The stress factor

Legal issues can be stressful. Having a lawyer on your side and fighting your corner can be comforting and a sign that you're on track to getting things sorted. However just like anything in life, sometimes problems can happen.

If you feel like you're starting to have problems with your lawyer it can be hard to know what to do. You don't need to let this add to your stress-levels. Here are some tips if you find yourself having problems with a lawyer.

Talk that talk

Step one

To start with, the best thing you can do if you start having problems with the service your lawyer is giving you is to communicate. Talk to your lawyer face to face, call them up, put it on an email, write it down - however you do it just make sure your lawyer or someone else at the law firm you are using is told what you are not happy about.

Sometimes this can help to clear the air and they will have the chance to put things right. If it doesn't work though you should make things official and make a complaint to the lawyer or the business they work for.

Get things put in writing at this stage and give them a chance to take the complaint on board and reply to you. You can use a template complaint letter. The legal regulators require law firms to have procedures for handling complaints like this.

Step two

After making a complaint, if things still aren’t sorted you might want to get in touch with the Legal Ombudsman. You can't complain to the Legal Ombudsman until you have first complained to the firm.

The Legal Ombudsman can help if you’ve had problems with the service you received from a regulated legal service provider. If the complaint is about a regulated lawyer and related to misconduct or breach of the regulator's rules, as opposed to service, then their regulator can look into this.

The Legal Ombudsman

This is an independent service that is free to use, and that can look at your side of the story as well as the lawyers.

Legal Ombudsman logoThe Legal Ombudsman can look at service complaints about lawyers such as delays in getting your work done, not releasing documents to you and not keeping you informed about the progress of the work they are doing. Once the Legal Ombudsman has made a decision about your complaint the lawyer must comply with it. To find out more you can take a look at the Legal Ombudsman's website. You will find information about how it can help you, as well as template letters, guides, and support to help you at all different stages of the complaint process.