LMD Law Info
LMD Law from Lee Dowling Solicitors in Newcastle: Review
We've obviously been working with law firms for a while now. 17+ years at the time of writing this, and we've written a lot about law firms in that time as well. Normally when it comes time to write a review it takes about 5 seconds to judge what 'type' of firm I'm about to write about. There are antique firms, modern firms, big firms, one-man firms, general practice firms, niche firms, and those still-trying-various-things-as-they-try-to-find-their-own-sense-of-self firms.
LMD Law, however, took a lot longer than 5 seconds for me to get a grip on. That's not a criticism. What I mean is: the people running LMD don't appear to have simply gone to uni, got a degree, and started charging people to write letters. This was something else. From their website:
"Much of our work can be completed without meeting face to face so to achieve this we provide many different ways to contact us at LMDLaw from telephone and email, our website live chat facility and contact form to video conferencing using Skype."
If you haven't been keeping up to date with legal news (nothing to be ashamed of, most people don't) in the 90's, legal aid got cut a bit and that's when we saw the emergence of the 'no win, no fee' claims culture which boomed in a very big and very bad way. Then PPI, bank charges, and so on got to a fever point and the government made some rules that have never been enforced. Then they cut legal aid more. But every time the government seems to try and take away access to justice from people that can't afford shiny lawyers - the legal system adjusts to hand it back. For example, the growing 'direct access' awareness of people that they can hire a barrister directly to handle matters in court rather than paying a solicitor to hire a barrister.
In the same vein, LMD is clearly striving to be progressive and something new for the benefit of consumers. This was highlighted not so long ago in the Law Gazette where the firm was called an "innovative legal business" for their attempts to ensure that clients can get the right people involved in a case in the simplest manner possible, keeping costs down. They are among 44 such firms (at the time the article was written) doing so. From the article:
"Newcastle solicitor Lee Dowling has opted to set up his business, LMD Law, as an entity in order to cut his overheads. The bar's mutual indemnity insurance and lower authorisation fees made it cheaper to be licensed by the BSB than the Solicitors Regulation Authority ... Dowling said: 'It does make a difference being able to keep costs to a minimum and being able pass the cost savings on to cost-sensitive clients.'"
LMD Law is a trading name of LMD Limited, and like the famous 'AMS' of Alan Sugar - Lee Michael Dowling's firm has inherited the same acronymic treatment. Although often self-described as a virtual law firm with most of their work conducted online and over the phone - they do offer meeting rooms by appointment. As we've already mentioned, one goal of the firm is to keep costs and overheads as low as possible.
Lee Michael Dowling LL.B. (Hons) (Dunelm), LL.M. PGDip. himself gained experience at a number of law firms. He has been a Partner and a Consultant Solicitor to various firms in London. He has a track record of success in civil and commercial disputes, as well as litigation matters before the Court of Appeal, the High Court, County Courts and Tribunals across several areas of law. Lee is therefore very experienced in Court representation and advocacy, allowing him to offer knowledgeable advice and assistance to both businesses and individuals.
The firm's main areas of focus are Business Assistance, Landlord & Tenant, Disputes & Litigation, Wills & Probate, and Employment Law. Unlike some firms, they go on to describe the various case titles rather than just those categories. Commercial Contracts, Shareholder Agreements, Partnership Deeds, Debt Recovery, Employment & Contractors, Data Protection, Intellectual Property, Website Legal Assistance, Developer Contracts and so on are all listed as legal matters they are willing and experienced in.
Did you spot the "Website Legal Assistance" case title in there? Coupled with the firm's own dedication to all things tech for their own services - their willingness to advise and help with other firm's online setups, sets this firm apart from many others that we have on the network. From the LMDLaw site:
"We also provide constant access to your important file documents using our convenient client portal to send secure messages and view correspondence, invoices and other important records 24/7."
With everyone and their dog using 'cloud' services for simplicity and access, it is surprising that more law firms don't offer this service.
So, are we going to just flatter this firm continually? Do they have any down sides? Well, on the subject of flattery, we did find the testimonial section a bit ... well ... here, read it yourself:
"Lee is a very intelligent and excellent solicitor. - PV, Leaseholder"
Now, this may very well be a 100% genuine piece of feedback. But no matter how genuine it is, most people would absolutely avoid putting such a declaration on their website in the testimonials section. Is that it though? Just a bit of ego? Well no. For some reason, despite the firm being progressive in so many areas - they have opted to use an 0800 freephone number on their website. Everyone should be aware by now that 0800 numbers cost quite a bit from mobile phones, and these days most people will call from a mobile even if they are at home. In fact, these days it is more common for both landlines and mobile phones to be able to make landline calls 'free' (inclusive of the monthly charge) - making the freephone number redundant.
Aside from that though, Lee does seem to be quite enthusiastic about his work and the setup he has created. Even the blog posts he writes are a million miles away from the flashy, viral-hoping headlines we see from others. Titles of his articles include: "Deregulation Act 2015 One Year On: Tenancy Deposits", "Short Guide to Residential Possession: Section 8 of the Housing Act 1988", and "Short Guide to Residential Possession: Section 21 of the Housing Act 1988".
He is clearly into his work.
From a navigation standpoint, we like to think that we are just as daft, tired, and impatient as the majority of the public. So even though we know the name of the firm - late at night when checking on some things we've mixed up the M and D to produce LDM Law, and even thrown a B in there by mistake for LMB Law. All of which are overseas firms. The official site is www.lmdlaw.co.uk, with the www.lmdlaw.com version taking you to a site about a different firm completely. We suggest bookmarking it once you're on there to save any accidental typings with your keyboard fingers or touchscreen thumbs.
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 LMD Law it's best to visit the website (www.lmdlaw.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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Barclays takes £300m hit on mis-sold PPI claims - www.independent.co.uk
Plans to cut employment rights "complete nonsense" - www.telegraph.co.uk