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How much contact with solicitor?(10 Posts)
Just looking for others' experiences and advice...
I have recently instructed a solicitor to represent me in obtaining a non-molestation order against my STBXH. The solicitor was recommended by Women's Aid. I have had a few issues with contacting him, in that he doesn't reply to messages on Mondays (which I now assume is his 'day off' but I wasn't told this) and he sends messages past 11pm and phones me on Sundays, but I can just about live with all this.
My issue is that as we are progressing, my STBXH's solicitor is automatically sending other things to him, such as arrangements for child contact, and he has therefore become my solicitor for everything else through default. I wrote a long letter in reply to my STBXH's solicitor a few days ago and asked my solicitor to forward it. He didn't reply to me and, only after I'd pushed him, he said he'd reworded it and sent it. I asked him for a copy of the reworded letter and he said he doesn't generally copy clients in as he is representing me but he would forward me the email.
24 hours later I still haven't heard anything. I feel like I'm constantly pushing for information and to be kept in the loop. I get that he's busy (hence the calls and emails in the evenings and at weekends) but as I've never dealt with a solicitor before I don't know if I'm expecting too much? Is this standard for solicitors and I'm just being over pushy, or should I expect him to keep me updated with correspondence?
Thank you for any advice!
1. He's busy. I assume you have legal aid. It's incredibly poorly paid so solicitors have to paddle furiously to avoid going under financially. Levels of service cannot be the same when the effective hourly rate is more like £40 rather than £200+ you see in privately funded matters.
2. If you want to instruct a different solicitor you'd have to transfer your legal aid to the new firm. This would take time. When I used to do LA work they'd need you to give a good reason why you wanted to change before they'd agree to transfer funding.
3. I hate clients sending me a letter and then asking me to copy and paste it on to my letter heading. If that's what they want they can send it themselves. However it was wholly wrong for him not to send a copy to you. I presume he's not a dinosaur and is working almost exclusively on email right now so would cost nothing for him to blind copy you in to everything sent to the other side. It is not unreasonable for you to ask him to do this in future, and if he refuses to do so that would be a reasonable ground for you to transfer the certificate to another firm.
Wow - quite a reply there!
No I'm not in receipt of financial aid and am paying privately. I'm not sure why you made that assumption?!
He had asked me for my response to my STBXH's letter so that's what I did.
Thank you for your insights though. I will ask him to BCC me in to future emails as I would like to keep on top of what's being said.
Sorry; I meant legal aid in my previous post, @Collaborate
I assumed you were on Legal Aid because LA for injunctions is non-means tested, and a referral from Womens Aid would tend to be to a firm that can offer Legal Aid.
If you're paying full rates for this then it;s far easier to go elsewhere.
Oh that's really interesting, @Collaborate. I went through two charities, first the NCDV who went through the questions for legal aid and said I was entitled to nothing and they would help me fill in the forms but I would need to represent myself. The second charity, Women's Aid, recommended a local solicitor as they said he was experienced and empathetic so I phoned him, again went through the questions and was again told I wasn't entitled to any sort of legal aid. He offered me a discounted rate though because the charity had recommended him and, because I have no experience of this process and had no other recommendations to follow up, went with him. Do you think I shouldn't be paying then? This whole process is so confusing when you haven't been through it before!
Well, that was the situation when I last did legal aid work a few years ago. It might have changed by now though. It wasn't exactly non-means tested, because they always assessed capital (for which you had to be below the limit), it was just that there was no upper income limit for calculating the contribution from income.
There would always be a downside to getting legal aid - delay, and the solicitor being careful about how much time they'd spend.
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