The law is the law. Having a solicitor that you like and is efficient is better than having one who is a "hot shot". If a court fight is needed then you can always instruct a bulldog barrister. Having a bulldog solicitor who fights over every penny is not always a good thing, since your costs will be very high.
I rang several. I crossed off my list of possibles the one who wanted to fight hardest as being too confrontational and in search of mega fees. I crossed off a larger firm whose receptionist wouldn''t let me speak to anyone else but couldn''t tell me who in the practice I would get and claimed to know nothing about their qualifications/experience or even length of time in practice. I got a free half hour with a nice lady who seemed efficient and knowledgeable and paid for a half hour with a nice lady who seemed competent but wishy washy. I decided to use none of them but to use their advice and to settle amicably and go with the wiki service.
I have got the bones of an agreement; I think I''ve probably offered stbx a slightly better deal than a court would give him but the cost of that is easily offset by the potential cost of a fight.
Good solicitors should be receptive to new enquiries as future clients are as important as existing clients.
Telephoning and asking to speak to a solicitor can help sort the wheat from the chaff as solicitors should ''vet'' new enquiries - a solicitor should advise if s/he believes that you are eligible for legal aid for instance - there is no point in making an appointment if they do not carry out legal aid.
Once you have a solicitor on the telephone, you can throw a few questions at them and see if they respond confidently or not - their experience (or lack of) should be evident.
And don''t be afraid to ask about charges. Legal fees are high and you need to have some indication of the *minimum* fees you are likely to have to pay - be under no illusion that the fees will not hurt, it is an expensive hammer to crack a difficult nut.