Identifying objectives

I was somewhat vexed by Brian Ellingsworth's letter in 12 March issue of The Lawyer which inferred that, in private practice, solicitors merely tell their clients they cannot do something, instead of identifying their objectives and finding a way they can be achieved.

When approached by a client, there are always three questions I ask: what does my client want?; can I achieve it?; can he/she afford it?

However, having ascertained what it is your client wants, there are occasions when the advice must be that he or she cannot obtain it. Such advice should not be seen as negative but the correct legal advice to give in the circumstances.

While I am firmly of the view that it is a lawyer's job to get whatever his or her client wants, wherever this is possible, by shimmying through statute, case law or by taking a more commercial and pragmatic approach, and although I am willing to admit I may have completely misunderstood his letter, I can only say that Mr Ellingsworth's experience of solicitors in private practice appears to have been an unfortunate one.

Joanna Orlebar-Reid

Laytons solicitors.