The Law Society sets down minimum standards of service that all solicitors should provide.
You should expect your solicitors should to send you a client care letter setting out his or her terms and conditions at the beginning of the relationship.
It is the solicitor's responsibility to keep you informed of costs and to give you a clear bill which shows the work done and the amount charged.
All bills should show you the dates between which the work was done and enough information for you to decide whether the bill is reasonable.
Sometimes your solicitor will accompany the bill with a print out of a computer time record or work summary.
The Law Society runs a quality mark scheme, Lexcel, which it awards to solicitors who meet the highest management and customer care standards, such as:
· a timely response to all client communications
· accurate cost estimates, and information on how charges will be calculated
· regular cost estimates, and information on how charges will be calculated.
However, experience shows that many solicitors do not manage to provide this level of service.
According a survey by Which? Magazine, the main cause for complaint are unexpectedly high bills, followed by the failure of many solicitors to listen to their opinions. Other common grievances against lawyers include rudeness, arrogance and poor communication of the progress of cases.
To this role of dishonour, the Law Society's Consumer Complaints Service also identifies common problems as failing to carry out instructions, unreasonable delays, failing to reply to letters and telephone calls, failing to give a realistic estimate of costs at the outset of a case and acting for two or more parties with a conflict of interest.
If you have a bad experience, you can complain to the Legal Complaints Service.
or call the helpline on 0845 6086565. The LSC recommends talking to your law firm or solicitor first about poor service or the bill.