Driscoll Kingston Info
Driscoll Kingston Solicitors in Liverpool: Review
At the time of writing this we've been working with Driscoll Kingston for a little under a year. We don't demand perfection from any firm but we do our regular checks such as SRA verification, flicking through the Legal Ombudsman reports, ensuring they offer free consultations where expected, reading through any available consumer reviews, and so on.
We are more thorough than you probably need to be as a potential client. But as we plan on recommending them to other people - we don't want to end up with egg on our face. For example when we see that their website states 'established in 2011' but every company check website says they started in 2018 - we want to know why. In this instance it's simply that they were not a limited company at first. No big deal. Before we get into any more pointers though, what do Driscoll Kingston say about themselves?
Sounds wonderful but I'm sure you've already seen words like 'fresh', 'modern', and 'dynamic' on dozens of other solicitor's websites today. So what might actually be different about them? For a start they're growing, having already moved from humble beginnings in Chorley (Lancashire) to offices in central Liverpool. They haven't thrown open the gates on their case range though. Often when firms want to grow they'll start accepting every case type possible. DK cover compensation claims and Wills/Probate. That's it. Many people only think of specialists when it comes to things such as Criminal Law. But specialists in any case type can only be a plus.
Whilst the firm has a 'Our People' section where you can read about staff members (something we encourage every law firm to have) it's not instantly clear from the main pages that Driscoll Kingston have some very experienced solicitors available. If you ever want to know how long someone has been practising law, you can always look them up on The Law Society website. On checking just now they list several individuals for Driscoll Kingston such as David Edwards, Julie Twist, Karla-lea Kingston, and Joanne Bold with 30 years, 20 years, 16 years, and 6 years experience respectively. In fact added together the firm has almost 100 years of combined experienced between the current solicitors.
It should therefore be noted that Driscoll Kingston have been very cautious and honest on their website by only stating they have 30 years experience (i.e. the longest length one of their solicitors has been qualified). Be careful on other firm's sites where you'll see an * or words like 'joint' or 'combined' buried later on in the sentence. We have seen one firm stating a 15 year establishment date when neither of the two solicitors currently working there had been qualified for more than a couple of years. It's all in the wording. Anyway, back to this firm:
Some case types such as difficult medical negligence cases won't be able to be covered by a no win, no fee arrangement. This is typical with any personal injury firm. But be aware when checking out firms that "no win, no fee" and "100% compensation" are two totally different catchphrases meaning very different things. "No win, no fee" only means that if you lose there are no fees to pay. If you win, you could end up handing as much as 25% of your settlement to your solicitor. "100% compensation" means there are no fees no matter what and the solicitor will recoup all their costs from the third party.
Again, the language used on the site's intro pages may not be the most innovative, unique, or exciting. The majority of solicitor's websites you'll visit today will say they understand the stress and care for their clients. It would look odd if they didn't. But if you look past the required sentiments, you might have missed little things like the firm's Blog section.
When you've finished scrunching up your eyebrows and narrowing your eyes at that last statement - let me explain. Over the past 20+ years of writing about law firms I've come to realise you can tell a lot about a firm from the type of things they put in their News/Blog sections. Driscoll Kingston have articles on case samples, changes in the law, staff promotions, and their charitable efforts. Things you probably don't care about as a consumer looking to make a basic whiplash claim. But the fact it's not simply a pile of extra sales pitches disguised as articles - speaks volumes.
You don't even have to read them. Just flicking through titles such as "Fundamental Dishonesty – A case Analysis", "Jacob Corstorphine V Liverpool City Council", or "Portal Mistakes and Consequences" and you get the sense that these people really love their work. Their firm, it's staff, and the legal industry as a whole mean a lot to them.
So how do the consumer reviews stack up? Not great at the moment. There are only a handful of reviews in places such as Google, 192 and Facebook with ratings as low as 1 star out of 5. As always, we recommend actually reading the reviews. Not just glancing at the sideline star ratings. Three of them seem to be about the exact same case just with different names used, and one is a contact request filled with the person's case details. The rest are all 4-5 star reviews saying the company is great. But when you take the average it means the firm's highest rating is 3.2 out of 5 (Google).
Sadly, we've seen reviews where they person gave a 1 star out of 5 because the Criminal Law specialist he contacted wouldn't take on his divorce case. No really! That's like giving Pizza Hut 1 star for not serving the Chinese food you asked for.
Of course, there are always the hand-picked testimonials from the firm's own website. If you read the article previous to this one, you'll see a great example of why we regularly dislike testimonial pages. Solicitors tend to pick comments that are utterly glowing but lacking any information that could help a potential client actually decide whether they sound like the type of firm they're after. For example many would prefer to have a dozen reviews all saying "Would totally recommend!" rather than a varied selection of comments such as "Timely manner", "regular updates", "solicitor always available and happy to answer questions", etc - i.e. things that can give you an impression of the firm and it's people.
Driscoll Kingston's selection of testimonials was utterly unique. More than a dozen snippets packed with odd grammar, spelling mistakes, and a mix of quotes/commentaries. It actually reads like a review page from a mainstream review site rather than the blurb on a movie poster:
"Driscoll Kingston were excellent at keeping me updated on progression."
"It Is [sic] the first time I have ever received compensation for anything ..."
"... I would like to thank you all for the good service."
"Every question I asked was answered to my satisfaction, I cannot see any improvement needed."
"... there is no need for improvement from this firm."
"At Driscoll Kingston no improvement is needed."
I'm sure that like me, many of you have also assumed the firm must ask clients to fill in a feedback form which has a question along the lines of 'Is there anything we could do to improve?' That would explain much of the content of the testimonial page.
On navigation/contact, please note that most mobile networks no longer charge for 0800 numbers. There is still some confusion with 0845, 0300, 0333 and so on but we know of no network that charges for 0800 numbers any more. The main website address www.driscollkingston.co.uk is linked to above and we didn't see any other similarly named firms popping up in the search engine results. However variants such as www.driscollkingston.com or those with a hyphen in the driscoll-kingston don't currently go anywhere so it would be best to bookmark just in case. And just to be clear, it's not Driscoll AND Kingston. You can't get '&' characters in web addresses anyway. We didn't check any spelling error domains as there didn't seem to be too many people making those mistakes in the keyword search data. But usually scammers target property solicitors.
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 Driscoll Kingston it's best to visit the website (www.driscollkingston.co.uk), 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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