Solicitors Costs

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  • Stoopid
    Stoopid Posts: 258 Forumite
    zaksmum wrote: »
    ...... She saw a solicitor who told her that it'd cost £2000 max to handle a divorce ..........
    The solicitor ......... hit my daughter with a bill for £6500. ............. they'd even charged for the office clerk (not secretary) to answer the phone at £9 per hour. The solicitor's own costs were £200 per hour plus VAT. We are not in London.
    Mine charged me Triple this from a similar quoted starting price!!!:mad:

    Right to the end they were sending me legal documents to approve and sign which had basic facts wrong - like the number of children involved !!!!
    Even the spelling in their communication was bad.....I have never pretended mine was perfect, but I do not charge £200 an hour plus VAT, as well as employ secretaries and pa's - and charge me for their services.
    I have no doubt solicitors can be nice people, just my own personal experience, and everybody I have ever spoken to about solicitors, no-one has a good word to say for them.
    Before I started the whole process, I was told loads of horror stories concerning solicitors, their incompetence and their charges.
    Unfortunately, I have always been of the attitude:- treat as you find, and blithely assumed all these people had just had their own bad experience, which of course ....Would not happen to me!!! :cool:
    How wrong could I be.

    At the start, I asked everyone I knew of who lived local to me, who had gone through a divorce, if they could recommend a solicitor. Not one of them did, which at the time I thought really unhelpful of them. Now I know why.:cool:

    Hence, I bit the bullet, paid the lovely warm, caring solicitor (specially for masquerade) and like the failure of my marriage, squarely took the blame for not having listened to all the advice I had received before hand to beware of solicitors !!

    So, expensive, time-consuming but valuable lessons learnt.
    Never get married.
    Never trust a solicitor, especially one who smiles a lot and nods in sympathy.
  • Stoopid
    Stoopid Posts: 258 Forumite
    ..... Seriously dispute your bills otherwise your just stewpid ;)

    Yes I am 150% Stoopid. For ever believing a word anyone ever says - inc ex and solicitors.
    But, I am still fighting to save my job, the roof over my head, the csa (- guess what my ex has lied through his teeth to them) and to try and keep my family from disintegrating.
    I decided my health, sanity and family were more important than starting a fresh battle against lovely warm competent solicitors
    So I paid up, and marked it down to a very expensive education.
  • zaksmum
    zaksmum Posts: 5,529 Forumite
    First Post First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Hey Stoopid, God, you have had a tough time of it!!

    As you say though, you have to hang on to your sanity through such a horrendous time, and you just don't have the energy to take on yet another battle at a time like that.

    Your ex sounds like a total scumbag, just like my d*ckhead ex son in law, and you have had a lucky escape from him like my daughter has from her ex.

    Put it down to experience, and I really do wish you luck for the future.
  • Not all lawyers are out to fleece people - some are actually honest and fair people. :p

    It is unfortunate that many law schools will train baby lawyers to fleece their clients e.g., a first meeting with a lawyer is constructed in such a way that even the simplest problem results in further action on behalf of the lawyer, and thus, letters, telephone calls, and meetings are arranged - when the answer to the problem could have been given in the initial meeting.

    As general rule of thumb, keep away from 'high street solicitors' i.e., the ones that heavily promote no-win no-fee work, and small chambers that deal mostly with petty crimes, personal injury and legal aid. Invariably, this end of the legal profession is crap, and employs crap lawyers (testament to this is the fact that some of biggest earners in the legal profession last year where high street firms dealing with miners compensation).

    Also, ask if your case is being handled by a solicitor. Frequently, clients are charged a solicitor's fee, when in fact, a case worker with a few GCSEs has done all the work.
  • A lot of the problems result from client's expectations and the solicitor's ability to mange those expectations. A good solicitor will be able to do this, a bad solicitor doesn't.

    In many aspects of law it is almost impossible to give a set price for work that is to be carried out, particular family law. No two cases are ever the same and subsequently things often change. Very often what looks to be a very simple matter at the outset does not continue to be either because solicitors have not been given a clear picture of the position or something changes down the line. A lot depends on the cooperation of the other party, their solicitor, the courts etc.

