RG Solicitors Info
RG Solicitors in Sidcup, York & Horsham (Renier Gillies): Review
Here at 1to1Legal, the team have been putting clients and law firms together since 1999. That means we've seen all sorts of weird and wonderful things that those law firms have attempted over the years. Everything from 'compensation calculators' to radio ads where a footballer gets accidently kicked in his ... well, frankly in a place on his body that that probably would cause less cringing than listening to the actual script of the ad!
Some of the tactics employed by solicitors have gone from creepy, to shallow, to outrageous, and beyond. Often giving us a feeling that can only be described as - if your Dad showed up to your school and performed a rap to show all your friends that he's cool. Do you know the feeling I'm getting at?
So, why have I chosen to bring all that up when writing a piece on RG Solicitors? Have they got a Facebook page with selfie shots of their staff in Charlie's Angels poses? Are they forever typing "#yolo lol peeps!" on their Twitter feed? Does their latest press release have photos of them spoon feeding porridge to homeless people with their logo printed on the spoons?
No. No they don't. And that's an important thing to remember.
The firm uses many phrases that have become common for businesses to throw about such as "it's in our DNA", "hassle free", "modern firm", "vibrant", "fresh", and so on. They even had a few that were new to us, such as "client-facing offices". I had to look that one up and found the definition in an online dictionary for business-speak. On the face of it, therefore, there is a risk that people will jump to the conclusion of a firm trying to trendy-themselves-up. To be honest, when I first started flicking through the site, my personal assumption was that their content writer had watched a few YouTube videos on sales techniques and got carried away.
However, having been through the site and chewed the information more thoroughly before swallowing - I'm impressed with the restraint. Yes, there is a peppering of marketing jargon - but each phrase is given context somewhere. For example, "it's in our DNA", is expanded on with the history of the firm and backgrounds on the staff noted around the site. Yes, they serve up a range of social media accounts, but they are promoted discreetly in the bottom right hand corner of each page. Not displayed like an oversized, annoying, musical sparkler candle on a birthday cake (like some firms do).
So whilst my initial response was critical, once I realised that the extent of the 'modernisation' was limited - I was not just relieved, but impressed.
I don't think the general public realise how hard it is for solicitors to adapt into the new media age. People still want their law firm to be professional, but they don't want them to be stuffy. It sounds like an easy request, but it really isn't. The law in the UK is old. They still wear robes and grey wigs in court. Many things still have to be done by post or fax. Many laws that the firms have to work with are ancient and often completely out of touch with the modern world. Whilst people may not want to walk into an office with a fireplace, dusty books, inkwells, and a pipe-smoking geriatric - they also don't want vaping, tie-less, twenty-year-olds that are updating their Facebook account on their phone when they walk in for an appointment.
So, kudos to RG Solicitors. They've made the effort to update their image and modernise the language of their site - but they have at no point gone over the undrawn line of solicitor 'image expectations'. It's a marketing battle that some firms lose badly, and some don't even bother to attempt.
That's why they are now on our panel, and why we recommend them to people searching for legal help. We are currently only working with RG Solicitors office in Kent. However, they do have offices spread along the length of England, in Sidcup, York, and Horsham. They offer face to face, online, email or phone contact and promise to provide you with a direct number to the person handling your case. Whilst the firm spent their first decade working in property, they have been moving towards a full family law firm for a while now and can handle: divorce and separation, employment law, estate administration, probate, inheritance tax, lasting power of attorney (LPA), making a will, new build property purchase, remortgages, trusts and more.
They also help businesses, mainly with property, but they list the following case titles as those they are experienced in and ready to work on: auction properties, buy to let landlord portfolios, commercial property finance, commercial freehold conveyancing, commercial property leases, company and commercial law, employment law, evicting a tenant, land and property development, and so on.
Statements of note would be: "we’ll put time aside to speak to you for free on your initial consultation". That's an important feature. Whilst some firms mention 'free' discussions, this can often be with a non-qualified individual who can only asses whether the firm deals with your type of case and can't actually provide any advice or information about the particular process or chances of a successful outcome.
Another would be: "It’s our promise to look after you and to keep you informed really quickly - or your money back!" There are a lot of promises and guarantees made on the website that would be worth checking out. Not just general statements, but actual figures such as indemnifying "£500 in mortgage arrangement fees".
Beyond the actual services provided, the firm involves itself in community work. Again, the more cynical of you will see any business involving itself in the community as some sort of cheap PR - i.e. the boss orders the staff to volunteer for a local charity, then issues a press release with plenty of photos. Yes, it happens. But considering the overall direction of RG's marketing that I've discussed above - I think it would be wrong to be cynical on this occasion.
For example, RG provide free wills and advice to people in hospices like Ellenor Lions, Greenwich & Bexley, and Chestnut Tree. They also took part in Will Aid, where people make a will for free in exchange for a donation to the Will Aid Charity. The donations are shared by several charities including ActionAid, Age UK, British Red Cross, Christian Aid, NSPCC, Save the Children, SCIAF in Scotland, Sightsavers and Trocaire in Northern Ireland. 1,233 solicitors took part, and RGSolicitors came 22nd in the list of most-money-made during the national event. They get involved with regular business-to-community charity work as well though, with a fundraising 'It's a Knockout' event this year.
One rather large difference between this firm and others, is the testimonials section. Usually, there are a dozen or so statements printed on a page. Often without dates. However, RG's comments section is huge, seemingly with several comments every month of the year. To have the confidence to ask so many people to leave feedback, can surely only indicate a firm that is confident that they are providing the kind of service that will return good feedback?
A quick final word on navigation. Please make sure you go to www.rgsolicitors.co.uk and not www.rgsolicitors.com as the latter does not seem to be owned by the firm. Also, whilst the firm's name is Renier Gillies Ltd, going to www.reniergillies.co.uk will just redirect to the regular site, and www.reniergillies.com also does not seem to be owned by the firm. As always, we recommend that you bookmark the site once you know you are on the correct one.
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 RG Solicitors it's best to visit the website (www.rgsolicitors.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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