What happens if the law firm that represents me goes into administration?

4 minute read

You may think that it is unlikely, but law firms can, and do, go into administration.

According to the Solicitors Regulation Authority website, in 2023 alone, 549 law firms closed in England and Wales.

There are many reasons why law firms may close their doors. In some cases, a firm may close voluntarily. Generally, that means that they will let their clients know in advance that this is going to happen, and make arrangements including the transfer of any money they held on account for their clients, and any paperwork they had about them. That is the easy case scenario, but there are other situations that might occur: –

  • A law firm might get closed down by their governing body, the Solicitors Regulation Authority, or;
  • A law firm might go into administration, either voluntarily, or it might be wound-up by someone else, usually because they are owed money which has not been repaid.

Things are less straightforward in these situations and can leave clients understandably concerned about what will happen to their case. Some of the reasons why a firm could close suddenly might be because of financial reasons, or because the practising solicitor may have been taken ill or died. The latter is more common with sole practitioners.

What should I do if I find out that the law firm representing me has gone into administration?

You can either contact the administrators or wait for them to contact you. We would not recommend waiting, because your case may have urgent deadlines that need to be adhered to.

If the law firm that is in administration has been bought by another firm, you will be asked whether you want to instruct that new firm, or whether you want to instruct a different firm. The new firm might not be local to you. It might not have the same friendly approach as your old firm. The new firm might not have the same level of specialism for dealing with complex cases.

At this stage, it is very important that you spend some time “window shopping” to choose a law firm that you feel has the right expertise to meet your needs. You do not have to go with the firm that bought the law firm in administration, nor do you have to accept any recommendations made by the administrators of your old firm. The choice of whom you want to trust with your case is always yours. You should consider why you instructed the original law firm in the first place; was it because they were specialised, or perhaps it was a personal recommendation. You should look at where the new firm is located, if it is important to you to have local representation and face-to-face contact with your solicitor.

Sometimes, when a law firm goes into administration, senior lawyers leave and join other specialist firms. You should be able to find them by searching online, or by contacting The Law Society.

Ultimately, you have complete freedom of choice as to which law firm you instruct to deal with your case.

What happens to my case when the law firm representing me has gone into administration?

If the law firm that represents you has gone into administration, you can choose which law firm you would like to move your case to.

If your case was being funded through a “No Win No Fee” agreement, otherwise known as a “Conditional Fee Agreement”, the administrators of your old firm should allow you to move your case to a firm of your choice, subject to your preferred firm  agreeing to pay the administrators for the work that your old firm had undertaken on the case before it went into administration. The administrators will use that money to repay some or all of the debts of your old firm. That will include the hours your previous firm spent working on the case, but it also includes any expenses they incurred on your behalf, including any expert reports they paid for or barrister costs. Any reputable firm will be happy to make arrangements and discuss these things directly with the administrators representing your old firm.

If your case was indemnified using a Before or After the Event Legal Expenses Insurance policy, your preferred firm will be able to make the necessary arrangements on your behalf to transfer the insurance to your new firm.

At Enable Law we have supported hundreds of clients that have transferred their case over to us because either they were not happy with the work of their previous solicitors, or there was a breakdown in the relationship. We have also helped a significant number of clients move their cases to us after their previous solicitors went into administration.

Why Enable Law?

Our team is comprised of very experienced lawyers so we are perfectly equipped to pick up from where your previous solicitors left off and provide you with the security that moving to us will not cause additional needless delays or negatively impact your case.

We have offices throughout the South West and South of England and have colleagues based in multiple locations, including the Isle of Wight, meaning that we will always be able to meet with you face-to-face at a location convenient to you, if you want to discuss things with us in person. Our clients are located throughout England and Wales.

If you want to discuss transferring your case to Enable Law, please give us a call on 0800 044 8488 or fill in our contact form here Contact Us – Enable Law

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