Choosing the right solicitor for you
Like any industry, there are varying levels of expertise and specialities in the legal profession.
Most people want to be sure they are entrusting their legal needs in the right hands, particularly when it comes to personal matters like Wills and Estates.
The question is then how do you choose a good, or the right lawyer for you?
The Queensland Law Society advises that it’s “always in your best interest to employ a solicitor who is experienced in the area of law you require”.
For example, you may know a great Family Lawyer but they may not be the best choice if you need a Will or Estate Planning.
If you know a lawyer, practising in another area, and you have been happy with their services, ask them to recommend a solicitor specialising in the area you need.
Lawyers tend to recommend each other based on legal ability, service and results, rather than availability, costs and profile.
You should also ask family and friends for recommendations.
Check for specialist accreditations and memberships
Most specialities within law have dedicated accreditation programs or membership groups.
For example, Gill & Lane Solicitors Principal Greg Lane is a member of STEP (Society of Trust & Estate Practitioners).
STEP is the worldwide professional association for Wills and Estate lawyers, with more than 20,000 members across 95 countries. The group promotes best practice, professional integrity and education among its members, for everything from drafting a will or advising family businesses, to helping international families and protecting vulnerable family members.
It’s a good idea to check whether the lawyer you are considering is part of a similar organisation in their area of specialty.
You can even search membership organisation directories for a local lawyer.
Consider qualifications & experience
You should always check whether a lawyer has relevant qualifications and experience.
How long have they been practising in total and in their area of expertise>
Most lawyers will be upfront and promote this on their website, check the firm’s About Us section for this kind of information.
For example on this site, you will see a bio for Greg Lane, detailing his university qualifications, decades of experience in Wills and Estates and various professional memberships, including being a Queensland Law Society Approved Mediator, a member of the Australian New Zealand Sports Law Association and the Law Council of Australia
Speak or meet with them
It’s a good idea to have an initial consultation with a lawyer to find out more about their services.
Many lawyers such as Gill & Lane will offer an initial obligation-free consultation – check if this available with the lawyer you have in mind.
While you shouldn’t make a decision based on cost alone, you should consider what costs are involved.
You may want to ask these questions:
- Will I be charged for an initial consultation?
- How do you cost your services? Is it an hourly rate or flat fee?
- If it’s an hourly rate, are you able to provide an estimate of costs?
- What do those costs include?
- What is out of scope for those costs?
- What could impact my overall costs?
- Will I be advised if costs go out of scope?
- When will I be billed?
Every Will and situation is unique and we have the expertise to help navigate any complexities that exist or could arise.