Solicitors are normally the first legal professional you will see if you either intend to go through court proceedings for a legal dispute or if you have been charged with a criminal offence and you request the services of a solicitor.
You can get legal advice from other sources as well, for example, an accountant can advise you on tax law, and Citizens Advice Bureau or Law Centres have staff that can give you all sorts of information about your legal rights. Trade unions and other organisations, such as money advice or housing advice centres, can also help. You may have a suitable mediation service in your area that can help you resolve your dispute without the help of a solicitor. Or you may have an Ombudsman scheme, such as the ones mentioned in the upcoming section ‘Using Alternatives to the Courts.’ You may even be able to present your own case in court. Explore all the options before appointing a solicitor to act for you.
Solicitors can advise you on your rights and the possible outcomes of your case, as well as help you prepare a case. They can represent you and try to reach a settlement without the case reaching court.
If you’re at a police station, a duty solicitor is available to advise you. Take that advice. If you’re at a Magistrates court, similar arrangements for legal advice are available; ask the court staff for help.