    This is why solicitors can only give estimates at the start of the case and those estimates are often within a large bracket. They should also carry on updating those estimates throughout the case so that you are not surprised with a large bill at the end. Every aspect of the work must be justified.

    Everybody is within their rights to request a detailed bill and if necessary involve the Law Society if they feel they have received a bad service.
  • dispute all the way!

    was watching the news yday and they were saying the next people to be out of jobs will be bankers, then accountants, then lawyers.


    Many firms in my local area have already made substantial redundancies.
  • alexnznz
    alexnznz Posts: 55 Forumite
    icklejay wrote: »
    Just wanted to let everyone know that my friend recently had a large solicitor bill and instead of simply paying it as most people do he sent it to a firm called Hateleys (www.hateleys.com) who audited the costs and reduced them fairly substantially. I always thought you had to just pay solicitors costs but apparently you have the right to question the reasonableness of them. Hateleys did all the work and simply updated my friend as was necessary and then informed him of the reduction that had been agreed with the solicitor - completeley pain free. If you've got solicitor bills its probably worth giving Hateleys a try - my friend was very happy with them and it's about time solicitors stopped getting so much money. Quite a good way to save some money I think

    Does anyone know if there is the same service to check on accountants costs? My old accountant retired last year, since then the bill has increased dramatically.
  • Penny35_2
    Penny35_2 Posts: 455 Forumite
    I would like to thank everyone for their advice here.

    I took my complaint about costs to the legal complaint service and got verdict today, the bill has been wiped and my ex-solicitor is paying me compensation.

    Legal complaints service have been great.

    It goes to show their is some justice out there.

    Penny

    :)
  • Stoopid
    Stoopid Posts: 258 Forumite
    Masquerade wrote: »
    A lot of the problems result from client's expectations and the solicitor's ability to mange those expectations. ..


    I agree absolutely, in fact this was one particular area that I had been warned about before hand.
    But the warnings were against solicitors raising undue expectations in their clients minds. Deliberately feeding you duff information about what your rights and expectations are under the law.
    Again, I thought (naively) as a mature, sensible, educated woman, no-one was going to pull the wool over my eyes !!
    I was told by my solicitor I was entitled to compensation for all the sacrifices I had made during the marriage, to support him and the family ( I had been the higher wage earner when we married, and supported him whilst he climbed the corperate ladder)
    I would be entitled to continue in a certain standard of lifestyle.
    I would be entitled to Spousal Maintenance because he earnt so much more than myself.
    I would be entitled to some share of his pension, since mine was so much lower than his because I had made the career sacrifices for him and the family he had wanted.
    Also, that the courts would take into account the fact that He had only to support himself, where as I had to continue to house and raise the children.

    Guess what?
    He refused to pay spousal maintenance
    He refused to share his pension
    I received no compensation for all the sacrifices I made
    I was told by the judge that I had to go out and get an increased mortgage so I could pay him a lump sum to buy him out of the house.

    When I questioned my solicitor about what happened to all the things he had said I was entitled to, he said......
    "Oh the courts aren't paying as much attention to those thing now !!!!! " - but he hadn't said that 3 weeks before when the case was heading to court !

    I did not go into the solicitors with a list of demands and expectations, the solicitor told me what I should expect to receive. He even quoted chapter and verse about specific cases and specific judges and specific rulings.

    So please, take ever promise your solicitor gives you with a whole bucket of salt.
    They are "managing" your expectation - or rather they are planting the expectations in you mind, and milking it for all they can get.

    Again, I will stress, I have no doubt there are nice, competent, scrupulous solicitors out there - unfortunately, I have never met one.:cool:

    I also now understand why none of my friends, family or neighbours would recommend the solicitor they had for their divorce. If anyone asks me now I just give them a look of heartfelt pity and say, "sorry I cannot" I have never heard of a good one yet.
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