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What to consider when choosing a solicitor.

Updated: Mar 27

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.

End



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