Huneewoth Solicitors Info
Huneewoth Solicitors based in Croydon, South London: Review
This week I was asked why all the reviews I write are mostly positive. It's because I only write about firms we take on to the 1to1Legal solicitor recommendation panel. For them to get onto the panel, they have already passed a certain standard. We check through 8000+ records in the Legal Ombudsman's complaints database. We check the firm's website for clarity and usability (e.g. mobile friendly). We even dig through a little background on the staff, and more. Huneewoth Solicitors was no exception.
So for this review article (so I have a reference to point to next time I'm asked) I'm going to take you through what I did to research this firm. It's good advice! I hope you're taking notes ...
First, I make sure I have the correct name to research. Whilst a firm may call itself Super Clear Law and have superclearlaw.info as a web address, if you scroll down to the bottom of the page or check the terms and conditions - you may often find that Super Clear Law is only a 'trading name' of Someone & Co Solicitors. That means you have to check up on both the trading name, and the parent firm to get the full picture.
This makes a huge difference when checking through the Legal Ombudsman's complaints database. We usually check the previous 4 years of complaints. Huneewoth Solicitors has no separate trading name, so we only searched for the one name in the database. There were zero results.
We then went on to check the firm's details in the relevant Law Society's database. You can see Huneewoth's record here. The Law Society database will also tell you if the firm is regulated by the SRA (Solicitor's Regulation Authority). Huneewoth is.
On the Law Society record, it should state the areas of practice that the firm covers. On this occasion, the practice areas are not mentioned. So, we clicked to view the name of the solicitors at this firm and clicked on Anupamah Huneewoth's name. On her personal record, her practice areas are stated as Crime, Family Law, Immigration, and Litigation. We then head over to the firm's official website to compare. This is important because if they have only stated Criminal Law in the Law Society record as an area of practice, but have twenty other case type names on their website - it may be that they are brand new to each of those areas of law. If we find a noticeable discrepancy, we ask about it - and you should too. However, Huneewoths records and website match quite well.
Now we're on the website. First order of business is to find an About Us section. We want to know how old the firm is, check out what they state their unique points are, and hopefully see some links to profiles on the firm's staff. Huneewoth does not have a custom built website. Their information is hosted on the National Solicitor's network. If you don't know what that is, it honestly doesn't matter. Nothing positive or negative should be read into whether a firm is part of the National Solicitor's network or not. There is no About Us page for us to look at though, so we started reading through the information.
Huneewoth Solicitors are based in Croydon - a large town in South London's 'Borough of Croydon'. They offer to help with criminal defence, divorce, family law, immigration, probate, and wills. They use the word 'experienced' to describe themselves in reference to family law and immigration. Whilst using 'necessary expertise' to describe their abilities for crime and probate. What is the difference between 'experience' and 'expertise'? Ask them. Because many solicitors don't update their websites very often, so whilst they may not have had a lot of experience in certain case types at the time of writing - they may have quite a bit of it by the time you call.
What other words are we looking for when we are checking out a law firm's website? On their information page about helping people with criminal defence work they say:
"... we ask that you are completely honest with us from the outset ..."
as well as quoting a 24/7 emergency mobile number to call if you have been arrested - 078 469 74077. They also have a short list of typical case types they are willing to handle such as assault, benefit fraud, abuse, motoring offences and so on. Information and statements like these are crucial to putting a potential client's mind at ease, and show a level of client understanding.
It's the same story on the Immigration information page, where they say:
"You can call us in complete confidence using the number below."
whilst stating an ability to converse in French, Hindi, Urdu, Tamil, and Mauritian Creole. These languages are also mentioned on the official Law Society records discussed earlier. Some law firms will state a range of language abilities, when what they mean is they can get an interpreter into the office within 24-48 hours to translate back and forth. Huneewoth state that they actually speak these languages.
We also check each website's functionality, such as being mobile friendly (although that is not a deal breaker) and whether there is a range of genuine contact information. On any decent law firm's website you should expect to see a landline number, an email address, and an online contact form. Even if the firm has an 0800 or other freephone number, they should have a landline number as well because of the high cost of freephone numbers when calling from some mobile phones. They should also have a direct, company email address such as email@example.com not firstname.lastname@example.org
With all of that checked out, we were only left with one aspect missing - history. The firm's founding solicitor, Anupamah Huneewoth, became a solicitor in 2011. But there were no records of when Huneewoth Solicitors as a firm was created. We therefore went on a search for both names on the web. We turned up quite a few things including a tribunal case where Anupamah successfully defended her clients position. The case was in 2014, but the document states that Anupamah was working on behalf of Raj Law at the time.
So, we started all over again. Legal Ombudsman, Law Society, SRA, website check, etc. all for the name Raj Law. The contrast was quite profound. Raj Law had five complaints registered with the ombudsman, a website full of errors (broken links, broken images, broken contact form, blank pages, etc.), and despite having existed since 2004 - absolutely no information, articles, news, or discussions about them anywhere.
This is where factual investigation turns to gut instinct. A general 'feel' of a firm can be gained during all this research. The instant assumption is that Mrs Huneewoth (yes, from our research we discovered she is a 'Mrs' and apparently prefers 'Anu' to Anupamah) apparently left a stagnant firm with problems to set out on her own. Whether that is true or not is unimportant. 'He said, she said' conversations are not reliable sources of information.
Therefore we are left with all the information above and our gut instinct about it. What would you decide?
Clearly, we decided to have faith in Anupamah and her Huneewoth Solicitors setup. The clinching piece of information? The fact that she defined the case types she had 'experience' in, as opposed to those for which she felt she had the necessary 'expertise'. This may seem like a mere trick of semantics - but having scoured through hundreds of solicitor websites over the years, seeing someone compelled to be honest in their description (even if they did blend it in very well) was a refreshing detail.
A quick note on navigation though because unfortunately, Huneewoth is a tricky last name to spell! During our own research I managed to mess it up several times such as Hunneewoth, but mostly Huneeworth! The designated web address is www.huneewothsolicitors.co.uk even though it currently redirects you to a section on the www.nationalsolicitors.com website. www.huneewothsolicitors.com does not exist either. So for the moment, we would recommend bookmarking the NS page that you land on to save any potential issues in the future. We'll try and keep an eye on it though in case the website location changes.
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 Huneewoth Solicitors it's best to visit the website (www.huneewothsolicitors.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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