It’s a fair question.
Gone are the days when it was enough for a solicitor to get by on the intense training they had completed in order to qualify.
Now, with a huge amount of choice about who to instruct for their case, and high expectations, clients demand more than a solicitor who knows the law.
And yet, it would appear that solicitors are not providing this level of client care.
Interestingly, in a LexisNexis report entitled The Age of the Client, while 8 in 10 lawyers said they were delivering an above-average service, only 4 in 10 clients said they were receiving this!
Times are certainly changing for law firms, and Forrest Williams pride ourselves on being a forward-focused law firm who don’t just talk about delivering client care, but place it as the absolute central philosophy within our firm.
Every member of the team here recognises that providing extraordinary client care is the most important part of their role – regardless of their job title*
This report prompted us to put together some thoughts on why we are different.
01: Client care is our specialty.
Any lawyer will know the law, that’s a given. Whichever solicitor you speak to, they will have studied hard and qualified. They’ll know which statute to turn to for an answer to your question, or at least where to look to remind themselves!
Here at Forrest Williams, we don’t talk to clients about the law too much. That’s what we’re being paid to know, understand and act on – we’re not giving you a quick legal education.
Instead, our main focus during a client’s case, is to give them extraordinary client care.
Going above and beyond isn’t something note-worthy in our office, it’s something every single member of the team – from our apprentice to our senior partner – is expected to do, every single day.
02: We’re Here, 24/7
We know that clients don’t stop worrying about their cases at 5pm, so we don’t see why we should become unavailable then.
For that reason, every member of our team has a personal secure eMail address, and we provide 24/7 telephone advice.
Here’s the interesting thing, though.
All of our legally trained staff use a flexible rota system to determine who will be ‘on call’ every evening and over every single weekend.
We had a full team meeting when we began this system, and we spoke about overtime pay for the people who man this after hours service.
And our team refused.
They said that that proposal was too formal, and they devised instead a system whereby a portion of our company profits each quarter are placed into a fund for team rewards – a collective thank you, if you will, for the hours that everyone has given freely to being ‘on call’ over the year.
Isn’t that amazing?
03: We Have An Amazing Team
The last point is just one of countless examples we could offer to illustrate this point.
Basically, every single member of our team is incredibly self-motivated and passionate about helping each and every client.
We are a small team and we consider ourselves a family.
By becoming our client, you become our family too – and we prepare your case as we would prepare a case for our mother, child or best friend.
04: Unlimited Holidays
In 2015, we heard that Virgin had introduced a policy of offering unlimited holiday leave for certain senior members of staff.
We knew that this policy would only be possible if there was trust that it wouldn’t be abused.
And, we also knew we have an amazing team.
So, we decided to introduce an unlimited holiday policy – for every single member of staff.
05: We Keep In Touch With Clients
We love our clients, and we hate it when their cases finish and we lose contact with them.
So, wherever possible, we stay in touch.
We have several old clients who we remain in touch with and who have become friends.
We have enjoyed nights out, meals, and evening a courtesy night out at a concert to see a well-known former client perform.
06: We Work To Fixed Fees
We understanding that for most people unfamiliar with the legal system, the idea of an unknown bill accumulating throughout your case is scary.
We overcome this worry wherever possible by working to pre-agreed fixed fees.
In fact, over 90% of our cases operate on this basis.
Sometimes, for large cases such as sexual offences, fraud or serious physical offences, a fixed fee is impossible to agree as the scale of the case is too unknown. In these cases, we offer fee estimates and present you with three tiers of service, allowing you to decide which package is right for your needs, and your budget.
07: We Keep You Informed
While our clients are encouraged to contact us at any time with questions, we also don’t believe that you should have to chase us for an update on your case.
You will be kept fully up to date as developments happen on your case, but in large long-running cases there may be periods where we are chasing documents or waiting for new evidence. In those cases, we still keep you informed because we don’t ever want you to feel as though your case has been forgotten about.
08: We Care
It’s surprising how well we will get to know you during your case.
We will celebrate your promotions, your acceptance for a new job, the birth of your first child.
We might also have to share your pain as you deal with difficult experiences – bereavement, addiction, mental health problems.
Whatever is going on in the rest of your life, we consider it an honour to share these experiences with you, and we treat them with the respect and sensitivity they deserve.
These are just a few of the ways in which we are not like other legal firms.
If you think we might be the firm you are looking for to handle your case, take a look at our team and feel free to contact the person you feel most drawn to.
You can call us on 01623 397200 for a free initial review of your case.