for a long time to provide legal services that not everyone can, we are obliged to pay for membership of the Law Society and authorisation by the SRA, as well as for pretty extensive (& expensive) professional indemnity insurance.
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Few of us would hesitate to seek expert guidance in other areas of our life, from seeing a doctor to servicing our cars or fixing our boiler. The health, safety and general wellbeing of your company is probably just as important to you, so I would urge caution against scrimping on its legal wellness.
As with your health, your car or your boiler, I truly believe it’s better to leave some things to the experts, so you can get on with whatever it is that you do best. For more information on how I can help your business thrive please do not hesitate to contact me to discuss your legal issues.
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