What are you actually paying for?
Pablo Picasso - "Dove of Peace"
As the story goes, Picasso was in a market in Paris when he was spotted
by an admirer who asked him if he would create a quick sketch for her on
a napkin. Picasso agreed, produced the sketch and asked the admirer for
one million francs in payment. The shocked lady asked how Picasso could
charge so much for a drawing that took just 5 minutes. Picasso politely
explained to the lady that it actually took him 40 years to create the 5
What about lawyers?
It takes about 6 years for a person to qualify as a solicitor. This includes 3 years of intensive studies at University, post graduate training and qualifying experience in legal practice. Once admitted to the roll of solicitors, the lawyer will usually focus on a particular area of expertise gradually building up experience in that field whilst fulfilling their professional obligations of continuing professional development.
This is just the beginning.
The ability to communicate effectively and concisely, whether verbally or in writing, have to be refined with practice. This includes communications with the client, witnesses, experts, the opposing party, the Court or Tribunal and any party or organisation involved in a matter. Like most skills, this take practice and lots of it.
If the solicitor specialises in disputes, whether civil, regulatory or criminal it is likely that they will be required to represent their clients in Court or in a Tribunal or Arbitration. The solicitor must therefore learn the art of advocacy and case preparation. There is no such thing as the perfect advocate. It is something that solicitors and barristers alike have to continually work at. For example, it can take many years for an advocate to become a "Kings Counsel" (formally "Queen's Counsel"). It is an accolade often achieved through incredible hard work rather than natural talent.
Lastly but no less important are professional and personal development. A solicitor should work on themselves before anyone else because this ensures the client receives the best level of service the solicitor has to offer.
Developing an in depth knowledge of the law, practice and procedure is critical. A long established law, legal doctrine or process can change very quickly. Sometimes landmark decisions are made through case law and that does not include the far reaching powers of Government Ministers to introduce changes through 'statutory instruments'. The solicitor must keep abreast of any changes and how they may affect the area of law in which they specialise.
In terms of personal development, attributes such as attention to detail, pragmatism, commercial awareness, interpersonal skills, teamwork, decision making, empathy, intuition and approachability take time, practice, experience and self reflection.
All of the above can be neatly placed under the banner of 'care'.
You are paying for the solicitor to take care of you and your business. This means acting in your best interests.