Alfred James & Co Solicitors LLP Info
Alfred James & Co Solicitors LLP in South Croydon, Surrey: Review
AJ&Co have been working with 1to1Legal on and off since 2012. That shows they obviously have incredibly good taste in business partnerships. Does that mean we're going to write a completely bias review? Of course not. At least a third of the firms we've reviewed so far have worked with us at one time or another. (We have been doing this for over 20 years.)
However, the following article may sound very 'pro' rather than 'pro vs con' because we really do like the firm alot. As always though we explain why with examples, snippets, analogies, and comparisons. So the fact we have mostly nice things to say about them is simply the reason we've partnered with them in the first place. So, what's so great about them? From the main page right the way through all the case types and contact pages - the Alfred James & Co website is full of language that indicates a considerate and welcoming firm. Right from the opening sentence:
If you've already been through dozens of law firm websites today, you'll probably agree that this is not a common opening style. Usually firms try to get in as many buzz words as possible straight away such as 'modern', 'tech savvy', 'cost effective', 'established', or vague claims such as 'one of the most (whatever) in the country'.
It doesn't seem to just be a marketing ploy either. They back up this ethical attitude by doing something very few solicitors still bother with - Legal Aid. The main reason many solicitors have dropped Legal Aid is because of the continuous cuts meaning they barely get their costs covered and not much more, if that. But this firm not only still work with Legal Aid, they have a full section talking about entitlement and how they can help you find out what assistance is available. Obviously Legal Aid isn't possible for every case type or situation. But blame the government for this, not the solicitor that delivers the bad news.
The firm cover Conveyancing, Divorce, Family Law, Employment Law, Immigration Law, Personal Injury Law, Civil Disputes & Litigation but there are references to them helping businesses as well - so you can always phone and ask whether they will handle your issue. Often, a firm will only list the most commonly known case titles in the service list of their site.
Their promise of being a jargon-free firm can be seen in this as well. For example they use several phrases to describe a case rather than use the case title: relationship breakdowns and property settlements (Divorce), death of a loved one (Probate), buying or selling a home (Conveyancing), and so on. Whilst you may be perfectly comfortable with much legal speak, the fact they break it down this far already shows an accentuated attention to detail.
You may think that this is merely a bunch of words chosen because they sound good. Yes, most firms will have a statement such as this included practically identical words. However, watch out for firms that don't state this because each item is a valid point to consider when choosing a law firm. We have experienced firsthand the problems of being with a huge law firm and being lost/inconsequencial to them. Although that doesn't mean every firm with more than 10 staff members has lost that personal touch. (Read our article on Taylor Rose TTKW's setup.)
The reputation for a "timely" service is also important. The most common complaint we see registered against solicitors in the Legal Ombudsman's database is delayed service. Delays cost money and even entire cases. Solicitors that fail to execute a case in a timely fashion can be sued themselves because once a case is out of time - there's often no way to undo it. So don't assume that all law firms punctually show up at court or file documents well ahead of time - because they don't. Many solicitors are going to get paid whether they do a good job or completely ruin your chances. Just have a flick through the Legal Ombudsman's complaints database to see evidence of that.
Any negatives? Well, we're not fan of any firm that lists large numbers of compensation payouts they've achieved. This is obviously a personal opinion but one which we've written articles about. The reason is, we feel too much is made of the financial 'reward' of pursuing a compensation claim. Whilst stating such large numbers isn't always about carrot-dangling, we think it would be better if solicitors had more resources on hand to offer such as counselling and avoided money as the focus. At least Alfred James & Co don't offer their clients an iPad just for signing up. (No really. We've posted snapshots of such adverts by other firms on our Twitter feed.)
We don't think such information is helpful in any way. But in all honestly, that's the only niggle we have about the firm - and that's not much. The reviews about them are a bit more polarised. Unfortunately most of the negative star ratings they've been given are not accompanied by any actual review/description. Usually if someone is angry enough to leave a 1 star rating they have plenty to say about why. Often with excessive capitalisation and punctuation. The fact someone has been given the firm 1 star ratings with no comment is not just unhelpful to others trying to make a decision, but is also very suspicious. In the same way that a firm having dozens of 5 star reviews all left within the space of few days by people who have only ever left one review about any firm ever - is suspicious.
"Really professional and know what they are talking about"
"Absolutely fantastic service from everyone that handled my case"
There are obviously some testimonials the firm has posted on their website, but the ones we've quoted are from the independent review sites. At the time this was written there weren't many reviews considering how long the firm has been running. You can try the regular places such as Google, TrustPilot, FreeIndex, Yellow Pages, and so on just in case more have been posted since. But a low number of reviews is normal for law firms. There are only two firms we've ever worked with that have broken the 100-review barrier. Both are national conveyancing companies.
Just a quick note on navigation. The main website is www.alfred-james.com but www.alfredjames.com is a musician and www.alfred-james.co.uk is owned by a different firm as well. www.alfredjames.co.uk doesn't seem to be owned by anyone. So once you are sure you are on the right website, bookmark it just in case you have a memory/finger slip when trying to get back there.
General Notes: Usually if Legal Aid is possible we've mentioned it above, but you can always ask. We haven't looked in depth at their recruitment program so are unaware of any job vacancies available. For a career with Alfred James & Co Solicitors LLP it's best to visit the website (www.alfred-james.com), check opening hours, and find the correct phone/email contact details. Simply emailing a CV to reception looks lazy. Each law firm's Law Society and/or SRA number should be on their site, usually at the bottom of each page.
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