It is a misconception that all solicitors undertake work in criminal cases. This is not the case. Solicitors choose to specialise in different fields of law such as child care, matrimonial, industrial and criminal. Because of this, choosing the right solicitor to represent someone in a criminal case requires some care if time and effort are not to be wasted.
FINDING SOLICITORS WHO PRACTICE IN CRIMINAL LAW
Having to telephone every solicitor in the area to find out if they can take a criminal case can be time consuming. There are quicker ways and one is to use the free search service provided by The Law Society. The Law Society's website allows someone to search for solicitors by specifying the type of legal issue involved and the postcode of the area in which a solicitor is required. The site will then provide a list of solicitors specialising in criminal law in the required area.
Good solicitors will seek to gain accreditation in the area of law in which they specialise, and criminal law is no exception. The Law Society can give advice as to whether or not a particular solicitor has gained accreditation in criminal law. This is an indication of their competence and dedication.
Another website that will help to find solicitors specialising in criminal law is that of the Criminal Law Solicitors' Association. They can help identify solicitors specialising in criminal law in a particular area in the same way that the Law Society's website can.
It is important to remember that neither of the sources detailed above can recommend a particular solicitor, so it is up to the individual to choose one.
CHOOSING FROM THE LIST
Once a list of solicitors who could take on a criminal case has been compiled, the next step is to choose the right one for the case. This is where a telephone conversation is needed. An initial discussion with a solicitor about the type of case involved will give an indication as to whether or not the solicitor feels it is the right case for them. It will also give the potential client a chance to find out if they are comfortable with that solicitor. Here it is important to find out if it will be that solicitor who will take the case or whether another solicitor will take over.
Questions can be asked such as who will deal with the case? Will a barrister be necessary? Are there any issues with fees or legal aid? Are there any issues that will delay the case being heard and a conclusion being reached?
MAKING A FINAL CHOICE
It will be up to the individual searching for a criminal law solicitor to make the decision about who is best and feels the most comfortable. Initial impressions are important and care should be taken to evaluate the knowledge demonstrated by the solicitor, their grasp of the detail being given to them and their overall attitude.
It may be necessary to speak to several solicitors before finding the right one. There are many to choose from and looking at solicitors' websites can help.