The simple answer is that is entirely your decision. You are entitled to instruct a solicitor of your choice at any time and that includes changing solicitor if you are unhappy with the advice or the level of service you are receiving.
However, before making the decision to change, it is a good idea to identify why you are unhappy, in order to see whether this problem can be addressed with your solicitor. After all, we would all like to think that any reasonable professional should be very concerned if a client is not entirely happy and then work quickly to address their concerns.
Is it a simply matter of poor client care such as not returning telephone calls or responding promptly to emails or letters? Have there been one or more changes in personnel? Are you made to feel like a nuisance when you call?
Is it even more fundamental than that? Is your solicitor gathering all of the evidence necessary to prove your claim? Have they taken a detailed witness statement from you setting out how your injury or condition affects every aspect of your daily life? Do they have a thorough understanding of your condition and the available therapies, medication and suitable treatment providers?
Have they identified and instructed the right medical experts or simply used a medical agency? Did they prepare a detailed letter of instruction to each medical expert, which you then approved? Have they pushed for early interim payments to fund treatment and even just to pay your household bills, particularly if the accident has affected your ability to earn a living?
Do you have a clear idea of where your claim is going? Are you actually being represented or simply being processed through a sausage machine? Ultimately, do you trust them? Remember, this is about your future, not theirs!
When you first instructed your solicitor, they will have sent you a letter setting out their terms of business. That letter will have detailed their complaints procedure, including the name of the person you should contact if you are unhappy with their service. Don’t be afraid to contact them and if this does not resolve the problem, you may decide to make a complaint to the Legal Ombudsman.
However, should you decide that it’s time to change solicitor, how do you decide who to instruct? After making such an important decision you really don’t want to find that you’ve jumped out of the frying pan and into the fire!
Undertake your research carefully and perhaps identify two or three possible candidates. The internet is a wonderful tool! Check their background, their professional interests, case studies and testimonials from former clients. Once you’ve drawn up your shortlist, speak to each of them. Beware of the pushy! You should not feel under any pressure and if the solicitor believes they can help you, they should be happy to set out an action plan to get your claim back on track. Ask yourself, “can I trust this person to do the very best for me?”
Once you’ve spoken to your candidates, it’s time to think carefully. Ultimately, trust your gut instinct; it’s usually right!
Should you decide to change, you will not have to contact your old solicitor. Your new solicitor will do that for you.