The Legal Services Consumer Panel stated that there is a “distinct lack of progress and focus” on ensuring that prospective clients get quality information to make an informed decision when choosing a solicitor.
It might be reasonable to assume that cost, amongst others, is a significant factor when deciding on which solicitor is right for you. But cost is not everything.
Over the past few years a greater emphasis has been placed on cost rather than the quality of work expected of a solicitor. It was recently published in the Law Gazette that “consumer champions have criticised regulators for placing too much emphasis on price and not enough on quality”. Surely, you want good value for money, not cheap?
The need to be more transparent with costs combined with the movements in litigation to the Fixed Cost Regime and The Jackson Reforms have caused solicitors to be torn between 1) the costs that can be charged to their clients; 2) the costs that will likely be recovered; and 3) the quality of work that can reasonably done for the costs charged.
There is no doubt that cost transparency will help prospective clients make an informed decision however, from a solicitor’s point of view, it poses some issues that are worth understanding.
The concern is for the client actually receiving the quality of work expected for a budgeted cost. As a client you will need to speak to your solicitor to gauge and understand what strategy your solicitor has for dealing with the issue at hand within the costs quoted to you.
There is a real concern that transparency of prices will mislead consumers into thinking that the more expensive the service the better quality it is. There is a real need to ensure that all of the correct information is provided to make an informed decision as to who you instruct to act on your behalf. This should include, but is not limited to:
- A clear understanding of the initial stages of your claim and what will be done for you.
- Does the solicitor acting for you have expert knowledge in your legal issue.
Do not be fooled by a price tag. You should seek transparency and an open line of communication with your solicitor about your case in its entirety.
Griffin Law pride themselves on being open and transparent with their clients and potential clients both in relation to the progress of their matters but also in relation to costs. We look to examine all potential heads of claim including its strengths and weaknesses. This in turn allows us to offer an appropriate fee structure to suit the needs of your claim.