What to consider when choosing a solicitor.
Updated: Mar 27, 2020
By Jenny Barham
You may think it’s best to use your loyal family solicitor or one that a friend has recommended. However, when choosing a solicitor for property conveyancing you really need to do your homework and instruct a reputable solicitor who has a proven track record in property conveyancing, and in particular, one that's experienced with bridging transactions.
Before instructing a solicitor formally you will need to consider the following: -
Try and locate a solicitor that's in your area, it’s beneficial when you can pop into their offices to sign the legal documentation, they will also ensure you are executing all documents correctly.
Obtain an estimated fixed cost upfront.
Think about the size of the firm, if you choose a larger firm it will be more likely others can step in if your solicitor is off.
Does the solicitor pick up the phone? There is nothing more frustrating than every phone call you make, you have to leave a message. Do a mystery shop to ensure the solicitor is on the end of the phone, or at least returns your call within a reasonable time frame.
Do they reply to emails? Ask your solicitor to provide a rough, but realistic idea of how quickly they’re able to respond to emails on a typical day, this will give you an idea of how quick they will be able to work on your transaction.
Can they meet your timeline? Ask them the estimated length of conveyancing time for a purchase.
Check their ability to work remotely.
If you are a developer, it is also important that you have instructed a construction law specialist to advise you specifically about the contracts between various parties. A quality surveyor would assess the technical and building requirements, but a construction law solicitor would review the contract terms.
Standard terms that are available tend to favour the contractor and are the source of most disputes on a development scheme, particularly around payment terms, additional costs/fees from the contractor. Most developers “accept” the terms and conditions from each firm without getting them checked.
There is a potential risk in a dispute that the developer will lose out because they had accepted an onerous term.