If you need to engage the services of a solicitor in Scotland, how are going to go about selecting one?
You might already have a solicitor. If he or she is not able to take your case on, for whatever reason, they might be able to recommend a suitable alternative.
Another possibility is that you get a recommendation from a relative or friend who has used a particular solicitor or firm in the past.
If neither of those is an option, what you need is to find a solicitor with clear expertise in the relevant area of law (e.g. Agricultural Law).
How do you establish whether a solicitor is an expert in their field (no pun intended)?
The Law Society of Scotland’s specialist accreditation scheme
A reliable, independent benchmark comes in the form of the Law Society of Scotland’s Specialist Accreditation Scheme. It has been in existence since 1990 and was developed to recognise the efforts of Scottish solicitors who amass specialist knowledge, and develop specialist skills, over the course of their careers.
The directory of accredited specialists provides a handy reference point to help you to choose the best solicitor for your legal issue, especially if the matter is likely to be complex.
About 450 Scottish solicitors hold accreditation through the Law Society of Scotland (LSS). There are 28 specialisms under which solicitors can be accredited:
- agricultural law
- charity law
- child law
- commercial leasing
- construction law
- crofting law
- debt & asset recovery
- discrimination law
- employment law
- environmental law
- family law
- freedom of information and data protection
- insolvency law
- incapacity & mental disability law
- intellectual property law
- liquor licensing law
- medical negligence law
- medical negligence (defender only)
- mental health law
- pensions law
- personal injury law
- planning law
- private client tax
- professional negligence law
- public procurement law
- trusts law
The accreditation process requires completion of a lengthy and detailed application form for LSS, which asks about complex matters handled by the solicitor in the particular field of law over the previous 5 years. The application is assessed by a panel of experts appointed by LSS. If accreditation is awarded, it has to be renewed – via the same process – every 5 years.
“Find a Solicitor” via LSS website
If you need to know how to find a local specialist solicitor in Scotland, we recommend you make this tool – on LSS website – your first port of call.
We think it could be easier to use than it is. If you don’t use the Find a Solicitor search form properly, the risk is that you won’t maximise the focus of your search. So we’re providing a step-by-step guide to make sure you don’t miss out on the full power of the search facility LSS have developed.
Finding a solicitor – step by step
- Go to the “Find a Solicitor” page on the LSS website.
- Select the “Solicitor” tab (click where indicated by the arrow in the image, below).
- Select “Advanced search options” at the bottom left corner of the Search form (click on the words indicated by the arrow in the image, below.
- Click on the dropdown arrow under the heading “Accredited Specialism” to see the list of specialisms and select the one which best corresponds with the area of law in which you require a solicitor (click point indicated by the green arrow in the image below).
- Check that the specialisation you wanted has appeared in the “Accredited Specialism” box (in the image, below, the selected accreditation is “Personal Injury Law Specialisation”).
- (2 steps here) First, insert your postcode or city/town in the box towards the left of the form (indicated by green arrow in the image, below); second, click on the large, blue “Search” button towards the bottom right of the form (also visible in the image, below).
- Finally, view the results produced (for example, as below)
We hope this is helpful, whether you need to find a solicitor in Aviemore or Auchterless, Lerwick or Hawick, Lochaber or Fochabers .
As a reminder, the link to the “Find a Solicitor” tool on the Law Society of Scotland website is HERE.
You can download a pdf version of this article (including the instructions and screenshots above) by clicking HERE (download begins immediately) (196kB).
How we can help
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this article or about any of our Services. Among other things, your questions assist us by providing ideas for further help we might be able to give in the form of website articles such as this.
Image: Elise Laberge via Unsplash.