SBW Law Ltd Info
SBW Law Ltd - Solicitors in Liverpool: Review
Today's article centres around the firm SBW Law. If you've read any of our other pieces about law firms and their websites, you'll hopefully know that we try to point out things about each firm that people might miss or may not even know about to begin with. Typically people tend to check out only the public reviews of service providers when researching them. But with legal professionals there are often other resources available.
If you've already been through dozens of law firm websites today looking for one that you feel matches what you're looking for - you may have noticed that a lot of the language (aka 'sales pitches') and even the images can look very similar. But there are some statements which may say more than you think. Even subtle differences such as a firm saying 'we have forty years experience' versus one that says 'we have forty years experience within the firm' - can actually show a large gap in suitability between two legal practices. For example, here is a single sentence from the SBW Law website.
There's a lot in there so we'll break it down. First:
Considering a huge number of law firms like to boast ancient founding dates such as 'established in 1881', a firm founded in this century may seem almost new by comparison. However the idea that a 200 year old firm has ten times the knowledge or experience than a 20 year old firm - is obviously nonsense. We keep repeating it as much as we can: you can get a 1-year novice solicitor handling your case at a 200-year-old firm the same as you can get a 40-year highly experience lawyer working at a 1-year-old law office.
What should matter more is the experience of the actual solicitors within the firm itself. That brings us back to the earlier comment about subtle word differences. If a firm says it has X amount of years experience 'within the firm', that usually means they've added up all the years of each staff member together. For example, 5x staff members with 2x years of experience = 10 years of experience 'within the firm'. SBW Law doesn't use such potentially misleading language on their website. But how can you find out the experience levels of the staff at a law firm you're looking into?
The best resource we know of is website of The Law Society of England & Wales. If you check out the page for any firm you'll be given a wealth of user-side data including alternative trading names of the firm, all office locations, languages spoken, case types handled, and the qualification dates of each solicitor. At this office the range of experience goes from Alasdair Brown who qualified in 1991 right up to Christopher Lackner who qualified in 2017. With the other solicitors in-between, that should provide a real mix of seasoned experience alongside fresh legs and ideas. Surely an enviable position for any firm to be in?
Practically every law firm makes this claim which unfortunately makes it unhelpful as a distinguishing feature. No firm is ever going to state they are 'cold' or 'unfriendly'. Either way though, such things really should be decided by the people on the receiving end of that friendliness - i.e. clients. Whilst many firms post testimonials of happy clients on their websites, the majority of people prefer the independent review boards where both positive and negative comments can be viewed.
"took all the stress out of sorting out my RTA and got everything sorted really quickly"
"clear concise communications from the outset"
"they have been amazing with me keeping me updated with how my claim was going arranged physio therapy for me too"
Those are some snippets from third party forums. The most popular being Google, Facebook, Trustpilot, and Yelp. They are overall very positive and several do comment on the friendliness and supportiveness of the staff. Always make sure to read the actual comments though when it comes to law firms instead of relying on average star ratings. We've seen a criminal law firm get a negative review for not handling divorces. We've also seen an immigration firm get 5-star reviews for it's wonderful food (we assume because they have a name associated with a local eatery). It's not a perfect system on any of the review forums, so make sure you do your best to filter the useful from non-useful comments left by people.
This last section of the sentence also brings up some points that should be mentioned. To be clear, 'no win, no fee' is not the same as '100% compensation guarantee'. Those are two different setups. The first means there are no fees up front and none if your case loses. The latter means there are no fees charged to the client at all, win or lose. This is important to note because you may be asked to sign a 'conditional fee arrangement' which means the solicitor takes a cut of your compensation.
We wouldn't recommend seeing such as a sticking point though. As a very, very, very rough example: a good lawyer that takes 25% of a hard fought £5000 win is still a better option than a shoddy lawyer who takes 0% of a quick £2000 settlement. Conditional fee arrangement are most common amongst more difficult cases such as medical negligence claims against the NHS or severe life-changing injuries.
There are three things in there but the one you may not have seen before or know much about is SBW Law being an alternative business structure. Briefly put, this was a new set of regulations meaning that non-lawyers could own a law firm. It doesn't mean non-lawyers can practice law. In our opinion it's a welcome addition to the legal industry. Having a business person running the firm whilst the solicitors focus on their solicitoring (spellcheck says that word doesn't exist, but it should) seems like an obviously positive idea to us.
A quick note on navigation as always. The official firm name of SBW Law Ltd is quite unique so even commonly expected variants such as 'sbw solicitors' or 'sbw legal' brought the correct firm up in the search results for us. The official website we link to on this page is www.sbwlaw.co.uk and currently www.sbwlaw.com is owned by a firm in the USA - so there should be no real confusion there. The majority of scams targeting law firm clients at the moment tend to focus on those involved in a property purchase. People have ended up handing over tens of thousands of pounds of their house deposit to fraudsters sometimes based on a single email telling them the bank details have changed. Whilst there shouldn't be such issues with the case range SBW Law handle, you should always be in the habit of knowing exactly which site you are on and never discuss payment arrangements via email.
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 SBW Law Ltd it's best to visit the website (www.sbwlaw.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.
This SBW Law Ltd article is rated
4.6 / 5 based on 30 reviews. †
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