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  • FIRST POST
    • HelloWorld01
    • By HelloWorld01 9th Jan 18, 1:21 PM
    • 2Posts
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    HelloWorld01
    Solicitors fees discount
    • #1
    • 9th Jan 18, 1:21 PM
    Solicitors fees discount 9th Jan 18 at 1:21 PM
    Hi,

    We're are buying a property and have also just completed on the sale of our property. We have had absolutely no end of problems with our chosen solicitors firm; constant mistakes within the contracts, same questions asked over and over, lost documents, not communicating to us the buyers are ready to complete (hence why our sale has gone through before our purchase), they didn't let the estate agent know we were completing the following day so she had no idea what was going on when I dropped the keys off... in addition to all this we have paid legal fees for a qualified solicitor/conveyancer but our case has been assigned to a trainee 'legal assistant' without our permission.
    Anyway considering all the mistakes made in our sale and purchase (purchase still ongoing after 13 weeks with no end in site - infact just yesterday it went from being a prospective completion date of 26th Jan to 'mid Feb') I've obviously made several complaints to the law firm about how dissatisfied I am and how I want my case to be handled by a qualified individual else I would like a discount on my fees since I am having a trainee deal with everything that then has to be double checked by his manager - wasting mine and the sellers time. Anyway the law firm have come back to me and said they would be willing to negotiate a discount on my legal fees if I will consider my complaints closed (I mentioned complaining to the legal ombudsman so I think I might have shook them up a little?!)
    How much of a discount do I ask for? I don't want to go in too high and get totally disregarded but then I also don't want to get ripped off as this whole process involving the trainee has been a shambles. My solicitor friend (aviation contracts so couldn't really advise on a purchase accurately) said I should offer to pay what I think their service has been worth, but to be honest it's all been so poor, that's impossible!
Page 1
    • need an answer
    • By need an answer 9th Jan 18, 1:31 PM
    • 79 Posts
    • 94 Thanks
    need an answer
    • #2
    • 9th Jan 18, 1:31 PM
    • #2
    • 9th Jan 18, 1:31 PM
    The fact that the solicitors are prepared to negotiate a discount is encouraging.

    In terms of what to ask for,I assume that you will need to pay full price on any disbursements so the negotiation revolves around the actual charges for completing the work carried out.

    Did you have a set package fee ie an amount plus disbursements or was it an hourly rate you agreed to?

    Perhaps you could consider a discount of 20% I guess you have to acknowledge that the work was carried out albeit protracted and slowly so my feeling is that you are not in the position of saying you don't wish to pay for their services.

    What type of figure would you be happy with,sorry its a bit of a piece of string question and answer,but presumably any reduction is a bit of a bonus or at least acknowledgement of the problems.

    I would also suggest that you make it clear that you wish everything to run smoothly and with diligence going forward to completion
    Last edited by need an answer; 09-01-2018 at 1:39 PM.
    in S T F 9
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    2017 -32

    2018 Wombling entrant No: 5 £4.70
    • Tom99
    • By Tom99 10th Jan 18, 6:46 AM
    • 960 Posts
    • 591 Thanks
    Tom99
    • #3
    • 10th Jan 18, 6:46 AM
    • #3
    • 10th Jan 18, 6:46 AM
    Since your work has been used as a training exercise I would ask for a 50% reduction excluding disbursements.
    • HelloWorld01
    • By HelloWorld01 11th Jan 18, 8:26 AM
    • 2 Posts
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    HelloWorld01
    • #4
    • 11th Jan 18, 8:26 AM
    • #4
    • 11th Jan 18, 8:26 AM
    We agreed a set fee before work commenced. Of note they took the monies for the legal work on our sale within hours! so I'm now only able to negotiate a discount on our purchase, which is ridiculous as the sale was just as much of a !!!!-up.
    At no point were we asked or informed if a trainee conveyancer could work on our case, it was only with the constant mistakes I started querying why I was dealing with a 'legal assistant' and could I not speak to the solicitor dealing with my case... only to find out there isn't one!
    • LandyAndy
    • By LandyAndy 11th Jan 18, 10:00 AM
    • 24,061 Posts
    • 50,864 Thanks
    LandyAndy
    • #5
    • 11th Jan 18, 10:00 AM
    • #5
    • 11th Jan 18, 10:00 AM
    We agreed a set fee before work commenced. Of note they took the monies for the legal work on our sale within hours! so I'm now only able to negotiate a discount on our purchase, which is ridiculous as the sale was just as much of a !!!!-up.
    At no point were we asked or informed if a trainee conveyancer could work on our case, it was only with the constant mistakes I started querying why I was dealing with a 'legal assistant' and could I not speak to the solicitor dealing with my case... only to find out there isn't one!
    Originally posted by HelloWorld01

