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Am I a "problem client"?

(9 Posts)
Meikyo Thu 29-Sep-11 19:29:29

I got a call today from the solicitors' office handling my divorce. They said that yesterday the partner and a paralegal were discussing my case, when a colleague passed by and overheard their discussion. Apparently the colleague realised from their discussion that she went to Law school with my nephew and is still a good friend of his family (and knows about ex and I splitting). The partner then decided that the firm had to withdraw from my case.

The firm is not huge but not a one man band either. I understand the impact of conflict of interest, but surely they could have passed the case to another partner in the firm? As far as I know, the colleague who knows my nephew was not even working on my case.

I am worried now as I have now had three solicitors in three years. First one was great, but she took a job with a charity and could not take my file with her. The second one was quite good too, but after 18 months, I was finding his fees too expensive and it looked like I may qualify for legal aid (in Scotland). He did not do legal aid cases so I went to the current firm 3 months ago. So I have not received legal aid (will probably only be granted if we need to go to court) but am now looking for a fourth solicitor (who does legal aid) to take on my case.

K999 Thu 29-Sep-11 19:38:33

Contact the Scottish Legal Aid Board. They have a solicitor search facility on their website (ones who do legal aid).

Meikyo Thu 29-Sep-11 20:14:09

Thanks K999. I have had a look and will give a firm a call tomorrow. I'm just worried that it will look bad, with me changing agents so often. STBXH already moaning that me changing solicitors is the reason for the lengthy proceedings...(as opposed to him rejecting several reasonable offers to settle)....hmm

Rangirl Thu 29-Sep-11 22:09:07

Please be really careful to explain the (valid) reasons why you have had so many solicitors It can be a real red flag to taking on a client

mumblechum1 Fri 30-Sep-11 05:07:01

Agree with Rangirl.

No one likes turning work away but I must admit if I'm the third lawyer to be instructed on a case my presumption is usually that they're doing the rounds, ignoring advice because it's not what they want to hear.

I know that's not the case for you OP, which is why you need to be clear from the outset.

You don't sound like a problem client at all smile

meep Fri 30-Sep-11 06:38:30

If you might be eligible for legal aid you may also be eligible for the pre-court stage of legal aid called Advice and Assistance. This will cover your legal costs and advice. Advice and assistance is assessed on your income in the 7 days prior to applying, so make sure you have all that info to hand. If you have to go down the court action route then you would apply for full legal aid.

It is also worth contacting a solicitor on the Family Law Association website - you can search for a legal aid solicitor.

Agree that you need to be very clear with a new solicitor as to why you have had to change so often - perhaps a letter from your current solicitor saying that there was a conflict of interest?

Blottedcopybook Mon 03-Oct-11 18:17:00

OP - Where in Scotland are you? I can recommend an excellent family lawyer if you are in Glasgow?

kblu Mon 03-Oct-11 18:22:20

I don't know what happens in Scotland but I work for English lawyers and if a similar situation arose here normally we'd ask the client to instruct other solicitors who would request the file and in a case like this we'd usually write a letter to the new solicitors (along with the file) explaining the reason for the transfer. Or the new solicitor instructed would ring and have a chat to us before deciding whether to take the case on.

Meikyo Mon 03-Oct-11 22:20:15

Hi Blotted,

I am in Glasgow. I'm still thinking about what to do so any recommendations would be gratefully received.

Kblu and others, many thanks for your wise advice. I will ask the firm withdrawing to write a letter/call.

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