I’m not happy with my lawyer – can I instruct a new one?
September 26, 2022
The phrase “I’m not happy with my current lawyer, can you help?” is one which we are all too familiar with at John Hooper & Co. We frequently work with clients who have had disappointing experiences with their first solicitors.
In our experience, the reasons for wanting to move solicitors tend to fall into three broad categories.
The first can be described as poor case management, such as missed deadlines, failing to progress a case or a general lack of strategy. This can leave a client feeling uncertain, and can erode the client-solicitor relationship.
The second is poor customer service, which is often characterised by clients not feeling heard or understood. In matters involving children and the breakdown of a marriage, this issue can be particularly difficult for clients. Other clients say that they find it very difficult to get hold of their solicitor. This can be very stressful during an already difficult time.
The final issue that clients sometimes face is poor legal advice – which at times can be so bad that it borders on professional negligence. This is the least common issue we see, but it does exist and must be taken seriously.
Fortunately, it is possible to change solicitors, even if you are mid-way through Court proceedings. There are a few points to consider, however:
- Your existing solicitors will often refuse to transfer your file to your new firm until all of their outstanding invoices are paid.
- Your new firm may need a little time to bring themselves up to speed with your case. A good solicitor will give you an estimate of how long this will take and the likely cost implication.
- If there is an upcoming hearing, the sooner you move firms the better.
- If your concerns about your existing solicitor relate to you not liking their advice, please consider that this might not be a problem with your solicitor. It may be that their advice is correct, even if it is not what you would like to hear. In this case, you could seek a second opinion before taking the decision to move firms.
If you do decide to move firms, all you need to do is contact your preferred new solicitor and explain your circumstances to them. They will be able to advise you and obtain your existing case notes from your previous solicitors.
If you are struggling with a family matter and feel unsupported by your current solicitor, please reach out to us. We are familiar with taking over existing files and will do everything that we can to help.
26th September 2022