Debt recovery solicitors and teams dealing with debt recovery work, are likely to have a large number of junior staff.

It is simple work, also high volume and for relatively low fees, compared to other work solicitors may do. Given the nature of the work, most firms of solicitors use junior and cheaper fee earners to carry out the work.

That means that it is often paralegals and legal clerks, that carry out debt recovery work, albeit they need to be under the supervision of someone considered competent, usually a solicitor with adequate experience of debt recovery work.

Paralegals and legal clerks can be someone without any formal legal qualification. Paralegals can take formal training and become licensed. Some often become legal executives, or even solicitors, after carrying out further training.

There are certain terms that are protected and it is an offence to misuse. For example, the phrases “lawyer”, “paralegal”, “legal clerk”, “litigation clerk” etc are not protected. Anyone can call themselves those phrases.

However, only those qualified as a solicitor can refer to themself as a solicitor, and it is the same with barristers. Anyone who is not qualified and who holds themselves out as a solicitor or barrister, can face formal disciplinary proceedings.

It is similar with accountants. Anyone can describe themself as an “accountant” or “book keeper” but it would be an offence for someone to describe themself as a “chartered accountant” and that requires certain qualifications and membership to a professional body.

A prominent law firm is currently facing a professional negligence claim against it, with part of the allegations made against it that it did not have adequate staff to deal with the work it was instructed to undertake.

On the whole, we believe most businesses are capable of carrying out their own straight forward debt recovery and below we set out some pros and cons of using debt recovery solicitors.

Tips If Instructing A Firm Of Solicitors, Whether For Debt Recovery Or Any Other Matter

If instructing a debt recovery solicitor, you should make sure you know who will actually be carrying out the work for you and what their experience is. Also find out who will be supervising their work.

Very often, when firms of solicitors are carrying out work for clients for a fixed fee, they want cheap labour carrying that work out.

Often the person you speak to about the potential work you want them to carry out, will not be the person that actually carries out the work. That is not always made clear.

You should make sure that you understand who will be carrying out the work for you and what their experience and expertise is. You might also want to know whether they work full time and if not, who covers when they are not in the office.

Ideally, you want someone experienced and competent to carry out the work you will be carrying out. If you aren’t satisfied that will be the case, you should make enquiries with other firms, or potentially look for a recommendation from someone you trust.

This also applies for other types of work. Again, common fixed fee work such as conveyancing, wills, some matrimonial work can be passed to junior and unqualified staff to carry out.