By Dan Watkins, Director, Contact Law

As a small business, many of the factors you will need to consider when choosing a solicitor will be similar to those of individuals. Why do you need a solicitor? Is it important that they know the local area? How do you go about choosing the right firm or person?

Do you need a solicitor?

First of all, you need to determine if you actually need a solicitor. Most legal situations do require the assistance of an experienced solicitor. But for other less serious matters, you might be able to represent yourself. For example, you may be able to resolve less serious legal disputes by writing letters or negotiating informally with the other side.

Interviewing a solicitor

At Contact Law, our business is putting businesses and individuals in touch with the right solicitor for them. We begin by discussing their needs before referring them to someone suitable. For example, a business with a mostly local customer base may be keen to use a solicitor that’s near to them with a good knowledge of the regional business sector, whereas a specialist dotcom may be less focused on local advice and more concerned with the solicitors’ experience in their particular area of work. Or, it may be that you previously used a particular solicitor or firm on a different matter and were impressed with their service.

Once you have identified a few solicitors who might be able to assist you with your issue, it’s a good idea is to speak to them over the phone so that you can ask some questions before you commit yourself to a more formal meeting. The answers you get in your initial conversation will help you get a better idea of which solicitor will be the most suitable for your case. Write down any answers you receive, and you can then compare the answers to help you to make a final decision about which firms you should meet.

Questions to ask the solicitors you’re interviewing could include whether they provide a free initial consultation (many firms do); their experience with cases similar to your own; how long they have been practicing; whether they can provide references from former or current clients; who exactly would be working on your case, and how the firm would like to be paid.

Moving forward

At your first meeting with your solicitors you will likely be asked about the specifics of your business or issue. In order to prepare for the meeting, you should gather all the relevant information (documents, business plans, contacts), so that you’re ready to answer any question the solicitor may have.

Like selecting any product or service, it is always a good idea to shop around for the right solicitor, especially as many will provide an initial, free consultation. You may find that although you were unsure about someone over the phone, face-to-face they are exactly what you are looking for.

[/b]About The Author[/b]

Dan Watkins is the director of legal referrals service, Contact Law.

Contact Law choses the best solicitors to be on its network, based on their commitment to quality customer service. It also receives feedback from all clients to ensure they are happy with the solicitors chosen for them.