It's interesting how the nature of the work coming in changes with the seasons; during Spring and Summer conveyancing blooms, finally reaching fever pitch before the start of the acadmic year and then in Autumn with children settled into new schools, it seems people take stock of things before Winter and the distraction of Christmas preparations arrive. It's at this time that we see a big rise in Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorneys; I suppose it's about being organised and in having everything in order, before the shorter days set in.
Our fees for Wills and Powers of Attorney continue to present us with a bit of a conundrum. We receive calls from potential clients who see our fixed fees for Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney in the local magazines and then ‘ring round’ for quotes. In one week three called us to ask why our fees are so low and whether Jonathan and Charles are actually solicitors! The answer to the latter is of course most certainly yes, indeed Jonathan has now been qualified for 35 years and Charles qualified in 2011. The thing is, we set our fees to make a living, not a fortune; lovely as that would be, at the end of the day it’s all about feeling comfortable in what we charge and how we run the practice and because it’s ours, we can make all the decisions relating to it.
So, back to the conundrum, should we put our fees up just because others around us are charging more, or do we stick to what we believe in and simply refer people to the Law Society website, where they can check Jonathan and Charles out? We do discuss it from time to time, but always decide that the answer is actually clear; our fixed fees should remain as they are and for non-fixed fee work, an hourly rate of £175 plus VAT seems to us to be a fair and proper amount to charge for a solicitor. Additionally, we never charge a percentage of the estate in probate work. Our fees and our philosophy for the practice are set out in the Fees and Ethical Values sections.
After graduating in Law in June, Stuart is now part time at Uni doing his Legal Practice Course and is here in the office on the other two and a half days, doing general office works and making a pretty good job of his reception duties! He has taken over this aspect from Abi who has now left to go to Uni and is much missed, but doing well. Stuart will commence the final part of his qualification in June, when he will start his two year training contract. Yes it does take years to train a solicitor, especially if you're the parents paying for it!!
With the icy days ahead, a quick reminder that we do visit clients at home locally if they find it difficult to get to us. We have never charged for this; it's part of the ethos of the practice that as their solicitors, Jonathan and Charles should be as accessable to their clients as possible. For the same reason, evening appointments can be arranged if that works better with their clients' work commitments. Children are always welcome, we have a toybox in the interview room and Charles and Jonathan are often presented with lovely pictures at the end of the appointment from clearly budding artists. Visiting dogs are a treat and Jonathan keeps a secret stash of Boneos in the main interview room! On the animal front, we will again be supporting the Cinnamon Trust with our Christmas Card and I will shortly be thinking of inspiration as to how I can dress Lily up for the picture this year. It's become a tradition, Lily our labradoodle has appeared on all of the last six years cards and we are told clients look forward to them!
Thank you for your continued support and recommendations. Do remember our Facebook page which we update every now and then.