Can you get legal advice during lockdown? Is it possible to work with a lawyer without meeting face-to-face? The short answer is, yes.
Legal advice is a regulated field. And part of providing our clients with an efficient, compliant service is following our duties to verify identity and prevent fraud, such as money laundering. Identity checks are part of the work we do, to protect our clients and wider society.
So, we want to reassure you that we are able to perform these identity checks and anti-fraud measures, even during lockdown and with social distancing measures.
Our lawyers are still here to help you through the legal hurdles you will face in life and business. And when it is safe to do so, we look forward to opening up our reception again so our local clients can enjoy the famous Kidwells welcome in comfort.
How E-Verification Saves You Time
E-verification means you can get help more quickly and more conveniently, as we can verify your identity and start working on your case even quicker.
When you first enquire about a matter, you’ll speak to a lawyer about the matter to help determine if and how we can help. We’ll also discuss costs at this stage and what the legal process would be, so you understand what that cost would go toward.
Then, when you decide to instruct us, we perform our identity checks. There are multiple levels and stages in this, and e-verification is a key part for our remote clients. “Remote” applies to any clients we do not see face-to-face.
All of these initial steps can now be by phone, video call, and/or email.
How E-Verification Works
E-verification is done with our trusted partner, SmartSearch. They use the Experian, Equifax, and Dow Jones databases to verify you are who you say you are. This convenient check is done in minutes and saves you the time of sending us multiple documents or verifying them elsewhere at the Post Office or other trusted source.
These identity checks can show on your credit report as a “soft check” as it uses Experian and Equifax records as part of the process. This leaves no impact on your credit score (even if you have several “soft checks” in short succession from different sources) and is only used to verify your identity and to prevent fraud.
As well as our e-verification check, we’ll require a couple images: one of your ID and one of you with your ID. You will get clear instructions and support from our team to send these to us.
Be Scam Aware
We are incredibly excited to be providing this convenient service for our clients, to help you get legal advice more quickly and efficiently while protecting your identity and preventing fraud.
We always encourage our clients to seek independent advice before they choose us. We want you to be confident in our ability to help you. So, it’s important to be scam aware. Any lawyer you choose to work with will need to be sure of your identity and is required by law to verify you are who you say you are and take measures to prevent money laundering. There is no exception to this, even during the coronavirus pandemic.
Protecting your data has and will always be paramount to us.
How to Work with Us During Coronavirus
At Kidwells Solicitors we have adapted to the challenging circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic. Lockdown is a temporary challenge we are all facing together, but it does not mean you have to or should delay seeking legal advice.
Our contact line is open at 01432 278 179, and you can call for urgent matters even outside of office hours. You can also email email@example.com or use our chat function on the website.
Once you have contacted us, the next step is for us to reply to you.
- One of our lawyers will look at the details you have provided us and will respond by phone call, text, or email. (Or, if you call and someone is available, you can chat immediately.)
- If you instruct us to help you, we will do a few checks to verify your identity and to combat fraud. Our e-verification process means you typically do not need to visit the office in person.
- Your instructed lawyer will work on the matter with you. Our wider team will be available for any questions you have, too. We want to get the best outcomes for even the toughest circumstances.
Here’s more information on what happens after you contact us.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do your identity checks affect my credit score?
No. Kidwells Solicitors uses an online ID verification platform as part of our legally required identity checks and anti-fraud measures. When you agree to instruct us, this ID search can show on your credit report as a “soft check” as it uses Experian and Equifax records as part of the process. This leaves no impact on your credit score (even if you have several “soft checks” in short succession from different sources) and is only used to verify your identity and to prevent fraud.
You can read more about our identity checks and anti-money laundering processes in our client care pack, and our team can answer any questions you have.
These checks are only done after you have instructed us to work on your matter.
What do you do with my data?
Protecting your data is paramount to us. When you contact us, you have to leave contact details so that we can reply. At this stage, we will only use and store these details to be able to contact you again about your enquiry. We don’t use these details to market to you.
When you become a client, we then must store your details and matter details for several years. This is by law. As part of our legal obligations to verify identity and prevent fraud, we also check your details against trusted partner databases to verify your ID.
I have an urgent matter, how can I get help the quickest?
Our team will work as quickly as possible to get back to you. The quickest way to get help is to contact our team by phone at 01432 278 179. This line is also open 24/7 for urgent matters outside of our office hours, for example if you have been taken into police custody and need advice.
The time it takes us to reply can depend on the number of other enquiries we have had come in, meetings, court hearings, and other obligations.
If you have already contacted us, the best way to follow up is by telephone so that we can line up your additional comments with your previous enquiry.