    Just because they took their fee it doesn't mean you can't negotiate a refund that could perhaps be offset against the purchase fee.


    You won't get a penny more than you ask for and as such I would start at 50% of their total fees for both transactions, excluding disbursements.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 11th Jan 18, 10:02 AM
    • 6,492 Posts
    • 6,389 Thanks
    davidmcn
    • #6
    • 11th Jan 18, 10:02 AM
    • #6
    • 11th Jan 18, 10:02 AM
    At no point were we asked or informed if a trainee conveyancer could work on our case
    Originally posted by HelloWorld01
    Did they promise you anything to the contrary? You wouldn't normally get to dictate what level of staff handle your case - and there's nothing wrong in principle with a trainee dealing with a residential conveyancing matter, as long as they're adequately supervised. I would concentrate on what the overall outcome was rather than the individuals.
    • silvercar
    • By silvercar 11th Jan 18, 10:09 AM
    • 36,377 Posts
    • 153,802 Thanks
    silvercar
    • #7
    • 11th Jan 18, 10:09 AM
    • #7
    • 11th Jan 18, 10:09 AM
    50% discount on sale refunded/ set against purchase costs.

    discount on purchase fees of 20% subject to everything legal going smoothly.

    Nothing wrong with a junior in the firm handling work provided it is properly and timely supervised, that this clearly wasn't.
    • G_M
    • By G_M 11th Jan 18, 11:00 AM
    • 42,716 Posts
    • 49,900 Thanks
    G_M
    • #8
    • 11th Jan 18, 11:00 AM
    • #8
    • 11th Jan 18, 11:00 AM
    Personally I think 50% is excessive.

    And the issue here is to do with the actual problems encountered and service received, not the use of a trainee.

    It is common for articled clerks, trainees etc to be used, under the guidance of a solicitor - that's how they learn. It's also common for some elements of the work to be done by secretaries or admin assistants.

    The point is that there is a qualified solicitor (or licenced conveyancer) in overall charge.

    Just as in the NHS, patients will be under a Consultant, but may well often be seen in clinic by a Registrar/Junior Doctor etc., and with nurses, care assistants etc providing some of the treatment (under supervision).

    However, the firm has clearly accepted that the quality of service provided fell below the norm.

    I agree with others that the disbursements fall outside any negotiation - these are fixed amounts charged by 3rd parties who the firm had to pay on your behalf.

    Without knowing all the facts, and seeing the file, it's hard to know what is fair, but given one deal has Completed and the 2nd is ongoing, I'd say 20% is fair.

    Either ask for, and insist on, that, or ask for double and then be prepared to negotiate down.
    Last edited by G_M; 11-01-2018 at 11:03 AM.
    • davidmcn
    • By davidmcn 11th Jan 18, 11:06 AM
    • 6,492 Posts
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    davidmcn
    • #9
    • 11th Jan 18, 11:06 AM
    • #9
    • 11th Jan 18, 11:06 AM
    Agree 50% is excessive - something more akin to the firm's profit margin would be fairer, given they've actually done the job - so probably closer to 20%.
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