We are often approached by people who have instructed another firm of solicitors, but who are concerned, for whatever reason, at the advice they are receiving. They ask for a second opinion.
There is in principal no reason why we should not do this, and we will be happy to do so, where possible.
Please note however the following:
- Inevitably we are being asked to comment without full knowledge of the situation, and our advice will be qualified accordingly. The original solicitor will have very much more detailed information than the client, will perhaps have a closer knowledge of the other side, their strengths weaknesses, and general determination and resources. There are many and subtle influences on legal advice.
- Neither we, nor you, have any obligation to inform the other solicitor of the fact that you have sought our opinion, but, out of politeness, we will ask you to inform the solicitor that a second opinion has been sought. We will usually rely upon you to do this.
- You must be clear about our own charges in this circumstance. You should check our terms of acting, and current charging rates. You should expect us to charge for the work involved in giving the opinion sought. Also you will not be able to ecover such additional costs from the other side.
- Whilst we have no objection in principal to taking matters over from other solicitors, the transfer of a file always leads to additional and sometimes substantial additional costs to you, and usually also to some delay. Where a court date is imminent, you should assume that we will not take a matter over.
- Our readiness to give a second opinion does not mean that we will accept instructions to take over a matter. If invited so to act, we can give you that decision only at the time, and in the light of the information then available, and after considering the papers.
- We urge potential clients, in these circumstances to consider how fundamental is the difficulty with the existing solicitor. It may be cheaper, and more effective, to set out to repair that relationship rather than to change solicitors.