Why it’s worth paying for a solicitor
One of the questions our lawyers often get asked is, “Why is this legal advice so expensive?” There is a common misconception that solicitors charge high rates for their legal expertise alone. However, what people do not realise, is that a high proportion of those fees include a lot of essential and time-consuming research and administration work from both the lawyer and their support staff.
Picture this: you and your partner want a divorce. It’s amicable and so you think you can get away with doing a DIY online divorce. Simple, right? Unfortunately not. Whilst the legal document ending your marriage might be simple to do online, what many couples forget about is the separation of finances and/or property, child arrangements and the division of assets. Not to mention pensions. It suddenly feels more complicated, doesn’t it? This is where you need legal advice.
Why do I need a solicitor?
Everyone knows that to become a lawyer, there is a lot of training and education involved. It can take years and can be very expensive. Once qualified, the training doesn’t stop there; legislation updates all the time and so it is vital that lawyers stay on top of any changes in the law which might affect their clients and their advice. This sometimes involves extra training which, again, costs money.
Behind the scenes
When you instruct a conveyancing solicitor for the purchase of your first home, you might think that it’s just a simple legal transaction that takes one conveyancer. Sometimes this is the case, however, in the majority of cases, your conveyancer will have 10 other clients trying to get their house purchase or sale through, and they will need various members of their team such as Paralegals and Administration Assistants to follow up on searches and queries, and to fill in paperwork etc. to get it completed in time.
While you might only have dealings with one conveyancer, behind the scenes there is a whole team of experts working hard on getting you the keys to your dream home.
One size does not fit all
One of the benefits of instructing a solicitor to guide you through a legal process is that they can tailor their advice to your situation. Whether it’s writing a Will or guiding you through an inheritance dispute, everyone’s requirements are different and a lawyer needs to ensure that the advice they give works for your circumstances.
Like any other business, law firms have overheads such as wages, office rental costs and IT equipment. The legal industry is also highly regulated, which helps to ensure that the service provided to you is accurate and fair, and this also comes at a price. For example, our firm is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA), which ensures we are compliant with regulations such as money laundering and GDPR, and doesn’t come for free!
Lawyers also have to have professional indemnity insurance which protects them against claims for loss or damage made by clients or third parties.
We often hear from clients who are considering using a DIY kit or non-regulated online service to write their Will. Whilst this is an easy option if your Will is straightforward, what you do not get is a Will that’s been drafted by a regulated professional who can advise on any potential pitfalls, such as tax implications or potential future disputes amongst beneficiaries regarding your Will.
Can I write my own legal documents?
Our solicitors often find that clients try to draft legal documents themselves in a bid to save both time and money. However, lawyers and their support staff, i.e. Legal Secretaries, are specially trained in legal drafting. You may think that the letter they send to the court, barrister, or solicitor on the other side, is just a regular letter. However, a lot of research and consideration goes into making sure it achieves the right result as well as ensuring that the tone is assertive enough without being aggressive. Lawyers take on a lot of training to make sure your legal documents hit the right note.
When you draft your own legal documents, it takes your solicitor twice the amount of time to amend it in line with what is expected from the other side or external experts, and so that it puts you in the best possible position.
Why are lawyers so expensive?
In short, lawyers undergo extensive training and education to be able to provide you with effective and proper legal advice. With the legal world constantly evolving, a solicitor’s training is never complete. There are also numerous extra costs involved in the day-to-day aspects of your case; from staff wages to internet connections, your fees go way beyond paying for your solicitor’s time.
Need legal advice? Get in touch with our expert solicitors in Bristol
Our lawyers provide advice to individuals and businesses across the UK from our offices surrounding Bristol, in Bedminster, Bishopston, Kingswood, Queen Square and Thornbury. To get started, call us on 0117 325 2929 or fill out our online enquiry form.