More than 40% of adults in Scotland have used a solicitor in the last five years, and of these, 93% consider their solicitor to be trustworthy, according to new figures released by the Law Society of Scotland.
Research carried out by ComRes on behalf of the Society found that, of 1,020 adults aged 18 or over, 41% had consulted a solicitor in the past five years, with 90% saying they were satisfied with the service they received and 56% saying they were very satisfied.
The survey also found that 92% agree (and 34% strongly agree) that solicitors are educated and trained to a high standard, and 81% that solicitors work hard to help people with difficult situations.
A 73% majority feel they understand the services that a solicitor can provide. When it comes to affordability, however, only 36% of those who have not used a solicitor in the last five years feel confident that they could afford one if they needed to, compared with 61% of those who have done. This suggests that some people misunderstand the reality of how much consulting with a solicitor might cost.
Alison Atack, President of the Law Society of Scotland commented: "Scottish solicitors are here to help people often at the most difficult or most exciting time of their lives. They will guide you through whatever life-changing decision you have taken.
"For many people, New Year is about making bold decisions. It might be time to use a solicitor, possibly for the first time. Many solicitors report a rise in January in the number of people seeking advice on getting a divorce. Making a will, arranging a power of attorney, buying a home or setting up a business could also be the step that people are ready to take."
She added: "To avoid nasty surprises, the public should ensure they are using a solicitor, rather than just someone calling themselves a ‘lawyer’ or 'legal adviser’. Solicitors are highly trained and regulated. This means that in the unlikely event of something going wrong, the client is protected. This is not the case if those people offering advice are not solicitors."
Scottish solicitors in practice can be found on the Society’s "Find a Solicitor" web page: www.findasolicitor.scot