November 14, 2019
We participated in Solicitors Chat on Twitter answering questions about how a Solicitor is the best person to turn to for advice when facing legal issues.
Our Litigation Solicitor, James Melvin-Bath, provides an insight into his role as a Solicitor and how his advice assists clients.
What are the main misconceptions you think clients have about speaking to a solicitor?
Many clients still think of Solicitors being purely there to advise on the legal options and incur the associated costs. In reality, as a profession as a whole, we are constantly pushing to ensure that commercial awareness is at the centre of our advice. We make sure that our advice is concise, cost effective and focussed purely on the needs of the client.
How do you make sure clients find you approachable?
I start by making it clear to all my clients that I understand the matter I am being asked to assist on and that I am here to assist them, not just in a professional legal capacity, but also to enable them to have someone external to share their thoughts or concerns with and talk to. I tell all my clients that I am always there to help them through whatever legal matter I am assisting on.
What advice would you give to a client who wanted to pursue a case which you didn’t think they needed to?
The first thing that I would ask a client to think about is the costs. Not just financial costs, but the real emotional and physical costs of being involved with a drawn out dispute. Many clients come to me with litigation out of principal and I would always say that they need to reconsider. It is better to walk away from a dispute that there is no merit to, than spend money and time on fighting it. Time spent on legal disputes can’t be claimed back even if you win.
How does specialist advice from a solicitor provide value for money?
I can count numerous occasions where I have had to litigate a matter for a client that did not get professional legal advice at the onset. The simplest example would be that a court dispute will easily cost more than 5-10 times what the client would have spent on proper professional advice in the first instance. Get advice upfront before any loan, transaction, deal agreement, or anything that could later lead to dispute. You’ll thank yourself later.
Many people think they can deal with their legal issues alone, what pitfalls can clients fall into without professional legal advice?
Unfortunately I am frequently approached by clients who have been caught out by drafting their own lease, starting their own dispute or creating their own contracts. As solicitors, we have trained for years and dealt with a variety of cases to know the pitfalls, risks and procedural processes for each area of Law. It is far more time consuming and costly, if even possible, to later resolve drafting errors. It will end up costing clients in the long run if they don’t get commercially aware professional advice.
If you are unsure about the merits of your case and think you need to seek legal advice, please give us a call on 0800 158 4147 and we can go through your legal issue with you.