What can the legal profession do for me? Why should I use a solicitor? It’s a fair question and, we think it needs answering – in detail! At Springhouse we specialise in employment law – we don’t do anything else and we explain below just how one of our solicitors could help you.
Unfortunately, for many people, their first experience of instructing a solicitor will be at a difficult time in their life – after bereavement, a job loss or, on divorce. These negative connotations, together with the commonly held perception that “lawyers cost a fortune” mean that most people would rather avoid a visit to a law firm, if they can help it! But, there are some really good practical and positive reasons for using a solicitor.
Solicitors have seen it all before
It might be the first time you have lost your job or faced a disciplinary at work and, of course that is incredibly daunting but, whatever your employment issue, a solicitor will have dealt with many cases similar to yours and can offer reassurance based on knowledge. Whatever your reason for talking to Springhouse, it is very unlikely that your case will be unique. While facts are never exactly the same, our solicitors’ considerable experience dealing with workplace issues means we are unlikely to be shocked, surprised or baffled by whatever you tell us.
For your peace of mind, solicitors are highly trained, regulated and must be fully insured
You can’t call yourself a solicitor before you have completed the necessary training – currently, a degree, law school, a two year training contract gaining experience “on the job” and have been admitted to the Roll of solicitors.
The Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) – www.sra.org.uk – is the independent body which regulates solicitors and law firms in England and Wales.
The SRA issues a Code of Conduct containing the numerous principles which solicitors must abide by when providing legal services. This requires solicitors to act ethically and with integrity and in the interests of their clients and the public. The SRA supervises law firms and solicitors to ensure they are abiding by the Code of Conduct and takes action against those found to be breaching its principles.
The SRA also makes sure that those it regulates are properly qualified and insured to provide legal services. This means that you can rest assured that solicitors will be suitably trained and will maintain their professional competency, once qualified.
In the event that a solicitor makes a mistake which causes loss, a client will be protected because all law firms must have adequate professional indemnity insurance.
Anyone proving legal services who is not a qualified solicitor (even if they call themselves a “lawyer” or “legal adviser”) will not be subject to the same standards and supervision.
What you tell a solicitor is entirely confidential
A client’s relationship with their solicitor is subject to legal privilege. This means that communications between us, when you come to us for advice, are entirely confidential and cannot be disclosed by us.
A solicitor works for YOU
The ball is entirely in your court at all times, we are at your service. You are the customer and as solicitors we have to do what you tell us! In other words, we won’t do anything without getting your approval (instructions) first, we won’t just go off and do what we think needs to be done without discussing that with you.
Subject to our conduct rules, we will act in whatever style you want us to for example, we can be conciliatory or aggressive. We could write a letter for you to send in your own name or, we could send a letter on our headed notepaper so that it is clear your have instructed a lawyer.
A solicitor doesn’t have to be for life!
Just because you come to us for some advice, there is no obligation to carry on instructing us (and no minimum spend). You may feel after an initial chat that you don’t want to take things any further. That’s fine, there is no obligation and you are free to stop using us at anytime, we don’t get offended!
A solicitor will save you the stress
For many people, their experience of using a solicitor will coincide with a stressful situation such as a disciplinary hearing, redundancy or other workplace conflict. A solicitor can provide a buffer between you and your employer meaning you don’t personally have to have the conversations or deal with emails because the solicitor is taking charge on your behalf. A solicitor can also provide you with reassurance about situations you may be facing by explaining what will happen, giving you an idea of the questions to ask and responses to give – even role playing scenarios with you if you feel this will help!
A solicitor can take a step back
Particularly in workplace conflict situations things often get very personal and, understandably, people take things to heart, get things out of perspective or generally get so emotional that they struggle to see the wood for the trees. Ultimately, this doesn’t help resolve things and can prolong the agony for all involved. A solicitor will analysis the situation in a more clinical way, looking for the best outcome for their client at all times and keeping things professional and in perspective. This means they can take a step back and won’t let emotion or personal feelings get in the way.
A solicitor is always on your side
A solicitor MUST always act in the best interests of their client so you need never doubt that they are on your side and looking to get the best outcome for you at all times. It’s not our job to be judgemental about anything you tell us, our principle objective is to “fight your corner” and represent you in the best way possible in order to achieve the right result for you.
A solicitor will suggest solutions you haven’t thought about
Because a solicitor has seen it all before, they are likely to have some creative ideas to help you achieve the outcome you want, which you may not have thought about. Our solicitors are all employment law experts so they have a high level of knowledge about the law and its practical application.
This may result in a better outcome for you, perhaps financially, for example by structuring your termination package differently you may save some tax or, it may simply relieve the emotional pressure on you by resolving the situation sooner than you could have done otherwise.
A solicitor won’t cost the earth (despite rumours to the contrary!)
We will always tell you what our charges are and give you an estimate of how much a specific piece of work is going to cost in advance. If you wish, we can notify you when a specific level of costs has been reached so you always understand exactly where you are and there are no nasty surprises regarding costs. Generally we charge by the hour. However, we may be able to agree fixed costs in some scenarios. So, don’t be embarrassed to speak to us about money, up front.
One way to think about legal costs is that they are partly an investment. For example, if your employer gives you a settlement agreement, you may be tempted to accept the termination package they have offered. A solicitor however, may be able to negotiate a far better package for you – all for the cost of a few hours work by them. Note that every case will be different so it’s not always easy to predict at the outset exactly how much work will be needed but, we will be open and realistic with you at all times.
It is always worth checking insurance policies such as home insurance to see if your legal costs may be covered.
A solicitor is friendlier than a computer
Everyone can type a question into a computer and see what the internet says but, a solicitor will take the time to fully understand the specific facts of your situation and think about how the law applies to them. They will also be sympathetic to you personally and assess what level of assistance you need with understanding the particular legal complexities of your situation and explain things to you accordingly. Reading text on a screen is no substitute for a bespoke, personal interaction – which our solicitors are trained to give.