We will always hold an initial meeting with our clients to ensure we fully understand their legal problem prior to giving our advice on their options and prospects. This meeting is primarily a fact finding exercise for us. It is a critical part of the process which we need to complete before we can make a meaningful assessment of a client’s potential claims.
We set out below some helpful tips to help you make best use of your appointment with us so that we can advise you in the most efficient and cost effective way.
- Your initial meeting will be scheduled with your solicitor for between one and two hours. Depending on your location, the cost for this will be between £300 and £600 plus VAT. If required, this will include written confirmation of our advice, which will be sent afterwards. It may also include some limited further work, such as writing a letter to your employer.
- Your meeting may end up taking less time than two hours but, if the meeting runs over this time there may be an additional charge to pay.
- As with so much in life, preparation is key. Make sure you have dug out any relevant documentation such as employment contracts, policies, letters, emails etc. which you will refer to as your solicitor will need to see these.
- If you are seeking advice on a settlement agreement then make sure this, together with any related correspondence, is sent to us in advance. Please also bring along your latest payslip as this can help us check calculations made by your employment in any settlement offer.
- If possible, scan over relevant documents to us in advance of your meeting rather than bringing in piles of paper for us to copy on the day. Please be selective and only send documents which are directly relevant to the matters you want to discuss e.g. your settlement agreement. Please note that your solicitor will not always have had time to look at all your documentation before the meeting but, it will be helpful to have the main documents to refer to during the meeting.
- If you have a long chain of correspondence, make sure this is sorted into date order and, where possible separated into two piles, one which is essential reading and the other which could be read at a later date. Please note that any reading your solicitor does before the meeting will eat into the time available for the meeting and/or incur a further charge.
- If the facts of your case cover a significant period of time it is very helpful if you can bring a written time line setting out what happened when.
- Similarly, if there are lots of different people involved, it can be helpful if you write a list of who the main players are.
- Come to your meeting with a list of any specific questions you want your solicitor to answer. Ideally, send these through beforehand so you solicitor can prepare in advance rather than have to go away and check and particular points.
- If your matter is particularly complex it may be necessary for your solicitor to so some pre-meeting research and this will be chargeable.
- Our advice could be very different depending on slight factual differences so it is very important that clients give us all the relevant details about their case and are accurate in their recollections. Only then can we give a realistic opinion on the strengths and weaknesses of a potential case.
- Your solicitor will help you to think about the outcome you are seeking but, if you already know what this is then so much the better! Before your meeting, ask yourself, given the situation: what is the best outcome for me (i.e. what do I really want from this process), what is the worst outcome for me (what do I want to avoid happening at all costs), what would I accept (if I can’t get the best outcome, what is the next best thing), do I really want to litigate this issue (i.e. am I prepared to initiate an employment tribunal claim)?
- Don’t be afraid to ask us about costs for any next stage of work. We pride ourselves on being clear and transparent about our charges and are happy to discuss fixed fees for particular pieces of work or, to answer any questions you might have about costs generally.
- If we agree to do further work for you then we may ask you to pay some money to us in advance – referred to as “putting money on account”. This is our standard practice and we are happy to discuss it with you in more detail if you have any queries.
After the initial appointment
Once they have all the facts and they have discussed your desired outcomes with you, your solicitor will suggest a course of action to help you achieve this. Our experienced solicitors are likely to have seen similar cases in the past so will be able to offer an idea of the tactics which might achieve the best result for you.
Equally, having discussed the matter and given our advice further thought, you may decide that you do not wish to pursue things further. That’s absolutely fine and we would never pressurise anyone to instruct us with further work, so feel free to say you want to stop there.
If you do agree some next steps with your solicitor, it is important that you do not take a different course of action – for example, seeking to negotiate directly with your employer, if you have agreed that your solicitor will write to them with proposals – without first discussing this with your solicitor, as this can seriously undermine the effectiveness of the plan of action agreed with you at your meeting.
If you have any questions about working with Springhouse, please contact us for a no obligation chat.