The Law Society's 'use a solicitor' campaign has garnered much attention. Their message is clear - solicitors are the best people to speak to for legal advice. Obviously we would agree with their advice to steer clear of fly-by-night, unprofessional, and unregulated providers. But in these days of diversity, with so many different types of lawyer - any of whom could be experts, regulated by a variety of different bodies - is this message 'use a solicitor' really the whole answer?
So, would 'use a lawyer' be more appropriate? The term 'lawyer' is very inclusive. It incorporates solicitors, barristers (including direct access barristers that will meet with clients) legal executives, licensed conveyancers, and properly supervised paralegals; and makes no judgement of superiority between them. 'Lawyer' is a simple term understood by the man on the street, and describes the activity, not the role.
Your lawyer’s ability to be a good lawyer is not defined solely by his route to qualification, and it is outdated to think that certain routes 'trump' others. The new 'legal apprenticeship' route promises to produce some fine young lawyers of the future. A good lawyer requires in-depth understanding of the law, expertise, experience, good skills in handling people - whether they are the client, the insurer, or another legal professional - good negotiation skills and above all, the ability to get the right settlement for the client as quickly and painlessly as possible.
So how can you spot a good lawyer? We believe in the value of expertise, and developed our accreditation system to allow expert lawyers who meet high standards to stand out from the crowd. Many of them are solicitors, but not all. Our experts include people of all disciplines and backgrounds. Accreditation is based on competence, not qualification, and on proven ability to do a good job.
APIL wholeheartedly supports getting the best person for the job. Want an expert? Find an accredited lawyer.