You may be unhappy with your solicitor for a variety of reasons, the most common being that your lawyer isn’t making much progress with your case, that your solicitor doesn’t return your telephone calls or that your solicitor has advised to accept a low settlement.
In such cases, if you are not happy with your claims solicitor, you may wish to explore the possibility of swapping. But will doing so affect your claim, will it cost you anything and most importantly of all, is it even possible?
Not matter how you feel surrounding your solicitor, it’s important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture. Often, a gripe with a solicitor can actually boil down to:
- A solicitor doing a perfectly good job with a case, but failing to communicate the steps being taken, or;
- The client being the problem – asking for too many updates, having unrealistic expectations etc.
On the other hand, if a solicitor is handling a case poorly and is unprofessional, then your request to change solicitor is perfectly reasonable. The general rule of thumb with regards to swapping your solicitor is that you may be able to, depending on your agreement and whether or not you wish to swap to a different solicitor in the same firm or take on the services of a solicitor in a competitor firm. The latter, of course, is always more difficult – however it’s important to remember that your solicitor will still get paid for their time. The way this works is through the following process:
- Your new solicitor will send you an authority to sign, which states that you give your permission for the new solicitor to request your file and for it to be transferred;
- Your solicitor will then send a letter to the existing solicitors with the authority enclosed, requesting the file;
- Before your old solicitor will transfer your file, your new solicitor will have to pay their fees. This is known as an undertaking.
It’s important to consider that your new solicitors for claims will be reimbursed for this undertaking, usually out of your compensation amount. This is on top of their success fee.
Sometimes, it is possible for your new solicitor to include the undertaking in their fees which the other side pay. Whatever the case, your new solicitor should make you aware of how this works, and it will be clearly spelled out in any new agreement that you sign. So the good news is that if you wish to swap solicitors, you can, whether you wish for your case to be handled by a different solicitor in the same firm or by a different firm entirely.