The second of our black and white monthly images, entitled ‘No Magic’, represents the training and development of our legal team behind the scenes, as well as solicitors in general, to reflect why choosing the right law firm for your legal matters needs more thought than just plumping for a name. Not all legal providers are made equally (some are not even solicitors) and your choice can have a direct impact on your matter.
It is not down to magic that our solicitors are experts in their own field and the right choice for your legal need but rather a dedication to learning, training and developing to make them not only competent lawyers but specialists in their respective fields.
Experts in their Fields
In addition to the training requirements to become a solicitor, 4 years of higher education and 2 years in practice, we encourage our solicitors to undertake additional training and qualifications to make them specialists in their respective areas of practice and respected amongst their peers.
Our Wills, Probate, Tax & Trusts team include members of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and Solicitors for the Elderly so they have vast experience and knowledge in Wills, tax planning matters and later life planning.
Our Family & Divorce team include members of Resolution Specialists, Collaborative Family Lawyers and trained mediators so they can take a holistic approach to separation and childcare issues.
Our residential property team have been awarded the Conveyancing Quality Scheme to reflect the quality of their work on property sales, purchases and mortgaging whilst our Dispute Resolution team includes mental health accredited panel members.
The firm as a whole has also been awarded the Lexcel award by the Law Society as a quality mark for practice management and client care.
As the law itself constantly evolves all of our legal team go through annual training to remain at the forefront of their specialist legal areas.
A full list of our firm and individual accreditation’s can be found on our website.
Experience when it Counts
As a firm we have been assisting the people of County Durham, the Tees Valley and North Yorkshire with their legal matters for nearly 50 years.
Individual Solicitor’s experience is often referred to as post qualification experience (PQE,) in other words the number of years undertaking the job following the completion of the 6 years education and training set out above.
At Clark Willis, our longest serving solicitor and Partner, Peter Furness, specialising in Dispute resolution and Courts Martial work, has over 30 years PQE and our four Partners average 18 years PQE to lead our 28 strong team.
Whilst qualifications grant exposure to the relevant legislation and practice, it is experience that is the practical application of the law to assist individuals. The greater the number of years of practice, the more varied exposure to the real world application of the law and the greater ability to apply it to your matter, meaning increased knowledge and often swifter results.
Alternative Legal Providers
The is perhaps a little confusion by members of the public over solicitors, consultants, executives, Will writers, estate planners and even the words lawyer and solicitor. Unless you a dealing with a law firm or solicitor regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority then you are not dealing with a solicitor with known training levels, experience and fully backed by insurance.
If you approach someone to write you a Will for example you would assume that there is a minimum training requirement for any person in England writing a Will, after all it is a document of significant magnitude. Many people are shocked that they could become a Will writer themselves within the same day with very little or no qualification behind them let alone any experience.
Whilst for simple affairs they may well be capable of writing a Will, just as a person can write their own Will without any help, it is perhaps best described in comparison to your doctor versus attending an alternative medicine provider. Your local GP has minimum training levels, can look at your entire circumstances instead of an issue in isolation and has access to the NHS behind them, to provide peace of mind and appropriate treatment. With alternative legal providers, especially Will writing, errors only become apparent after a death when they can’t be easily rectified, if they can be rectified at all.
Martin Lewis, the Money Saving Expert includes in his Will writing advice:
Here we want to start with a WARNING – unlike many areas of financial services, will-writing is NOT a regulated market.
This means there are a number of different ways to get a will, but the protections you have if something goes wrong can vary hugely, depending on who writes it.
Confusingly, while will-writing itself is unregulated, because solicitors ARE regulated professionals, if you use them you ARE covered by a range of potentially valuable protections.
With other (non-lawyer) will-writing services, you do NOT have the same safeguards, and with a DIY will essentially you are on your own.
There really therefore isn’t any magic involved in dealing with our clients legal matters and our advice is purely based on training, experience and the knowledge and application of the law in a straight forward, clear way. So if you are in need of legal services in County Durham, the Tees Valley and North Yorkshire, then contact our trusted solicitors for peace of mind that what you are being advised is not hocus pocus.
‘No Magic’ is the series of a serious of monthly monochrome images to be featured over the next 12 months across our social media channels to highlight some of the key elements of our service so be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn to see the series as they are released.
For more information on our firm please see www.clarkwillis.com