Do solicitors take ages to do anything or i am being fobbed off because im on legal aid?

(8 Posts)
exmrs Fri 18-Jan-13 16:49:11

Saw solicitor 19th dec about sending a letter re contact to my ex informing him of a change in contact starting this weekend. Prev contact has been whenever ex could be bothered i wanted a letter stating alternate weekends.

I know solicitors was shut for a week over xmas but still no letter has been sent out and this weekends was discussed as a starting date.

I have emailed several times and phoned and cant get through to solicitor or secretary and have left messages on voicemail to let me know wats happening as the date is approching.

My ex now thinks ive just been blagging about getting a solicitor and is being an arse saying he wont do changes till he gets an official letter.

Anyway i sent an email today saying im dissappointed no one has got back to me and i actually got a reply that this lady has some dictation to do under my name and she will get back to me.

I just feel fobbed off and wondering if they treating my case as not urgent as im on legal aid?
What are peoples experiences? Does it take this long for a letter to be sent? When i saw solicitor he said the letter woudlnt be sent before xmas as too soon but implied new year it would be sent so surely by now it should have been done?

Battlefront Fri 18-Jan-13 17:07:26

IME solicitors don't rush for anyone, not even those paying extortionate fees, but in this case bear in mind that they were probably closed for the two weeks after you saw them and that January is the busiest time for family solicitors - apparently all that time together over Christmas is the last straw for lots of couples.

Anyway, it sounds like they're onto it now. TBF they probably didn't see it as urgent as it's not really going to make any real difference. I know it matters to you and you wanted it sent (so it should be), but is it really going to change anything?

exmrs Sat 19-Jan-13 18:56:18

Hi thanks for reply, i know they were closed but solicitor was implying it wouldnt be long at all. It just bugs me no one got back to me and a simple email/ call to say they were busy would have done

onetiredmummy Sun 20-Jan-13 14:08:38

I think they take longer with legal aid cases yes, took ages for them to get on with my divorce with legal aid, they lost paperwork & some paperwork went out of date because they didn't do anything with it so I had to arse around getting copies.

Although they get paid with legal aid cases they don't get paid the same amount as they do with paying clients.

Remember there is an ombudsman if it gets to it.

Collaborate Sun 20-Jan-13 15:40:51

For doing a divorce under legal aid a solicitor is paid £86. If I pare the service down to the bone for a privately funded client and provide the same level of service I get £500.
Legal aid solicitors are overworked, underpaid (IIRC average salary for a family legal aid solicitor is early £20ks) and many are about to lose their jobs. When legal aid pays so little, service levels will inevitably reflect that.

ChangeAfoot Mon 21-Jan-13 15:43:20

Collaborate - (and sorry OP for quick hijack) - I have a question about Legal Aid. I am hoping to get it, but recently saw that I will be expected to pay back costs out of any settlement. Can I just ask - are the costs charged to me in Legal Aid the same as if I had just used that solicitor privately? I'm struggling to see the benefit (probably because of my ignorance) if I end up paying the money back at the solicitor's usual private rate. I also read on Wikivorce that my H's legal fees (he is not eligible for LA) would be deducted out of the 'asset pot' before dividing it up between us. Surely this can't be right - his private costs get split between us, yet mine are payable back out of my share of the settlement? hmm

Collaborate Mon 21-Jan-13 17:07:58

Legal aid rates are around a fifth of the privately funded rates. You'd only have them recouped at the lower rates, but if you want a BMW you can't expect to pay Lada rates. That's not a reflection on the professionalism and dedication of those working in legal aid. It a simple fact that they are more overworked and underpaid than most others, and that is very demoralising.

ChangeAfoot Tue 22-Jan-13 09:17:02

Thanks Collaborate - I've started a separate thread asking more; didn't want to derail this one further.

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