- What's different about the Good Lawyer Guide?
- On what criteria do you base your reviews?
- What are the star ratings?
- Do solicitors pay you to rank them?
- Should I choose a solicitor solely because of your star-rating?
- How do I post a review of my solicitor?
- Do you cover all solicitors?
- How should I choose a solicitor?
- How do you make your money?
- Why don’t you review lawyers who are not solicitors?
- What is the difference between a ‘partner’ and an ‘associate’?
- Does it matter if a solicitor is a ‘partner’?
- Why do you not include Scotland?
- Who produces the Good Lawyer Guide?
- Using our ratings responsibly.
What's different about the Good Lawyer Guide?
We provide free, independent, and unbiased advice on choosing a solicitor.
All solicitors are listed free of charge - no solicitor can 'buy' their way into our reviews.
Law firms can pay to list extended information about the firm and its solicitors. Solicitors at these firms are clearly marked out for you within our listings, so you can view as much information on your potential solicitor as possible.
Please note that the order in which solicitors are listed is based on star rankings before anything else. All our star rankings are awarded strictly on merit and cannot be influenced by whether or not a firm chooses to provide extra information or pay for advertising.
That's how you can be sure that the Good Lawyer Guide provides genuinely independent recommendations.
On what criteria do you base your reviews?
We collect publicly available information on thousands of solicitors. We ensure that we have similar data for all solicitors working within a particular area of work, and then we compare the results. We look for the indicators of professional experience and expertise. We weight different factors according to their relevance and significance. We then crunch the numbers using a mathematical algorithm, and that gives us star-rating bands. We treat all solicitors within an area of work in exactly the same way.
Google uses its algorithm to list websites in what it regards as the most useful/relevant order. We do the same on this site, using our algorithm to list solicitors in what we think is the most useful/relevant order. And just as Google does not publish its search algorithm, nor do we!
We base our review criteria on what 20+ years of legal market analysis have taught us are the most important factors However, another reviewer might select different data (or apply different weighting) and so get different review results. So it is important not to interpret our reviews as meaning that the solicitor with the highest star-rating is necessarily the best (or the solicitor with the lowest star-rating the worst). For more on how to use our ratings, click here.
What are the star ratings?
All our star-rated solicitors are recommended. If a solicitor has any kind of star–rating, we are recommending them.
Do solicitors pay you to rank them?
No! Solicitors cannot pay to get high rankings. The criteria we use for our rankings are based on information that is publicly available, and we treat all solicitors the same. It is impossible for a solicitor to buy their way into our ranking system.
All solicitors are listed free of charge - they can even post their photo without paying to do so. That’s how you can be sure that no solicitor has ‘bought’ their way into our reviews.
Should I choose a solicitor solely because of your star-rating?
No. Our rating is merely an indicator that the solicitor scores well within the various professional criteria that we have selected.
A well-reviewed solicitor is not necessarily the ‘best’ solicitor for you. There are many factors involved in deciding which is the right solicitor (click here for more on this). For instance, the single most important factor may be whether you like the individual solicitor; whether there is a rapport, and whether you feel you can really trust and rely on them. That will be a personal decision for you. We don’t believe that any review or reviewer should dictate to you which solicitor is the ‘right’ choice.
We believe our review system gives you a good indicator of professional experience and expertise, as judged by the criteria that we strongly believe are important. So our advice is to use the reviews as a starting point - produce a shortlist of solicitors in your area, and then visit each of them to see whether which is the right lawyer for you.
How do I post a review of my solicitor?
Just go to the solicitor’s profile and click ‘client review’. It is as simple as that!
Other users of this site want to know your genuine views on a particular solicitor. In particular, if a solicitor was ‘good’ then say so – tell everyone else about them.
Please consider the following when giving your review:
- Assess the solicitor not the result of the case – losing the case may not have been down to your lawyer; conversely, you may have won the case despite your solicitor’s incompetence!
- Our visitors are looking for practical advice on choosing a solicitor, rather than details of your case. We understand it’s frustrating to lose – but this is not a forum for letting off steam! (Please note – comments or statements that might be disputed, or arguments about ‘who said what to whom’, are not permitted and will be deleted).
- What matters is your straightforward assessment of the performance of the solicitor you used, and the impression you formed of them while they were working with you.
Do you cover all solicitors?
Over 50,000 solicitors are listed in the Good Lawyer Guide, which we believe makes our reviews comprehensive to an extent unparalleled elsewhere. However, there are some solicitors who are not listed, perhaps because they have only become qualified in the last year or so, or if we have not been able to obtain sufficient public information on the work they do, or because they have opted out of the Good Lawyer Guide. A solicitor’s absence from our guide is not in itself a comment on their competence! Also, we do not include solicitors in the largest commercial firms (which only work for large companies and institutions).
Note that we do list some individuals at law firms who are not solicitors, and their status is described as (eg) traineee, legal executive, foreign lawyer, barrister. Details of all individuals entitled to call themselves solicitors can be found at www.lawsociety.org.uk/choosingandusing/findasolicitor.law, and the status of other legal professionals can be checked directly with the Council for Licensed Conveyancers, the Institute of Legal Executives and the Bar Council (for barristers).
How should I choose a solicitor?
