Solicitors are legal experts and can help you with legal issues such as:
All solicitors are qualified to practice law. However, they usually specialise in one or two areas of law. For example, if you’re splitting up from your partner, you may need a family law solicitor.
To find a solicitor near you, you can use our free Find a Solicitor website.
It has information on solicitors in England and Wales and lists what kind of work they do.
Read more on how to find a solicitor
At your first appointment, your solicitor should make you aware of:
Your solicitor must keep you updated on costs throughout your case and give you a clear bill detailing the work completed and the amount charged.
Find out more on costs and bills
Legal aid can help you pay for legal advice and is available in some areas of legal work. You may qualify for legal aid if you’re on a low income or receiving certain benefits. You should check with your solicitor if they offer legal aid work.
Find out more about legal aid
Check if you can get legal aid on GOV.UK
If you cannot get legal aid, some solicitors or firms may act for you on a pro bono basis. Pro bono is free legal work done by some solicitors or firms for those who cannot afford legal help.
Find out more on pro bono
You should choose a solicitor who meets your needs and preferences, and who you feel comfortable dealing with. You can speak to more than one solicitor before appointing one to act for you. If you choose a solicitor you’re unhappy with, you can change your solicitor if you think it’s necessary.
To find a solicitor, visit our Find a Solicitor website
When you have chosen your solicitor, you’ll need to make an appointment.
Before you meet your solicitor, you should:
During the appointment your solicitor should:
If you’ve asked the solicitor to act for you, they’ll follow up with a client care letter. The client care letter should set out:
You should keep your solicitor updated about any changes to your personal or financial circumstances that may affect your case. For example, changes to your financial position may affect your entitlement to legal aid.
If you’re a new client, or you haven’t used your solicitor for a while, your solicitor must carry out identification checks. These are also known as money laundering checks. They help prevent money laundering by criminals targeting law firms.
As part of these checks, you’ll need to show your solicitor, or someone acting on their behalf, some personal documents. These could include:
See a proof of identity checklist on GOV.UK
If you do not have these documents, you should ask your solicitor for advice on how to verify your identity.
If you’re not satisfied with how your solicitor handled your case or with their bill, you can complain.
How to complain about a solicitor
Download: Easy read guide on how to use a solicitor in England and Wales (PDF 1.9mb)
Download: Welsh version - Easy read guide on how to use a solicitor in England and Wales (PDF 1.9mb)