Why Use a Solicitor

There are many good reasons to use a solicitor to handle family law issues. The table below sets out many of the advantages compared to using non solicitor services.

Online / Non Solicitor Services Solicitor Managed Services

Professional Qualifications
You are placing a good deal of trust in the person that manages your family matters and you want to make sure that they have the right level of qualifications.

✘ No compulsory qualifications

You don’t need to have any qualifications at all to set up as a ‘divorce expert, ‘family case manager’ or ‘professional McKenzie Friend’. Even the term ‘lawyer’ does not necessarily mean that the person is a qualified legal professional.

✔ Fully Qualified

To qualify, a solicitor has to obtain a law degree, usually over 3 years (or a degree plus a 1 year full time post graduate law conversion course), complete the 1 year full time post graduate Legal Practice Course, and then complete 2 years of on the job training. So, it generally takes between 6 and 7 years to complete the academic courses and on the job training before they are allowed to practice.

Professional Experience

Your case may be delayed or rejected by the court if mistakes are made in the paperwork, and end up costing you much more in the long run – so it is important that the person managing your case is legally qualified

✘ Less Experience

Online and non solicitor services generally use lower paid ‘paralegals’ or ‘legal teams’ and you have no way of checking how experienced they are.

✔ Experienced in family law

To qualify for The Law Society’s Family Law Accreditation, solicitors have to demonstrate that they have at least 350 hours of current experience and knowledge of family law.

Professional Accreditation

✘ None ✔ Professionally Accredited

To achieve family lawyers group Resolution’s professional accreditation, family solicitors must undergo rigorous assessment and demonstrate up to date knowledge of the law, as well as relevant practical case experience.

Regulation & Standards 

The Solicitors Regulation Authority protects consumers by setting standards of professional conduct, handling complaints and providing compensation if a solicitor acts dishonestly.

✘ Not regulated
✔ Family Solicitors are regulated by the SRA

Solicitors must comply with a strict code of professional conduct, they must act with integrity and in the interests of their clients, and they must remain independent and offer a good standard of service.

Legal Advice

Access to legal advice during your family law case is important to avoid mistakes that could have serious long term financial consequences.

✘ Not included
Case managers and paralegals from unregulated companies and websites are not qualified to give you legal advice.
✔ Included

Family solicitors are qualified and able to offer professional legal advice.

Professional Indemnity Insurance 

Professional Indemnity Insurance provides cover to ensure that a provider of legal services can afford any claims for negligence that might be brought against it.

✘ Not covered

Most online and non solicitor staffed companies do not carry this insurance voluntarily as it is expensive.

✔ Covered

By choosing a solicitor, you are getting this very important insurance cover included.

Complaints Handling 

What happens when the service you receive is poor?

✘ Not covered

Unfortunately, if the company you use to manage your case is not a regulated law firm, then you cannot complain to the Legal Ombudsman

✔ Covered

If you have a complaint about a solicitor, the Legal Ombudsman offers a free, impartial service to resolve your complaint.

You can also read more about this topic on our blog.