Much depends on what you want the solicitor to do. But, these are usually the main factors:
- Professional expertise and experience: our reviews are intended to give an indicator of each individual solicitor’s professional experience and expertise within a specific work area. We judge this by looking at the factors and data we believe are most significant or irrelevant. Click here for more on this.
- Personal rapport: solicitors often have to handle confidential and stressful situations. It is important that you get on with the solicitor as an individual. It is rather like using a doctor: patients generally prefer a GP with a good bedside manner, rather than a highly qualified consultant who treats you in a formal, impersonal way. So it is with lawyers. In our experience, personal chemistry between the solicitor and the client can be the most important factor of all. No one can tell you whether you like a particular solicitor – you have to decide that for yourself!
- Location: some legal work can be done through the post and via e-mail (eg most house-buying and selling). But some legal work does need you to be relatively near to the solicitor. In that case, there is no point in instructing a specialist lawyer many miles away. So, always consider whether it really is necessary to travel a great distance to see your lawyer. Our location-based search function will help you find local lawyers who can do the job just as well.
- Language: the relationship between a solicitor and client is a very personal one. You need to be able to communicate. This means there must be a common language. If English is not your first language, then you might be well advised to find a solicitor who can communicate with in a language you would choose. On the other hand, remember that relatively few solicitors speak fluently in languages other than English.
- Price: there used to be a wonderful system of free Legal Aid in this country. Over the last 20 years it has largely been abolished, such that most working people will find that they are not eligible (clcik here for more on legal aid). It is always important to get a proper price estimate from a solicitor before deciding whether or not to use them. In fact, every solicitor is obliged by law to give you a written estimate of likely fees. Moreover, if the fees look like they are going to change as time goes by, then the solicitor must give you a revised estimate. Any attempt not to comply with these rules is indicative of a solicitor you should seek to avoid! Only use a solicitor who is prepared to set out clearly in writing what the charges are likely to be.
Unfortunately, most people find legal fees expensive. The fees that solicitors charge usually vary enormously depending on the nature of the case (eg how many letters have to be sent) and that is why it is often difficult for a solicitor to give a fully binding estimate beforehand - and why it can be difficult for solicitors to give guideline figures as to what they are likely to charge.
How do you make your money?
Like most other internet sites we make our money through advertising. We carry display advertising, and also law firms can Subscribe (all firm profiles are paid for).
Why don't you review lawyers who are not solicitors?
Staff at solicitors' firms often include other legal professionals who have completed different forms of training, such as Legal Executives. At present The Good Lawyer Guide does not offer comparative ratings of Legal Executives, but you can find more information at the Institute of Legal Executives website. The absence of ratings for Legal Executives should not be taken as a comment on their competence!
Where possible Legal Executives who have been included on our site have been marked out as such on their profiles.
Trainee solicitors and paralegals have not always been included on our website as we believe fully trained legal practitioners are best placed to offer you advice.
Barristers traditionally operate from smaller firms (‘chambers’), and are not ordinarily accessible to members of the public (typically, you still go to see a barrister with a solicitor).
What is the difference between a ‘partner’ and an ‘associate’?
Most law firms operate as partnerships of solicitors (ie a few solicitors join together and run the firm as a collective partnership). Those individuals are ‘partners’. The will usually employ other solicitors (probably, but not necessarily, less experienced than the partners) who are described as assistant or associate solicitors.
Does it matter if a solicitor is a ‘partner’?
In simple terms, a partner is likely to have been in practice for longer than a typical assistant or associate (and should therefore have more experience). That increased experience and seniority may be reflected in their fees, with a partner charging more than an assistant/associate.
You may not want to pay more for a partner when the legal work is simple and straightforward (and can be done by an assistant or associate). On the other hand, if the work is complex or important, then it is almost certainly worth paying for the extra experience of a partner.
Why don’t you include Scotland?
Scotland does not operate under the same system of law as England and Wales. Additionally, Scottish lawyers operate under a different regulatory structure. Accordingly, we cannot rate them alongside solicitors.
Who produces the Good Lawyer Guide?
The Good Lawyer Guide is produced by Legalease, under the leadership of John Pritchard. He is author of the Penguin Guide to the Law and is editor of all Legalease publications.
He is also general editor of Employment Law Journal, Property Law Journal, Family Law Journal, Personal Injury Law Journal, and Wills & Estates Law Journal. as well as writing the monthly Practical Lawyer (www.practicallawyer.co.uk).
Legalease has been collecting data on lawyers and law firms for over twenty years. See www.legalease.co.uk.
Using our ratings responsibly.
Please bear in mind the following when using our ratings:
- As with any system designed to rate professional ability, our review system is subjective, and our assessment gives weight to various data based on our opinion of the varying significance and importance of different factors. Other reviewers might well give different weight to different factors and come up with different results – our results do not purport to constitute fact, and should not be construed as such.
- Our reviews seek to recognise solicitors who have reached a level of professional expertise that is – by our criteria and ranking system – deserving of acknowledgement. They do not seek to disparage a solicitor who happens to have a lower star-rating than another, nor does it mean that solicitor is relatively bad or incompetent.
- Our calculations do not purport to be exhaustive in terms of what data we use to produce our ratings. For example, other review sites might place importance on the level of University, which is not something we take into account. And remember that there are many other - and more important – factors that you should take into account when choosing a lawyer (eg cost; personal relationship with an individual lawyer; location; specialist expertise, etc) and in that context our guide may only make a small contribution to the decision-making process.