9 Tips For Choosing The Right Law Firm In South Africa


Selecting the perfect Law Firm to represent you is vital in your legal process. Not only will you have to work closely with them while they sort through your issues, but these issues are typically personal or important. So what aspects could you consider before choosing a Law Firm in South Africa?

There are several aspects you could consider before choosing a Law Firm: What is your case about, their specialisation and experience in this type of case, their location, how big is the firm, trial experience, fee structure, communication techniques, the three Rs, and are you comfortable with them?

So many Law Firms are available for hire today; selecting the right one for you can be difficult. Whether you are looking for a firm to represent you in court, handle negotiations on your behalf, facilitate a business deal, or get a divorce. One thing is for sure, though, you need to be happy and comfortable with your chosen Law Firm, as opting to shift firms during your legal process is often a costly affair.


9 Tips To Consider Before Choosing A Law Firm In South Africa

The great thing about the 21st century is that we have the internet at our fingertips. No more do we need to choose a Law Firm only by word of mouth or the yellow pages. Now, all you need to do is take out your phone or tablet or head over to your computer and type in “Best Law Firm In Pretoria,” and voila, the screen will display numerous options in your chosen area.

Now all you have to do is choose one. It seems simple enough. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. Selecting the right one out of all those options can be a daunting experience, so to help you in this process, we have compiled a list of 9 handy tips to make your selection process a little easier.


1. Know Your Case

Knowing your case might seem like an irrelevant tip, but in many cases, this is the most vital consideration you will need to make, and you should do it before even starting your Law Firm search, as it will affect all your decisions in the future. Once you know what type of law your case falls under, you can search for a Law Firm with experience in that area.


2. The Law Firm’s Specialisation And Experience

Many Law Firms focus on certain parts of the law, such as family law, corporate law, conveyancing, etc. Depending on the firm’s size, it may focus on multiple facets of South African law. You must research your selection to ensure they specialise in your legal issue.

Another critical aspect to consider is if your chosen selection has experience in your specific case. For example, if you are dealing with an international commercial dispute, you wouldn’t hire a small-scale business Law Firm. Instead, choosing a firm experienced in international business laws and local and international commercial disputes would be best.

Lastly, if your case is somewhat intricate, hiring a firm with a proven track record spanning years would be beneficial rather than a firm that has only recently opened its doors or been around for a year or two.


3. The Law Firm’s Location

Another critical aspect to consider is where the Law Firm is located. It won’t benefit you to hire a Law Firm in Pretoria if you live in Cape Town. This issue would not be a problem if the Law Firm in Pretoria also had offices in Cape Town. Then you could schedule a meeting with one of the attorneys closest to you.

Apart from ensuring your chosen firm is in the same city, opt for the firm within acceptable driving distance. If you plan regular meetings or need to sign papers, working with the Law Firm closest to you is better, even if that means only cutting off a 10-20 minute drive.


4. How Big Is Your Chosen Law Firm

Many people think that going with the bigger Law Firm will mean that there are more people to handle your caseload. Often this is not true. In many cases, the larger the firm, the more clients it can take at a time, which means that your case might become a number to them, or it might mean that they handle multiple cases like yours in one go. Often this is the best choice for large business owners or corporate matters.

It will depend on the importance of your case and if you require individual attention. Sometimes, smaller firms are better suited to deal with individual cases or small-scale business owners.


5. Trial Experience

Most legal cases will not go to trial, but utilizing the services of a Law Firm experienced in going to trial can often help your case. It will ensure that the other side knows that your attorneys are not afraid of going to trial, which usually means they will not get bullied into settling for anything less than what you deserve.

Another thing that makes trial experience beneficial is that if you do land up in court, your attorneys will have first-hand knowledge of the proceedings and what you might expect to occur.


6. Fee Structure

Once you are sure that your chosen Law Firm has experience with your situation and that it ticks the other boxes, such as accessibility, size, and trial experience, you need to find out if you can afford them.

The best practice would be to ask how they structure their fees, if there is a different billing rate for work done by their paralegals, do you have to pay an upfront fee, and what kind of fees you can expect if you lose your case.


7. Communication

Before choosing a Law Firm, you should also be happy with how they communicate. If your preference is for verbal telephonic communications or in person, your chosen firm must be available for this method of communication. If they opt only to email or message you, they are probably not the right fit for you.

Another aspect to consider is their response time. If your case is often changing or is stressful and you require regular updates, it would be best to choose a firm with a quick response time rather than a firm that takes days to get back to you.


8. The 3 R’s: Reviews, Ratings, And Referrals

Once you have narrowed your search, check out the reviews. Google review is a good place to start. Here, you will know you are getting a good balance of good and bad honest reviews. Remember that most client reviews you see on a Law Firm’s website will get featured for their high rating and happy outcome.

Word of mouth or referrals is also a great way to help decide, as you can chat with the person giving you the referral and find out whether the firm will work for you.


9. Are You Comfortable With Them

The final thing that you should consider is your comfort. Feeling comfortable with your legal team is vitally important, as you will likely have to share personal information during your meetings. It would be hard to accomplish this if you felt uncomfortable and unhappy. If you feel uncomfortable with the attorneys at a particular Law Firm, that firm may not be the best choice for you.

If you want to enlist the expertise of a decisive but still compassionate and understanding Law Firm in Pretoria, Johannesburg, or Cape Town, our Burnett Attorneys & Notaries team would gladly assist you. We understand that every situation is unique, so we handle all our cases with the sensitivity they deserve. We are also available for online consultations if you prefer this to an in-office meeting. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you require any further information.